County finds funds for new computer

With County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman’s decision to provide $33,000 a year from increased automobile tagging and processing funds, Marion County commissioners voted 3-0 Thursday to lease-purchase an AS400 computer system over two years for $73,545 through Infinitec as presented by Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers.

Commissioner Bob Hein advised that County Clerk Carol Maggard should check through local banks first for alternative financing. Commissioner Randy Dallke reiterated that the county should have a line item for financing computer purchases.

He used the occasion also to say that although he appreciated Bateman’s stepping forward with funding, he is “disappointed” that she also has used the auto funds she controls “to pay some people” over 100 percent of the scale they should be at when the county is trying to get people in some other departments up to 75 percent.

The commissioners voted to allow Cindy Magill, appraiser, and Michelle Abbot-Becker, director of communications and emergency management, to apply for a grant for pictometry to allow higher resolution aerial photographs to be taken.

Abbott-Becker said that if higher resolution photos had been available before and after last year’s flooding, the county might have received more Federal Emergency Management Agency funds because more road differences could have been seen.

Lynn Unruh, who runs a bed and breakfast north of the Marion Reservoir, has been named the local representative of the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, which will direct state funding and grants into this region to promote the Flint Hills as the best tourism potential area.

Unruh told commissioners she needs an initial $5,000 contribution to cement Marion County as a part of FHTC. She said this give related local businesses access to funding through FHTC.

Unruh said communities such as Florence are particularly well situated by geography, with Doyle Creek and the Cottonwood River running into the Flint Hills, for participation.

Holub said he would like to see trails such as the Santa Fe and the Chisholm included in the effort. Blackman said FHTC builds on efforts from the last two years trying to build agri-tourism in the area.

The commissioners asked Unruh to visit with Tina Groening, chair of the Marion County Economic Development Council, for recommendations on what should be done.

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