County investigating program to secure rent for landlords

Landlords in Marion County could have payment of tenants’ rent guaranteed if they became part of a U.S. Housing and Urban Development program being investigated by Bobbi Strait, director of planning and zoning and environmental health, and Teresa Huffman, economic development secretary.

Strait told the Marion County Commission Monday that the housing program, aimed at especially providing for elderly citizens, is much like what Huffman was able to obtain for other counties in former jobs.

To qualify, she said, it might require a landlord to do such things as upgrade structures, replace heating systems or add insulation.

Strait also presented some tentative proposals aimed at easing zoning restrictions for owners of rural land who might want to build a second home on property to enable a relative to come home.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said that if some form of the proposals is approved, it would be related to acreage sizes and land density rules for housing already modified in the last year.

He explained that it might enable the county to make an administrative act of a one-time modification of a deed to allow splitting off land for a second home.

The commissioners approved an annual $6,966.96 contract with KVK Inc. of Salina for maintenance and inspection of the courthouse heating boilers.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said KVK does much more than install furnace filters, and she has not been able to find any company that wants to deliver the same level of service.

When she noted that the boiler in the annex building that houses the jail is 30 years or more old, Holub asked that KVK be notified to do a more thorough inspection of it to recommend whether it should be replaced, “so we can make an informed decision.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke said that a furnace of that age would run at a lower efficiency than modern furnaces.

The commissioners moved to further enable Huffman in her new development job, approving a $175 fee to enroll her in Leadership Marion County, and approving her as the county’s new representative on the South Kansas Economic Development board.

Rollin Schmidt, household hazardous waste, noxious weeds and transfer station director, told commissioners that “E-waste,” the debris left from disposing of computers and other electronics waste, is becoming of increasing concern to the state.

E-waste is taking up an increasing percentage of space in landfills, and when accumulated in great quantities, it can emit radiation, he said.

The commissioners and Schmidt touched on the possibility of someday buying the transfer station its own truck for hauling trash to landfills, and having a county employee drive it. Schmidt said that having a county employee do that now would cost more than contracting the work with Robinson Trucking at Florence.

The weight hauled per load has gained steadily, Schmidt said, to 20.12 tons a load in October.

Schmidt discussed boundaries with commissioners for a fence at the transfer station that will be required by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The commissioners awarded a noxious weed bid for tordon herbicide to Markley Service for $2,672 compared to competitive bids of $2,831.36 from Ag Service and $3,168 each from the co-ops at Tampa and Hillsboro through a common supplier.

The commissioners approved the appointment of Meredith Butler, who was chosen by committee from within the existing judicial district structure, to be community corrections director.

Noreen Weems, director of the elderly department, said the Peabody Seniors assisted by volunteers have baked more than 400 pounds of pepper nuts to sell for the holiday season.

Weems said the county seniors board has updated transportation guidelines for the Kansas Department of Transportation grant system to target the elderly for transport instead of including members of the general public.

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