FULL REPORT: Nov. 9 Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting

The Marion County Commission Monday shuffled employees to meet such situations as H1N1 flu requirements and seasonal tax staff demands on a limited budget.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to pull money from government grants for H1N1 to increase Health Department Admini?strator Diedre Serene from her 20 hours a week contract to full-time 37.5 hours a week on the same hourly rate for a $19,876 annual wage increase plus $2 a month more for life insurance.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said they were not allowed by state law to increase Serene from county money. He and the other commissioners expect to take another look at the situation Jan. 1.

After a 15-minute executive session with Serene, Holub announced that under the part-time situation, she was running out of hours for the year.

He explained that this was due, for both her and her staff, to increased requirements for communication and coordination with the state because of H1N1. He said Serene also had to spend hours in securing supplies of H1N1 for Marion County.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was ?reluctantly voting aye? for expanding Serene?s hours due to ?continuing government requirements.?

In a second crush-time employee situation, after an executive session with Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator for the Department of Elderly, and Treasurer Jeannine Bateman, followed by another executive session that Lanell Hett, staff member in Ratzlaff?s office, Ratzlaff and Bateman were directed to work out sharing Hett?s hours in both departments.

The commissioners also increased hours for Bateman?s four employees in the treasurer?s office from 37.5 each weekly to 40.

Holub said this was due to a situation over the past two weeks when Bateman had lost one full-time employee during the season of increased staff demands because property taxes and end-of-year accounting.

Dallke said the increased hours were workable under the current budget because increasing by 2.5 hours weekly for four employees was about the same amount of money as what would have been paid for one full-time employee.

Holub said Hett will require some training for the treasurer?s office even though she is a long-time employee with the Department for Elderly.

Hein said he believes Ratzlaff and Bateman are capable of working out sharing an employee, and he is confident of Hett.

?Lanell does good work, and I think it will work out all right,? he said.

Dallke said such sharing may become a continuing practice in challenging economic times.

The commissioners said they may take a look at hiring more part-time temporary workers for road and bridge the first of the year to enable the department to get caught up on road maintenance.

As an immediate cost-saving measure, the commissioners voted 2-1, Dallke dissenting, to keep the ?Lalouette bridge? east of Florence off the county bridge five-year plan for replacement.

Holub said the bridge would continue in use as it is, and probably could last up to 25 years, being only fit for cars and pickups to pass over, but not heavier loads or machinery.

Hein reminded Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville to keep the bridge posted for weight limits.

Summerville said it is rare that more than 10 vehicles will pass over the bridge in a day.

Dallke said he wasn?t entirely opposed to the vote because of the low traffic count on the bridge, but he is disturbed that it might be the only open bridge between Florence and Cedar Point.

Summerville said he has been notified by Peggy Blackman, administrator of U.S. Depart?ment of Agriculture funds, that work on the ?Dennis Youk bridge? west of Durham, has been delayed because the first contractor on the project backed out. The effect will be negligible because a second contractor is moving in.

Hein said he has received word that Transcanada Keystone Pipeline left behind extensive road and land damage in building its branch that goes to Illinois.

Holub said Keystone is protesting to the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals that it is being treated differently than other companies in determining taxes and obligations.

Summerville said the size and weight of the equipment Keystone will be 200,000 pounds in the case of some excavators.

The commissioners voted to write off $3,111.87 for uncollectable ambulance run receivables in emergency medical services.

EMS reported 73 ambulance runs for October?seven from Peabody, three from Florence, two back-up, 21 from Marion, 34 from Hillsboro and six from Tampa. There were four first-response runs, two from Goessel, one from Durham and one from Lincolnville.

The commissioners approved a bid of $2,096.25 from Peabody Hardware & Lumber for ceiling tiles at the County Lake House over competing bids of $3,462 from Hillsboro Lumber and $2,775 from Seacat Do It Best from Marion.

They approved a bid of $5,535.19 from Hett Construction for building of the handicapped fishing pier at Marion County Lake over competitive bids of $5,920 from Jirak Construction and $25,716 from Wiebe Construction.

Park and Lake Director Steve Hudson showed pictures of a limestone block community fire ring with utility pole logs seating being completed by Jirak Construction. Hudson said he has enough funds left over from fees and rentals at the lake to do more projects next year.

The commissioners approved amendments to Planning & Zoning Commission rules including deletion of the environmental impact statement required for permit applicants because the requirement is taken care of by the state.

They also approved planning and zoning decisions to allow sharing of septic system and driveway by adjacent homes at 3482 and 3484 Falcon.

Acting Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richmond showed them pictures of an illegally located mobile home south of Peabody. The commissioners said the mobile home occupant would be given one year to complete permitting of the home, or find an alternative arrangement.

The commissioners received a letter of approval from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for installation of a hydrasleeves system on monitoring wells at the old Marion County landfill.

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