County locks in jail bonds at low interest rate

The Marion County Com­mission, at its Feb. 6 meeting, took the final step in authorizing the sales tax general obligation and refunding bonds that will be used to finance the new $3.5 million jail.

David Arteberry of the Kansas City, Mo., company George K. Baum and Co., was on hand to review the final documents and collect the signature of board chair Dan Holub.

“On (Feb. 2) we offered the bonds to investors and locked in the interest rates,” Arteberry said. “On (Feb. 3), there was a federal jobs announcement that was very positive—a lot bigger than what most people had predicted. Interest rates on (Feb. 3) actually jumped up, so you were able to get your issue into the market before a little jump in the rates.”

Payments on the bonds are due every six months, with principal collected in December over the life of the bonds.

Asked by Commissioner Roger Fleming if the bonds can be paid off early, Arteberry said the bonds couldn’t be redeemed any earlier than 2018, but if enough money is collected from the county’s sales tax increase before the pay-off date, the funds can be held in escrow and the sales tax could be allowed to expire.

Local banks were given priority to purchase the bonds, but none of the Marion County banks chose to do so. Arteberry said the bonds were purchased by banks around the state.

“I think bigger banks are more likely to accept a lower rate of return than your little banks are,” Arteberry said.

After reviewing the final documents, Commissioner Randy Dallke made the motion to pass Resolution 12-05 concerning the $3.5 million in general obligation sales tax bonds. The motion carried, 3-0.

Fleming then moved to pass Resolution 12-06 regarding the $110,000 in refunding bonds. The motion carried, 3-0.

“Thank-you for all your work in keeping us informed and somewhat understanding what’s going on, and keeping us in line,” Fleming said to Arteberry.

Arteberry responded: “It’s been fun working with you. You were careful in all your preparations on all this and I think you’ve really done a good job looking out for the best interests of the tax payers.”

Road and Bridge

Marion County resident Rick Hanschu was at the meeting on behalf of himself and fellow landowner Kent Brunner in regard to a closed road between 360th and 370th.

The road is no more than a grass path with ruts, but after it rains, Hanschu said kids from Herington drive on the section, hurting crops and other vegetation in the process.

Brunner would like to gate the section.

“We just want to treat it like a pasture,” Hanschu said. “We aren’t going to lock it unless we need to.”

Holub made the motion to allow the landowners to erect a gate to keep nuisance traffic out, with the understanding that the county will do research to determine whether a commission some 30 years ago closed the road or vacated the road.

If the road was simply closed, the county still owns it, and therefore determines what happens to the area. If the land was vacated, the landowners would have full rights to the property.

Holub’s motion carried, 3-0.

Also passed, 3-0, was the motion to accept the winning bid of $40,488 from J&J Drainage Products Co., Hutchinson, over a competitive bid of $44,112 from Welborn Sales Inc., Salina, for placing culverts at 40th, 60th, 120th and 330th roads.

Other business

In other business, the commission:

• heard Road and Bridge director Randy Crawford report that his department will switch cellular providers from Verizon to U.S. Cellular. U.S. Cellular was one-third of the cost of Verizon.

• commended Crawford for his work. “What you’re trying to get done, people are noticing,” Fleming said. “People have talked to me and said, ‘Hey, we really appreciate what’s being done out there.’”

• heard from County Clerk Carol Maggard that it would be worthwhile to find a cleaning service with bonded employees if there is one available to service the courthouse, annex, health department and possibly the new jail.

• reviewed a letter from the Kansas Attorney General’s office to Susan Robson, county attorney, regarding her inquiry of eminent domain in relation to Keystone Pipeline.

Robson’s request was denied for two reasons. The letter stated: it is “not within your capacity as the County Attorney for Marion County” and “The power of eminent domain is a tactual question and must be litigated by the condemnees in an individual civil action, usually a suit for injunction.”

• passed a motion, 3-0, for Garry Dunnegan to proceed with working on a drainage easement for a house he is building at Marion County Lake. The commission reserved the rights to determine whether the drainage work is acceptable.

• discussed the opportunity to have photos taken of the new jail to determine the exact thickness of the concrete. No action was taken.

• heard from Rollin Schmidt, director of household hazardous waste, that a general public solid waste committee member is needed to replace Harry Bennett.

• heard from economic development director Teresa Huffman that “there is a lot going on in Florence.” There are plans for a consignment shop, antique store, railroad museum and co-op grocery store. The Harvey House will be open five days per week, thanks to volunteers.

“The community is really working well together,” Huffman said.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13, at the Marion County Courthouse.

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