County Commissioners were told at their meeting Monday that an inspection at the old jail building revealed the insulation contains asbestos, which needs to be eradicated before the building is demolished.
Tonya Richards, director of planning/zoning and environmental health, reported that after taking samples of ceiling tile, wall surface and insulation at the old jail, results for the insulation were positive.
“Asbestos in commercial buildings must be removed by licensed contractors,” said Richards, who presented commissioners with a list of qualified contractors in the state.
Richards said she’s only aware of one local trained person—Stuart Isaac of Supreme Flooring Co. in Hillsboro. But, she added, he would need to acquire a license, which would cost him $1,000.
The commission voted 3-0 to seek bids to remove asbestos from the old jail building.
Marion City Administrator Doug Kjellin and Economic Development Director Roger Holter attended the meeting to discuss sharing costs to rebuild Fourth Street, which borders the new county jail and courthouse. Although work won’t begin until the old jail is demolished, Kjellin said he plans to consult an engineer about the project and needs to know what the county is willing to do.
Kjellin had first proposed the joint effort a year ago, and he wanted to know whether the county was still amenable to work together on the project, which would involve surfacing streets from Williams to Fourth and round the courthouse by the library. He estimated the project would total about $184,000, and the city will be requesting additional bonding for improvements.
Commissioners Randy Dallke and Dan Holub both said they were concerned about adequate parking for the public. Holub asked Kjellin to consider whether making Fourth a one-way street might allow for angle parking there.
The commissioners voted to contribute $32,000 for street repairs, to provide base material and to allow use of county equipment.
“This is a fairly large project,” Kjellin said, adding that he planned to accept bids in mid-September.
The timeline, he said, is dependent on the old jail being torn down.
In response, Dallke said, “The county hopes to have the jail down by December.”
Renee Lippencott of the Kansas Department of Commerce gave on update on the Rural Opportunity Zone Program, which offers financial incentives of Kansas income tax waivers up to five years and student loan repayments up to $15,000 to new full-time residents in participating counties such as Marion.
As of July 1, Lippencott said, 23 counties were added to the program, bringing the total to 73 in Kansas.
She reported funds now can be raised by local nonprofit foundations to accumulate money toward the match.
“Those on the waiting list are what will be funded first,” she said.
Also, future employers can contribute to a match, which would allow them to attract personnel with required qualifications.
Marion County, she said, has had one of the longest waiting list of people wanting to apply to apply. The most current count of applicants includes 24 approved, seven pending and 11 denied.
Marion County’s location to larger urban areas is an advantage over some counties, she said, so the program can be a catalyst to bring new residents here.
“You have to embrace your future,” Lippencott said.
After meeting with County Attorney Susan Robson and Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman, commissioners approved 2-1 a minimum bid of $5,000 for a tax sale on the motel in Florence, with Holub voting against. More than $25,000 is owed to the county. The sale is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in the courtroom.
In other business, the commissioners:
• signed reimbursement agreement for early intervention with Marion County Special Education Cooperative, presented by Diedre Serene, registered nurse and administrator for the Health Department.
• asked for bids to be submitted for the 6-foot jail fence by Aug. 12 so construction can be completed by the end of September.
• approved 3-0 installing a stop sign on the northeast corner at 120th and Meridian, and signed for a roadwork request from Randy Crawford of Road and Bridges.
Crawford also presented a copy of the purchase order for a John Deere tractor and Diamond mower, which totaled $82,917.08.
• approved 3-0 a fireworks display request for Labor Day weekend at Marion County Lake at an event sponsored by the United Steel Works.
The request was made by Diana Williams, who lives in Canada.
• received a 2014 budget proposal with no changes from County Treasurer Jeannine Batemen.
• announced a county commission work session scheduled 7 p.m. Tuesday.