Commissioner says lack of graveled roads could affect rural postal delivery

The next challenge coming for rural residents in Marion County on seldom-traveled roads may be where they have to go to receive mail.

That was the word at the county commission meeting Monday from Chairman Dan Holub.

Although Holub said he had been aware of the potential problem for some time, it was confirmed for him recently in a phone call from the postmaster at Ramona.

The official, Holub said, told him the post office doesn?t want to have to pay extra wages and mileage to employees on muddy days when roads without adequate gravel aren?t considered passable.

Holub said it boils down to asking the county to spend around $25,000 annually for more gravel to save the post office $1,000.

In other areas, he said, the same situation has resulted in mail boxes being moved to a central location for shorter, easier mail delivery by the post office. Whether that will happen at Ramona, or anywhere in Marion County, he couldn?t say, but he did say it will be a continuing problem.

Sales tax

In other business, County Clerk Carol Maggard said September sales tax, received in October and dispersed by the state to the county in November totaled $54,073, down from the $57,068 collected for the same month last year but still high for recent years.

The tax included $3,863 compensating tax from the state for things such as out-of-county and internet sales, and $50,210 from sales within the county.

Commissioner Bob Hein noted the total would include sales from September arts and crafts festivals.

Maggard said it puts the county $24,418 ahead of last year at this time for sales tax at $554,741, and likely to break last year?s record sales tax of $576,228.

The county record shows the sales tax increasing each year since 2003 when it stood at $454,810 for the year.

Bids and reporting

Bids for 100 cases of copy paper for the clerk?s office came in at $2,990 from Office Plus at Newton, $2,974 from Baker Brothers Printing at Hillsboro, and $2,970 from Navrat?s at Emporia.

Hein said he wanted the bid to stay in the county for only a $4 difference; the bid was awarded to Baker Brothers.

The commissioners signed authorization for collection efforts on delinquent accounts under the county microloan program.

Maggard reported notification from bond account consultant David Arteberry that bond rates will be at historic lows next year for any projects the county might want to finance.

Holub said the Kansas Legislature needs to be called to account for lowering its own budget problems by shifting higher taxes to make up the difference in programs to counties, cities and school districts.

Road and bridge

Cardie Oil of Tampa was awarded an area road and bridge fuel bid of $15,058 and a transport fuel bid of $19,286 over competitive bids of $15,156 and $19,414 from Cooperative Grain & Supply at Hillsboro.

Commissioner Randy Dallke told Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville that he is getting complaints from Marion County Lake residents about the dust from chipped rock in the last overlay project.

Summerville said the roads there have been swept twice, ?but we?ll broom it every month if necessary.?

On 190th and Indigo, Summerville said the dust has settled with the rock driven into the oil by higher traffic and speeds. But he predicted the same surfacing in the rest of the county may not lose its dustiness until next spring.

Extension district

County Extension Agricultural Agent Rickey Roberts asked the commissioners to decide on whether Marion County and Dickinson County should form an extension district that would share county agents for greater diversity available in specializations.

He said the district would be governed by an eight-member board with taxing authority that would probably take between 1 and 2 mills.

The commissioners asked him to set up a meeting for them with the Dickinson County Commission and the current extension boards of each county to help decide the matter.

Roberts said the extension boards have agreed that the proposed district would help each county. They also recognize, he said, a danger that a county could be isolated, surrounded by a district area that it had refused to join, as is the case for Smith County.

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