Commissioners approve recycling, wind-farm support

Marion County took big strides toward becoming ?more green? Monday at the Marion County Commission meeting with decisions to begin recycling and to ensure construction of wind turbine farms for generating electricity can proceed.

?I?m excited, and optimistic that we are doing something,? Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said when the commissioners told him to proceed on contracting with Sunoco paper mill at Hutchinson for cardboard and paper taken from the county waste stream.

Schmidt confirmed for the commissioners that Sunoco is still willing to provide a cardboard baler and pickup from Marion for only a token lease rate of $1 a year. He said the company also has advised a willingness to help dispose of other recyclables such as glass and metals.

Commissioner Dan Holub said the county could explore obtaining labor for separating recyclable materials, using such options as having the public do it before delivery to the transfer station to using county convict labor.

In other efforts to save the county on municipal waste disposal, Schmidt said he has a new contract proposal from Butler County for waste transported to its landfill, under study by County Attorney Susan Robson.

The commissioners told him also to proceed with looking for a ?comfortable truck with no frills? to be used as a county semi transporting wastes. The commissioners in other meetings have discussed saving more by providing fuel for such a truck from bids on road and bridge commitments.

Zoning and Environmental Health Director Bobbi Strait came to the commissioners with questions about what to do with current zoning regulations that provide obstructing stumbling blocks in providing orderly engineering decisions for contruction of a wind electrical generating farm planned by Rex Savage in the southern part of the county.

Strait said the regulations interfere with the construction schedule by setting requirements before engineering for the real solution is done.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he didn?t want to see anything that could be a ?stumbler? in the regulations for slowing development of a wind farm. He suggested Strait get with the Marion County Planning Commission to modify zoning regulations as needed to cooperate with Savage.

Strait said there are other wind farms getting closer to proposal in the Florence area and in the northwest part of the county.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein said the commissioners need to have a ?frame of mind? to have wind farms done well, but with realizing ?we need to go with the engineers.?

Strait discussed a situation at the Sylvester Vinduska farm on 230th with the commissioners where the descendants of Vinduska need help from the county in determining how to set legal boundaries for the individual homes there.

Holub said it is a typical Marion County farm situation where children came back to the family farm to build cabins and homes.

Strait said for the commissioners to do anything, the area of the farm in homes probably will have to be zoned suburban residential with lagoon and water system in common. Platting of it will be a high expense for the family, she said.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill said she received notice that state personnel will arrive in Marion County March 5 for training on new state mandated CAMA software. County employees also will go to Topeka for training, she said.

Magill said she has received word that training for employees in Butler and Harvey counties will take place at about the same time.

The first appraisal values for the CAMA system will come out in 2010, she said.

The commissioners approved paying a bridge inspection bill for $1,599.10 to the engineering firm of Cooke, Flatt & Strobel even though Road and Bridge Director John Summerville said the amount was excessive.

Dallke said the the inspection was court ordered in a counter lawsuit on an eminent domain case for construction of a bridge on 140th Road a quarter-mile west of U.S. Highway 77.

Hein said the lawsuit against the county was filed by Aaron Allen who is now a candidate for county commission in the election next week against Dallke.

The commissioners told Summerville to proceed with looking at a 22-foot used dump trailer at Kingman for $3,200 that could be used for rough hauling of millings, mixes, rock or other materials to save wear and tear on trucks.

Gayla Ratzlaff, elderly director, reported that 95 persons attended the annual seniors association meeting Oct. 16 in Hillsboro.

Carl Eyman, loss-prevention specialist for Kansas Workers Risk Cooperative for Counties, said Marion County?s loss ratio for workman?s compensation of 53 percent is very good.

He said such active departments as road and bridge and law enforcement usually account for the most injuries. Strains, trips and falls, and automobile related account for the most injuries, he said.

Marion is among 63 counties in the KWRC pool.

Dallke said that he wanted to once again go on public record as saying the commission worked ?very diligently? to produce the plans for a new jail that will be up for sales tax bond approval on the Nov. 4 ballot.

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