Commissioners hear timetable for jail pre-construction plan

Specification drawings for the new county jail will be available for construction bids by Aug. 5, according to Andy Pitts, of Treanor Architects.

Pitts told the Marion County commissioners Monday that a pre-bidding question-and-information meeting for interested contractors will be Aug. 18 at the courthouse. This will be followed by a bidding meeting for final contractor settlement Sept. 8.

The commissioners discussed the possibility of adding another floor with perhaps 15 feet of additional height to the building to avoid greater expense in 10 to 20 years, should the jail need expansion.

Commissioner Randy Dallke suggested driveway access and parking be shifted from the north end of the grounds to the south end to give room for expansion and to reduce snow and ice removal expense.

The commissioners confirmed that the U.S. Post Office has agreed to remove the trees along the south side of the driveway from the post office onto Fourth Street.

Tampa road project

Although construction bids will be taken in August for possible work to begin in September, final work will be postponed until spring in order to resurface four miles of county blacktop from Kansas Highway 15 to Tampa.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he preferred the delay after Jon Halbgewachs of the engineering firm Kirkham-Michael told the commissioners that additional material could be added for surfacing in that time that would extend the life of the surface from 10 to perhaps as much as 20 years.

Holub said it also would be OK to narrow the road if that increased its load capacity.

?We want to keep it solid for heavy trucks,? he said.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said the commission needs to give plenty of advance notice to residents to make detour plans while surfacing is under way.

Halbgewachs said plans call for putting down a base of packed rock with a 6-inch asphalt overlay.

Lake algae problem

Phil Barnes, of Kansas State University, told commissioners that algae and weed growth in coves of Marion County Lake could be treated with copper sulfate to kill plants and reduce odor, and possibly also aquatic Roundup herbicide to kill plants.

The resultant blue-tinted water used in the highly affected swimming area would require a month-long ban on swimming, but would not interfere with boats and water skiers on the main lake body, he said.

Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said his office could work with cattle producer whose animals may contribute to the algae problem with manure runoff from an adjoining pasture.

Roberts said excessive use of lawn fertilizers by lake residents also could contribute to the algae.

Peggy Blackman, Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy coordinator, said she might be able to find funding for the lake?s problems if the Kansas Department of Health and Environment would approve it as a demonstration project for reducing water-born plant nutrients that cause algae problems.

Other business

The commissioners authorized county fire chiefs to spend $12,000 for two sets of hydraulic rescue jaws.

Fire Chief Ben Steketee of Hillsboro said the new jaws are needed most at Marion and Peabody.

He and Marion Fire Chief Mike Regnier determined with the commissioners that county funds budgeted annually could be held over into the following year to increase purchasing power for such units.

Dallke said he favored keeping a reserve of $6,000 from the $26,000 annually budgeted for emergency needs anyway.

Roberts asked the commissioners for a 3.94 percent increase in his budget to fund department wage increases after a three-year freeze.

The commissioners will be putting together next year?s budget over the next month, and departments have begun presenting needs.

Betty Richmond and Roger Funk represented the Soil Conservation Service in asking for a $28,790 contribution.

Holub said house-trailer occupants, many of whom are residents of counties other than Marion, average paying the equivalent of $1.37 a day for their trailer lot rentals to the county. He said the charges aren?t equitable with the expenses other county residents pay for the lake.

?We aren?t going to throw people out of there,? he said. ?But we do need to fix problems.?

Rollin Schmidt, transfer station and noxious weed director, said the county has spent $7,147.92 for disposal of demolition waste at landfill from the new county jail site with that phase of the project being nearly completed.

He said musk thistle infestations were far reduced this year perhaps in part due to further expansion of musk thistle weevils eating the weed flowers.

Schmidt, who also serves as recycling program director, will keep the recycling center open during normal business hours to collect cardboard for recycling.

According to Holub, the center only accepted cardboard on Thursdays and Saturdays, but will now be taking it during normal business hours Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings.

The commissioners authorized John Summerville, acting Road and Bridge director, to put a light coating of sand as needed between 220th and 230th in front of Strassburg Baptist Church to help lower dust levels.

After meeting twice in 15-minute executive sessions for personnel, the commissioners said they will be considering salary increases in the road and bridge department, including for Summerville, to compensate for added responsibilities following the resignation of Jim Herzet as director.

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