Commissioners OK $1.8 million for Tampa road project

The Marion County Commis?sion Monday approved an estimated $1.8 million plan to hard surface four miles of road from Tampa to Kansas Highway 15 with probable final surfacing early next summer.

In presenting the plan, Josh Beckman of the engineering firm Kirkham and Michael said an alternative plan of removing part of the surface of the road before building it up again would have raised the price to approximately $2.1 million.

The commissioners agreed that from driving the road, and hearing from constituents in the area, the current surface is of a quality to proceed.

The county is borrowing the money for the road through the state of Kansas in what has been acknowledged by commissioners as the most expensive road project in the county?s recent history.

Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford said the road will first be surfaced with 2 inches of AB3 rock followed by 6 inches of asphalt.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming asked Crawford to help commissioners develop ?a realistic and reasonable plan? to rebuild at least seven miles of hard surface road in the county.

Fleming said the public has been disappointed in the past when unrealistic plans were promised, but not completed.

He said the public would be more content with county road building if they could see a well- thought-out continuous plan followed.

The other commissioners voiced agreement with Fleming.

Fleming was praised for stepping in to keep work moving under heavy public discontent with actions in the past.

Fleming recommended against, and the commissioners agreed, to discard a practice of tearing roads up for rebuilding before resurfacing.

Instead, Fleming said, it would serve the county better to regularly patch existing hard surface roads.

Possible suggestions from Fleming for initial hard surfacing next year included 3.5 miles of road on 90th and 120th outside Goessel, and from Commissioner Dan Holub, the five miles going east from Tampa, starting where the current project ends.

The commissioners voted to approve final redrawn plans presented by Rex Savage of Florence for agreement on the Windborne Energy Inc. plan that might attract an electrical wind generation contracter to install wind turbines on land in Southern Marion County.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to uphold a zoning rule, requiring a resident at Marion County Lake to remove 2 feet of a new wooden deck built too close to property lines, but not without some inhibition against doing so from Commissioner Randy Dallke.

Dallke said he was inclined to grant the homeowner a variance because people on the lake lots platted as early as the 1930s have only 50-foot wide spaces.

But Dallke said he believes the homeowner built the deck under full knowledge that he was violating zoning rules.

?But we see worse violations throughout the county all the time,? Dallke said. ?This is a very small infraction.?

Holub disagreed, saying the commissioners must control and enforce building codes.

The three commissioners agreed that some changes in zoning codes may needed.

Tonya Richards, planning and zoning director, said, ?If you feel we need to change zoning regulations to make them less restrictive, I?m okay with it.?

The commissioners decided to designate $16,000 of the $26,500 granted the county from TransCanada Keystone pipeline project through the county for improvements at the Marion County fairgrounds in Hillsboro, including a new rodeo stand with steps to replace the potentially unstable structure.

The commissioners approved a request from employees at the courthouse that they be allowed to wear Halloween costumes to work Oct. 31.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said the commissioners have been invited to attend a 140th anniversary celebration for Hannaford Abstract in Marion Oct. 28 at the Elgin.

The commissioners met in 20 minutes of executive session for personnel with Dan D?Albini, emergency management director, with no public action taken.

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