Commissioners OK fence for exercise yard

The Marion County Jail will get at least one new thing in the near future. County commissioners approved Monday an exercise yard for convicts on the back side of the jail building.

Sheriff Rob Craft presented bids for 6-foot-tall chainlink fence with three strands of barbed wire above it for $5,212.70, or an 8-foot fence for $6,064.77. Both bids came from Kevin Carter Construction of Hillsboro.

The commissioners decided on the 8-foot fence for added security.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he has always been uncomfortable with the practice of a single jailer supervising inmates in an open setting on the courthouse lawn. He said courthouse employees and the public have expressed apprehensions about having convicts walking around in the open.

Kraft said it is considered a standard jail requirement to give prisoners outdoor time for recreation and sunshine.

Other business

The commissioners authorized Steve Hudson, park and county lake director, to spend up to $1,496 worth of memorial donations to purchase half-priced trees and planting supplies at a Newton nursery.

Hudson said he may be purchasing as many as 40 trees with mulch and tie-downs.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said the annual county tax valuation of such things as real estate and minerals, including gas and oil, done for November 2008 to November 2009, is at $81,704,059, an increase of $5,125,126.

The commissioners decided to delay, until talking with consultants on the courthouse generator project, taking action concerning a bid of $1,399.29 from AT&T to move 20 feet of line in the way of construction.

Bobbi Strait, environmental health, planning and zoning director, suggested saving money by purchasing five tires for her office vehicle at $101 each, plus a free rim for the spare while the Cardie Oil Tire Store at Marion is having a sale?even though she was told by a Cardie employee that her current tires have another six months of wear left.

Rod?s Tire & Service of Hillsboro offered a bid of $395.56 for four tires.

The commissioners decided to look at the tires on her vehicle before deciding.

The commissioners decided to put off until their meeting Monday, April 13, any discussion of a zoning commission meeting in March considering conditional-use permits for feedlots.

The issue involves whether to retain county zoning language concerning environmental issues, or whether that responsibility lies only with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Strait said.

Strait discussed attempts at the state level to ban night-time burning of grasslands and crop fields. She said many fire chiefs, as well as landowners, disagree with the state, saying night is the best time to burn because of decreased wind and higher humidity.

Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said the change in hauling solid waste to the Butler County Landfill instead of to the Hamm Quarry at Perry has increased efficiency at the transfer station by easily allowing two, and potentially up to four loads out daily.

Plus, he said, the transport driver is at the station for other work when he isn?t hauling.

The price per ton of fuel, driver and tipping fees has been lowered only by a couple of dollars, to $34.42, but the efficiency compensates much more.

The commissioners endorsed the reappointment of Peggy Blackman to the Neosho Basin Board because of her experience in working on water issues.

Payday meeting

The commissioners met March 31 in a $578,394 payday meeting.

Maggard reported receiving ?awful good news??$53,470.93 in sales tax from the state collected in February from sales in March. It put Marion County more than $8,000 ahead of sales tax collections in 2009 compared to last year.

Dallke said valuation notices going out April 1 always trouble him because he feels citizens who try to keep their homes ?fixed up and nice? are penalized in doing so by taxes while their neighbors who don?t keep up similar property pay less.

Road and Bridge director John Summerville said the recent snowstorm cost his department about 300 hours of straight work and an extra 1,000 gallons of diesel at an approximate price tag for both of $7,000 to $8,000.

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