Commissioners updated on courthouse landscaping project

The Marion County commission commended Peabody Girl Scout Nicole Sonders during Monday?s payday meeting for her leadership in planting flower beds around the courthouse.

Commissioners also approved?and invited Sonders to sign with them ?a proclamation offered by Sonders to have an annual beatification day in Marion County. The commissioners designated the last Friday in April for the endeavor.

At the start of the meeting, Sonders updated the commissioners on her courthouse landscaping project with a 12-minute video slideshow.

She was praised by commissioners for her hard work and for her use of county funds. Sonders originally approached commissioners with a request for $1,900 but was allotted $2,400. The out-of-pocket expenses for the project amounted to $900, thanks in part to community donations.

As commissioners worked through the $739,944.96 agenda for county wages and accounts payable, County Clerk Tina Spencer announced receipts from the state for $54,491.07 in regular sales taxes and $47,894.49 in special jail sales tax.

The collections were made in July, paid to the state in August and dispersed to the county in Sep?tember.

The regular sales tax collected for 2013 now exceeds the amount collected for the first nine months of 2012 by $100,166.64.

Most county officials said this year will set a record for the most sales tax collected, not counting the sales tax designated for the jail.

The commissioners introduced Randy Frank of Clermont, Iowa, as the new emergency management director. He was selected because of his ?very broad experience? to succeed former director Dan D?Albini.

Frank is expected to assume the position by Nov. 1, possibly sometime in October.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke asked Spencer ?to put down on paper, and present to us? a proposal to raise the credit limit on county employee credit cards from $500 to $1,000.

Spencer said traveling expenses have increased by so much that employees representing the county at seminars and meetings frequently find the county card won?t cover expenses.

Employees are allowed to charge their meals on the cards when away on county business, she said, but are required to cover tips from their personal funds.

Spencer said there has been a problem with employees inadvertently charging personal items on the county credit card when they meant to use their own cards. There probably also has been abuse of card use, Spencer said, when employees have made the mistaken charge a second time or more.

The two other commissioners agreed with Dallke when he suggested accepting a one-time misuse of the card as a mistake, a two-time misuse as requiring a department head review, and a third-time misuse as ?a strikeout.?

After a review by Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers & Networking in Marion, the commissioners agreed to purchase equipment through Great Plains for computer presentations in the commission room.

The equipment will include a large-screen television for $2,235, and four computer tablets for $6,926.

Noxious Weed and Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said his department is in the final stages of spraying to kill remaining patches of sericea lespedeza and Johnson grass along roadsides, especially in the northern part of the county.

The goal is to spray the noxious weeds before freezing weather arrives.

Schmidt said there may be only a week and a half left of the season to spray bindweed.

Because of reconstruction of a road junction, the commissioners approved resolutions presented by Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford to remove two yield signs?one in the northeast corner and one in the southeast corner of 240th and Zebulon.

They also agreed to remove a stop sign at 250th and Zebulon.

Crawford said he wanted the public to know that chip seal of the roadway by Quail Creek Road and 30th has had to be delayed until next spring because his department was delayed by moisture conditions this fall, and frost may be less than 30 days away.

He said the emulsion oil for the road is 40 percent water, and requires 30 days of warm weather to dry sufficiently.