Commissioners updated on oil drilling activity


It wasn’t the anticipated horizontal oil-well drilling predicted by companies, but the Marion County Commission Monday did learn of new efforts with wells in the county.

Tonya Richards, director of planning, zoning and environmental health, said she was present last week for drilling on an existing well in the county on Scully Estates land to observe a new process.

She said the workers were expanding the diameter of the well in an attempt to increase its production.

Other zoning issues

While discussing with Richards a request to leave a 1983 modular home that is not in compliance with current zoning requirements in place for a family, Commis­sioner Randy Dallke said the discussion focused a different issue.

Dallke said the county needs to ease regulations that keep young people who can only afford modular homes from moving to the county.

In another issue, Richards said efforts have failed to contact a family that has apparently abandoned a deteriorating house in Canada. She said skunks and rodents have become problems around the house that appears to be deteriorating.

Richards said she has three small cities waiting now for the county to take action regarding problem properties. Some have discussed changing their status from incorporated cities to unincorporated to let the county assume responsibility, she said.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub recommended that Richards tell communities with such problems to go instead to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for help.

Other business

Mike Beneke of Lincolnville told commissioners that although he thinks road and bridge work in the county is improving, he had a problem when a single worker cutting trees, apparently unable to load them by himself afterward, left them. Beneke then contacted one with a harvest cutter that might have cost him thousands of dollars in machine repairs.

The commissioners said the road and bridge department would correct the situation.

Commissioners noted that in discussion with Rollin Schmidt, transfer station and noxious waste director, about monthly municipal solid-waste tonnage collected for July, the tonnage has decreased by about 200 tons a month in the past two years.

They said they hoped it was due to increased pickup of recyclable materials. But Dallke suggested the loss of population in Marion County also could be a factor.

The commissioners awarded a bid of $1,574.50 for 50 gallons of Pathway herbicide to Ag Service Inc. of Hillsboro over a competitive bid of $1,625 from Markley Service of Marion.

The commissioners tentatively awarded a $13,800 bid to D&L Enterprises in Marion for fencing at Marion County Lake over a competitive bid of $19,500 from Rusty Entz of Peabody—provided the company required workman’s compensation and liability insurance to work with the county.

The commissioners approved a suggestion by Commissioner Roger Fleming to spend an estimated $6,000 to repair a broken down road grinder in hopes it can be used short-term before replacing it with another machine estimated to cost $25,000 to $30,000.

Fleming said the repair probably would enable the county to get something for the machine when otherwise it would be discounted as junk.

Randy Crawford, road and bridge director, said his crew would be working Tuesday and Wednesday to put a half-inch of asphalt on 120th west of Goessel.

The commissioners approved raising the speed limit from 45 mph to 55 mph on the newly resurfaced 330th Road west from Tampa to the McPherson County line.

Teresa Huffman, the county’s economic development director, said state grants and loans are coming into place to open a new cooking practices school in the former public school building at Lost Springs. She predicts it will attract students from across the state, especially from closer communities like Herington and Junction City.

She and the commissioners discussed letting an interested party buy and renovate the abandoned motel at Florence for about $30,000 in back taxes in order to get a working motel on the premises.

Steve Smith, Emergency Medical Services director, reported 112 ambulance runs for July. The runs included 15 transfers, seven cardiac, 26 standby, three motor-vehicle accidents, 10 falls, 21 no transport and seven “disregard.”

Twenty-one runs originated from Peabody, six from Florence, two back-up, 34 from Marion, 38 from Hillsboro and 11 from Tampa. Two first-response runs originated from Goessel and one from Florence.


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