Commissioners uphold ban on ice skating near south shop

A person?s complaint about being turned in to the Marion County Sheriff?s Office for ice skating on the shallow pond at the county?s road and bridge ?south shop? south of Marion fell on unsympathetic ears Monday.

John Summerville, acting road and bridge director, told the Marion County Board of Commissioners that the person wanted to protest being evicted from skating by the sheriff saying, ?We?ve been doing this for years with our kids.?

That didn?t seem to impress Commissioner Bob Hein, who said, ?I don?t think we ought to allow that out there for our own protection?it would be a liability.?

Commissioner Randy Dallke said if the commissioners allowed one person skating, a crowd of hundreds of skaters was sure to follow.

The commissioners directed Summerville not to allow ice skating at the south shop.

The commissioners also directed Summerville to make sure the grass is mowed twice a year on the old Marion County Landfill southwest of Marion, beginning immediately, despite reported concerns about inadequate equipment and manpower.

?We need to keep KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment) happy,? Dallke said.

The commissioners voted to commit an initial $2,000 to a legal fund for Marion and five other counties, led by Dickinson County, to fight tax exemption for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline.

They also voted to pay the City of Marion $4,110 for a share of engineering and local share contract for surfacing Cedar Street from Kellison north.

They directed County Clerk Carol Maggard to destroy old payroll checks from before 2000 that recently were discovered while cleaning out a county vault.

The commissioners received a plan for constructing a waterway on the Ray Just farm from Doug Svitak of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service that was planned and signed off.

?This is a plan and a schematic for it,? Dallke said. ?If Mr. Just can?t go by it, we will have a problem.?

Just and the commissioners are disagreeing about the legality of an agricultural waterway dumping into a county road ditch.

Brock Baker, owner of Baker Furniture and Carpeting, which recently was moved from Peabody to Newton, asked if he could have property taxes reduced because the 11 buildings his business occupied in Peabody are nearly empty.

Appraiser Cindy Magill said the value of the buildings was set for the year on Jan. 1, and stays on them for the year. They also have the same commercial value whether they are occupied or not, she said.

However, if a future inspection finds they were overvalued, or if Baker wants to make improvements for tax rebate under the county?s neighborhood revitalization plan, tax costs could be reduced, Magill said.

Baker said he would like to sell the buildings, or rent them for something that would be useful to the town.

Steve Smith, director of Marion County Emergency Medical Services, said billings are staying current as people make payments on ambulance runs, but he also is thinking of increasing base rates that are below state guidelines.

He reported 79 ambulance runs in November: 17 from Peabody, eight from Florence, two backup, 15 from Marion, 33 from Hillsboro and four from Tampa.

The runs included 15 transfers, eight cardiac, 25 medical emergency, one standby, nine motor vehicle accidents, 10 falls, nine no transport and two other.

There were six first-response runs from Goessel.

Goodwin Industries of Burns was awarded a bid of $1,300 for metal work on a handicap-accessible dock at Marion County Lake provided it included the same installation as a competitive bid of $1,434 from Jost Welding at Hillsboro or a bid of $1,525 from Marion Manufac?turing at Marion.

Steve Hudson, lake manager, said the old shop building at Marion County Lake has been removed with the joint effort of road and bridge and the transfer station.

The City of Marion notified the county that trash collection would be raised from $4.50 to $6 a dumpster so the county put the collection up for bids that took into account greater collection frequency during the seven warmer months.

Stutzman Services underbid the City of Marion at a rate over $4 for $9,264 for the year 2010, but then was also underbid by the City of Florence at $3,892.50.

The commissioners decided to allow neighborhood revitalization tax abatement for remodeling at 609 S. Main, Hillsboro, for Jason and Amy Plett even though the program is supposed to be entered before improvements began. Amy Plett told Magill she was unaware of revitalization when the remodeling began.

Rollin Schmidt, noxious weed, household hazardous waste, transfer station and recycling director, and the commissioners discussed that a decision will need to be made on the permanent status of recycling because it has grown more than anticipated during a trial period in the county?s smaller towns.

Dallke said the new recycling factory proposed for rural Herington may need to be taken into account.

Commissioners also discussed Schmidt?s need for a secretary, which has been a part-time position primarily to handle the peek season for noxious weeds during the summer. Schmidt has been doing detail work in recording household hazardous waste himself.

It was pointed out that there is a need for more detailed record keeping at the transfer station to keep track of what each city and individuals are bringing in.

The commissioners closed the meeting to meet with extension agents and the Dickinson County commissioners in Abilene to discuss a joint extension district.

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