Communities In Schools awarded grant of nearly $160,000

Marion County Commission received good news at Monday?s meeting that a $159,708 grant for the county?s children was approved.

Linda Ogden, director of the county-wide Communities In School program, said the grant is a gift received by only 14 applicants in the state ?that will do so much good for so many of our children.?

She cited research supporting a positive correlation between investing such programs in children and later reduction of the jail population.

The grant is an early childhood block grant through the Kansas Children?s Cabinet and Trust fund for 2009 designed to serve at-risk children ages birth to age 5 and their parents.

The commissioners approved Ogden and County Health Administrator Diedre Serene writing the contract for health department supervision of personnel and program with Ogden as grant coordinator.

Ogden said the grant would provide a full-time home visitor, who would be a registered nurse, and a half-time childcare services coordinator.

At the meeting, the commissioners set precedent for landowners who want minimum maintenance of practically abandoned roads gated for public use to prevent ?4-wheel mudding? and trespassing.

In discussion with Road and Bridge Director John Summerville, the commissioners decided the county gate a portion of 130th. The county would weld gates at a cost of $200, saving $300 if they were purchased at retail.

Summerville said the gates would be hung high enough to open and close without interference from the road surface, but low enough to prevent entry by cars.

The commissioners said the new policy have the county provide labor for installation of gates, but landowners who want them must pay half the material costs.

The commissioners re-encumbered $10,000 for engineering and installation of a generator at the courthouse complex.

Commissioner Dan Holub said City of Marion Public Works Director Harvey Sanders promised to come up with a suggestion, and the county could also check with BG Consultants of Manhattan for recommendations.

The commissioners approved a $100,958 premium for property and liability insurance, an increase from last year?s $98,078 premium. Insurance agents Richard Nickel, Alex Case, Jr., and John Balthrop met with the commissioners.

Nickel said this year?s insurance gave a 5 percent or $569,900 increase for the county in real estate, such as the the courthouse, owned by the county.

Nickel said the increase was driven by higher costs for building materials, such as shingles in high demand because of last summer?s hail storms. The benefit to the county, he said, is that damages from future disasters would be better covered.

County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman came to the commissioners with a case that involved a property owner making payments that included taxes to a bank, while the bank then paid property tax owed to the county.

The tax payer told Bateman that when the mortgage on his property was paid off, he didn?t know the bank had quit paying the property tax. He said he didn?t receive tax notices, although Bateman said they were sent out, and not returned.

The commissioners concluded that persons who own property are responsible for knowing the laws governing tax payments on their property, and the county only owes best means of notification.

The commissioners voted to return regulations governing mobile homes to the Marion Planning and Zoning Commission. This decision followed a meeting with its members to change language to state that a mobile home is in violation only if it becomes uninhabitable.

Dallke asked the zoning members to consider allowing new mobile homes to be located on small acreage to give the county a more ?open arms? policy to families struggling to make ends meet with children.

David Mueller of planning and zoning said the commission could do that, but he noted that smaller towns in the county, such as Tampa, have a half-dozen livable homes in the $10,000 range that could be bought for the price on one new mobile home.

The commissioners approved of Appraiser Cindy Magill closing her office this spring to allow its workers to be trained in the new Orien program required by the State of Kansas.

Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said Butler County officials told him Marion County can participate in its e-waste program where junk television and computer-type equipment are shrink-wrapped up to 8 feet high on pallets for transportation and disposal.

Schmidt said the county would save money in reduction of the waste stream that it pays because of no cost to dispose of e-waste, but the county wouldn?t be paid for it either.

Schmidt said the Butler County landfill is close enough to Marion that two and a half hauls could be made there in a day, a much more rapid disposal rate than was possible hauling east of Topeka to Perry.

The county will remain under temporary contract with private hauler at least until February when it might have its own truck, he said.

The commissioners said they may rethink portions of boating a dock regulations at Marion County Lake that were decided with Park Superintendent Steve Hudson after some of the protests lodged in session with Kevin Timmermeyer, David Oursler and Gordon Pendegraf.

Holub said he hadn?t changed his idea that dock owners should have to provide access both to land and the water for the public at the lake, but he was prepared to examine protests lodged by Timmermeyer and Oursler.

Timmermeyer said he has had to contend with everything from fish hooks stuck in his deck to stink bait left behind for disposal.

The deck was built with his money, he said, and he has to keep liability insurance on it. He questioned whether the commissioners should demand any access for the public.

Holub said the idea stems from allowing the docks to be built with granting access to public land and public water so that the dock owner acquires the responsibility for public admission.

Dallke said the commissioners would want to take another look at the situation, but that definitely new dock owners should understand the requirement for public access.

The commissioners agreed with Timmermeyer that a dock owner can tell the public to leave his dock when he requires it for private use.

Oursler said boat fees are unfair that require more money for out-of-county or out-of-state registered boats.

He and Timmermeyer are Marion County taxpayers who own real estate in other states or who own boats registered elsewhere. They said that boats legally registered anywhere normally are allowed to use lakes throughout the country, and that Marion County would only reduce lake use with such fees.

The two men said they and their friends spend hundreds of dollars in Marion County every time they bring their out-of-state boats in for a weekend.

They said one friend has already said he will discontinue the county lake from his schedule if unfair out-of-county fees are enforced.

The commissioners authorized Hudson to install three speed bumps in the lake office area as a test case to slow down car traffic.

At the Wednesday, Dec. 31, payday meeting, County Clerk Carol Maggard said the $45,904.62 sales tax received in December brought the 2008 total sales tax to $576,227.68 compared to $544,490.80 in 2007, a $31,736.88 increase.

Cardie Oil of Tampa was awarded a road and bridge fuel bid of $10,905.70 for 7,550 gallons of diesel over a competitive bid of $11,253.05 from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro.

Kearn Sales was selected to provide a $7,500 waste oil burning furnace for the county shop in Marion from among a field of several competitive bidders with varying specifications.

Schmidt was authorized to look at a used semi tractor as a possible backup vehicle for waste hauling at the transfer station.

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