County commissioners agreed at their weekly meeting Monday to renew participation for five years in the inter-local agreement for the city of Marion’s Main Street Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.
“Cooperation between entities is important these days,” said Commissioner Roger Fleming. “We’ve been part of this in the past and it seems we should continue.”
The commissioners’ decision followed a presentation by Roger Holter, director of economic development for the city of Marion, who reviewed the history and benefits of the program that gives a 95 percent real estate tax rebate for a period of 10 years. Five percent is retained by the county for administrating the program.
The current inter-local agreement, first signed in 2008 and due to expire in August, includes Marion, Marion County, USD 408 Board of Education and St. Luke Hospital Board.
Holter said he believes the plan can provide financial incentives to bring improvements to Marion’s downtown. In particular, he added, he envisions targeting filling in Main Street’s empty lots.
Commissioner Dan Holub asked Holter to request the city to discuss participation in the student loan rebate for the Rural Opportunity Zone program.
Andy Pitts of Treanor Architects, Kansas City, Mo., met with commissioners to discuss demolition of the old jail.
Pitts said the first step is the asbestos abatement. He requested measurements and photos so contractors could submit bids, which Tonya Richards, director of planning and zoning, agreed to provide.
“(The abatement) is simple process because (the building) is not going to be used again,” Pitts said, adding that the contractor will dispose of the waste properly at a facility that takes hazardous materials.
Once the schedule is known for the asbestos removal, Pitts said, the final timeline on the building can be set. Hopefully, he added, by the middle of August a package will go out to bid and by September, work can begin.
Other issues discussed included perimeters for demolition, compacting and grading the fill and making sure utilities are turned off and capped.
Pitts recommended the county handle reseeding the filled area.
The commissioners met with Cindy Magill, county appraiser, and Brian Frese, deputy appraiser, regarding filling the appraiser position after Magill’s resignation becomes effective Aug. 16.
Frese said he is qualified to cover administrative duties but not the appraiser’s analysis work, adding he would need two more years of schooling to meet the registered mass appraiser qualification.
Although Magill suggested several possibilities for covering the position, she said she would be meeting with the district appraiser and would discuss viable options. She said the county has to advertise the position, but she can get a list from the state of qualified personnel.
Rollin Schmidt, Noxious Weeds director, updated the commissioners on the crop damage report presented last week. The location is 175th between Kansas and Limestone where a farmer has said his beans may have been affected by the county’s spraying.
Schmidt said the beans were planted June 9, his crew did spray in the area June 19, and the farmer had his beans sprayed by Ag Service.
Based on investigation of the field area and questioning a county employee, Schmidt said he’s not comfortable with the county assuming responsibility because the employee said he had not sprayed there because beans were planted. Schmidt said he would vouch for the employee’s credibility.
The commissioners asked Schmidt to meet with the farmer and discuss expectations regarding damages, and then see where it goes from there.
Schmidt also showed drawings of proposed changes, including adding a ramp and push wall, to be done at the transfer station. A bid notice will be published.
Marion County Lake resident Roger Schwab attended the meeting to ask the commissioners some clarification questions related to the jail tower.
“We have problems with that,” Dallke said in response. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
In other business, the commission:
• met in executive session with Tina Spencer, county clerk, and approved allowing employees to donate their leave when an employee has exhausted his or her own sick time.
• approved $5,225 bid from Mayer Special Services LLC of Goddard to vacuum and repair the man hole in the courthouse parking lot.
• heard from Spencer that water is coming into the appraiser’s office. Spencer said she is not sure of the source but will look into it.
• reviewed lines of the 2014 budget. The review will be continued at Wednesday’s payday meeting.
• reviewed job description for emergency manager position. Spencer said she would get the ad into its final format and post the full-time opening with a salary range of $35,000 to $45,000, and requiring three to five years of experience.
• met with representatives from the Sexual Assault/ Domestic Violence Center in Hutchinson— Candace Anderson Dixon, executive director, and the victim advocate assigned for Marion and McPherson counties.
Dallke recommended designating $2,000 to the organization for the 2014 budget.
• approved fuel bids of $16,749.90 from Cardie Oil Inc. over $16,776.45 from Cooperative Grain & Supply.
The following bids were presented by Randy Crawford, Road and Bridge superintendent: Area 1, $3.153 per gallon for 1,400 gallons (3.165, CG&S); Area 2, $3.153 per gallon for 1,950 gallons (3.156, CG&S); Area 3, $3.173 per gallon for 1950 gallons (3.175, CG&S).
• asked Crawford to follow-up on the shoddy work done recently by a subcontracted company that dug to install fiber.
“It’s pretty bad in a lot of places,” Fleming said.
• approved paying $3,500 from sales tax allocation to Kansas Legal Services for work done in 2013.