County commissioners hire Cook as next appraiser

After meeting in a 25-minute executive session to conduct a phone interview Monday, the Marion County Board of Commissioners announced in public session that Raymond Cook, currently of Valley Falls, accepted the position of county appraiser.

He will succeed Cindy Magill, who resigned Aug. 16.

?It?s very important we have it (filled),? Commission Chair Randy Dallke said. ?We know the importance of it.?

Added Dan Holub, ?We?re locked down at this point. We need an appraiser after these tax hearings. It?s crucial.?

Before Cook?s appointment, the state had notified the county of its intent to step in to help fill the role. Cook will begin his new assignment next week, the same time as the state planned to intervene.

?There are rules we have to meet and we have to follow, and we understand that,? Dallke said. ?There?s not a big market out there. What is on the market is driving the price for our employees with those types of credentials.?

The new appraiser?s experience includes a role at the Kansas Property Valuation Department. Cook learned of the Marion County job through a letter inquiry Clerk Tina Spencer initiated and sent to all qualified individuals on the state?s list of appraisers.

Cook?s starting pay will be $55,000 for the first year with raises of $1,500 in each of the following two years. Salary will be negotiable in the fourth year of contract.

?We are glad to have a person accept the job and be here,? Dallke said.

Cottonwood WRAPS

Rickey Roberts, county extension agent, brought Robert Wilson and Josh Roe, both from the K-State research and extension team, to update the commission on the Cottonwood River Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy.

Two main impairments the trio addressed as high priority are bacteria in Mud Creek and sedimentation and eutrophication in Redmond Reservoir, where the Marion County watershed drains.

Also noted in existing impairments is bacteria in the Cottonwood River.

Three impairments were listed as emerging: Atrazine in Mud Creek, phosphorus in South Cottonwood River and sediment and phosphorus in Cottonwood River.

Wilson and Roe said the goal of Cottonwood WRAPS is to reduce sediment by 27 percent in 34 years at a rate of 238,080 tons per year, and to reduce phosphorus by 17 percent in 40 years at a rate of 229,126 pounds per year.

In the third year with money available to the program, 80 cropland and livestock projects were com?pleted, with Marion County receiving 93 percent of the total funds allocated. Total cost-share funds distributed was $230,818, with Marion County projects getting $214,686.

?Eighty projects points to a lot of need in your county,? Wilson said. ?But I think more important is the incredible willingness among landowners in this county to implement conservation practices. And that?s just incredible.

?The success of these projects is absolutely dependent on the landowners that are willing to do something,? he continued. ?We?ve worked in other counties where they have not been as open and interested. Your county is so impressive.?

Road closure

The commissioners were approached by local land?owners Gayland Martens and Dale Christiansen in regard to possibly closing a road between 300th and 310th on Chisholm Trail Road. The road in question currently is blocked because of a washed-out bridge.

The landowners would like to save the county money by not fixing an under-used road. They also would like to keep hunters away from that portion of land, who don?t always heed the barricades.

?Before you guys go and spend money to fix the bridge, the only two people it?s really going to affect is us,? Martens said.

Dallke told the gentlemen that the county would need to approach other area landowners before making a decision, as well as speak to Randy Crawford, road and bridge superintendent.

Crawford later told commissioners: ?I don?t see a problem if you want to do something like that.?

No further action will be taken until after the first of the year.

Other business

In other business, the commission:

? heard that all three state representatives have agreed to attend a public meeting Dec. 21 at the Marion city auditorium.

? gave Crawford permission to sell old culverts as scrap metal with the intent to donate the money to county food banks.

? met with Diedre Serene, board of county health, in executive session for personnel. In public session the commission said the department head can use the computer for job-related purposes.

? acting as the Marion County Board of Health, the commission gave Sondra Mayfield permission to seek donations from area banks for the Safe Kids program.

? received nearly an hour of technology training from Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers and Networking of Marion in regard to the new technology the commissioners will use to receive commission packets and other county communication.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to approve a new AVG SPAM service for the county at $1,500 per year at Davies?s recommendation.

? decided to fix the maintenance truck?s fuel pump for $800.

? voted 3-0 to increase mileage reimbursement from 55 cents per mile to 56 cents in accordance with the judicial rate for 2014.

? voted 3-0 to approve Resolution 2013-24, stating that the county is working toward an internal employee (Spencer) being able to write financial statements for the county to be compliant with audit write-ups.

? voted 3-0 to give a one-time payment in lieu of raises to all non-seasonal county employees. Full-time employees will receive $300 and part-time $75.

? voted 3-0 to renew Marion Country Club?s Class B club license for 2014.

? voted 3-0 to accept new depositing guidelines for county departments. Depart?ments with less than $250 can deposit once a month, $250 to $999.99 at the end of the week, and anything over $1,000 must be deposited by the next day.

? discussed getting a new vehicle for Emergency Management and keeping the current Emergency Management vehicle as the commission?s. Spencer was asked to see if there was an extra $15,000 in the 2013 budget to make the switch.

? discussed the need for new windows in the courthouse. The commission instructed Spencer to contact McPherson County for information on the new windows recently installed in the courthouse there.

? heard from Crawford that no salt will be used to treat roads, only sand.

The next commission meeting will be Monday, Dec. 16.

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