County discusses opening C&D landfill in Hett quarry

The Marion County Com?mission Monday dealt with plans for beginning a construction and demolition landfill within 18 months?but not without dealing with misunderstandings on other issues also.

The other issues concerned county attorney and police misgivings about Prairie View accepting mentally ill persons taken into custody.

And, there were local tractor dealerships questioning how a road and bridge equipment bid was determined.

C&D landfill

The landfill discussion itself seemed to bring back memories of former years with the idea of opening a facility at the Martin Marietta quarry on land owned by Rocky Hett.

Consulting Engineer Jack Chappelle of Engineering Solu?tions & Design Inc., Overland Park, told commissioners a C&D landfill will gain acceptance much more easily than the formerly proposed municipal solid waste landfill because there is less risk to it and less controversy than with the messier MSW.

The materials disposed of, everything from old lumber to roofing, are more stable, and usually unlikely to pollute water, he said.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is more likely to take ease passage of a permit for a C&D landfill, Chappelle said, because it can easily be seen it will save the people of the region money, it helps refill the unsightly ?eyesore? of a quarry, it?s less of an environmental issue, and objections are fewer.

Rollin Schmidt, transfer station manager who would likely oversee such a landfill, said one-fourth of the total waste disposed of by Marion County this year to date at the Hamm Landfill at Perry, in light of roof reconstructions due to hail storms, has been C&D waste.

The total tonnage disposed of, more than 8,731 tons, included 2,211 tons of C&D, 6,477 tons of MSW, 30.2 tons of white goods, one ton of special waste, and 11.6 tons of tires.

At a cost on the last billing cycle for hauling and landfill fees at $38.95 a ton, Schmidt said the savings of disposing of C&D locally could be significant.

Chappelle said Marion County should be asking neighboring counties such as Chase, Dickinson, McPherson and Harvey to use the proposed C&D landfill as much as possible.

In answering questions from the commissioners on whether the landfill might find it in the interest of Marion County to leave the regional solid waste plan, Chappelle said it is more likely the county should stay in the plan to keep reports for grants? applications and encourage other counties? participation.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he isn?t hopeful of getting other counties to participate because they are trying to establish their own waste disposals.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein said he thought the others need to be asked anyway.

If the county could use previous research for a landfill and Hett?s own research files, Chappelle said the KDHE application process could be complete in as little as a year.

Chappelle said KDHE will want an entity such as the county with financial stability and acceptable liability status to be in charge of the county.

He said those requirements also make it to the advantage of the county to oversee such a landfill because the county and the people of Marion County ultimately would be made to assume any liability for a landfill just as happened in closure of the former Marion County Landfill.

Chappelle advised a C&D landfill over what is called a clean fill landfill because of the level of oversight required.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he has been told the clean fill landfill becomes nearly unmanageable because of ?people dumping and running.?

Holub said Marion County could gain more business from other counties because those counties would be able to haul in C&D waste, and haul out gravel they needed anyway, ?no dead-heading.?

Prairie View issues

In a discussion with Prairie View personnel and commissioners, a Marion policeman, Michael Ottensmeier, said he was required to stay with a person who might harm himself for 14 hours because he was told by Prairie View, the responsible mental health provider for Marion County and Harvey County, would only answer his inquiries with a statement that it had no bed space.

County Attorney Susan Robson said this has been happening regularly with officers when they call Prairie View in Newton.

Robson said the understanding is that the agency has the responsibility of providing care, and of evaluating whether such persons should be transported to Larned State Hospital.

Jessie Kaye, corporate executive officer for Prairie View, acknowledged the agency does have mental health responsibility for the county. She suggested that Prairie View personnel are more accustomed to a scenario where one of them would come to an emergency room at a hospital in the county where a professional like Karen Wheeler of Marion Family Physicians would have screened the person.

Matthew Schmidt, director of community support for Prairie View, said the incidents probably are the result of misunderstanding because the hospital facility in Newton operated by Prairie View is separate from its community support.

Hospital personnel, he said, probably don?t always understand the status of the law enforcement calls.

He acknowledged that Prairie View is at fault in the confusion, and that the agency will inform all of its personnel on how to handle police calls.

Ottensmeier said he hopes the issue is resolved because it is a waste of taxpayers? money and a detriment to their level of service to have an officer tied up for so long.

Implement dealers

Dale Nuss and Mike Kleiber of Ag Power in Hillsboro, and Marlin Bartel of Straub Equip?ment in Marion questioned the judgment and pre-planning of the commissioners in giving a bid for a tractor and side-mount platform mower to Prairie Partners in Marion when their dealerships weren?t contacted for bids.

Nuss cited quotes by the commissioners in the Free Press dealing with conflicting choices to be made in road and bridge expenses as evidence of poor planning.

Road and Bridge Director John Summerville said the bidders for the type of ?boom? mower needed were selected from a state list of dealers able to provide such equipment.

?If it had been a tractor with just a three-point hitch rotary mower, we would have called you,? he said.

Kleiber said although it is true their dealerships don?t keep such mowers on their lots, they do ?partner with those who can provide them.?

Hein said, in that case, it was a mistake the commissioners are ?sorry? for.

County Clerk Carol Maggard agreed with the commissioners that such misunderstandings can be avoided in the future by posting coming bids on the county?s Web site.

Summerville said he had tried to return a call to Nuss on the bidding. In the future, he said, he would call or notify dealerships in the county.

Other issues

Maggard told the commissioners that they might expect a high rate of budget carry-overs and incumbrances by departments into 2009 because department heads have been able to limit expenses as requested by the commission to levels of 85 percent and a little higher.

The commissioners passed a resolution favoring a new State of Kansas Comprehensive Transportation Program.

In it they asked the state to consider the feasibility of making U.S. Highway 50 four lanes from Emporia to Hutchinson, and to make increases in the various programs for improvements and resurfacing of local roads and streets in cities and counties, especially highway routes through cities.

They also asked for more turn lanes to be be built from highways in rural areas.

The commission signed its support for a Kansas Finance Development Authority bond of $160,000 that can go to $250,000 for purchase of 150 acres and related farm equipment for Tyler Diepenbrock farming a mile south and three miles east of Lincolnville on 300th Road. The program is designed to help establish young farmers.

The commissioners authorized Register of Deeds Jo Ottensmeier to purchase two numerical index books for $1,130 from the Lockwood Company of Atchison.

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith said a water rescue class for emergency personnel conducted by Neal Whitaker of the Corps of Engineers at Marion Reservoir is tentatively scheduled for January.

Smith reported 82 ambulance calls for November, 11 from Peabody, six from Florence, two backup, 29 from Marion, 27 from Hillsboro and seven from Tampa.

There was one first-response call from Burns, three from Goessel, one from Durham and two from Lincolnville. Two rescue runs were reported.

The commissioners reviewed demonstration of a hydraulic power lift stretcher with Smith that can help counties with limited personnel.

Smith said the number of county volunteer EMTs dropped from 86 two years ago to 79 now, and from 106 in 1994 despite more attempts at education and recruitment. It is one more problem for a county with aging population producing fewer able-bodied people for more aging people, he said.

Park and Lake Superinten?dent Steve Hudson discussed using excess funds to encumber for speed bumps to slow traffic at Marion County Lake, and for construction of a restroom at the heated dock.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
King Memorial
Fifteen years after Congress authorized a memorial, the 30-foot-tall statue of Martin...
Read More