With snow covering the county, the Marion County Commission Monday canceled the county?s burn ban in effect due to formerly dry conditions.
Emergency Management Director Randy Frank said snow totals reported from last week?s storm were 12.5 inches in the northern end of the county with 9 inches at the southern end and gradations in between.
The commissioners delayed until further consideration a proposal by Frank to allow him to declare a burn ban if 51 percent of fire chiefs in the county recommend it.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said the commissioners can trust the expertise of farmers in handling burns at proper times for pasture and crop production.
He noted that many of the farm burns in any given year are concluded by June, so they are done during the wetter portion of the year.
Bruce Schultz of Blue Cross Blue Shield said he had good news for the county, that health insurance rates for the year will stay at the 2013 level because of employees? good health history. The county also will receive a refund.
He warned that this probably will not be true over the next few years as insurance companies rework and change plans for Obamacare including elimination of deductibles, requirements for acceptance of higher risk patients and changes in required coverage for women?s reproductive health.
The commissioners approved provisional zoning, changing land from agricultural to suburban residential for Saddle Creek Estates and the probable construction of up to 12 new homes at the east end of Marion County Lake.
Commission Chairman Roger Fleming in making the motion, stipulated the 60-foot wide roadway in the subdivision would be maintained by a residential association contract for road maintenance even though it would be built to county specifications.
Commissioner Dan Holub reminded Garry Dunnegan, developer of the subdivision, and his attorney, Tom Adrian, that the county is not in charge of enforcing homeowner association rules.
Dana Dunn, certified building analyst for P1 Group, Inc., of Lenexa, told commissioners his group could develop a plan for renovating the Marion County Courthouse while upgrading its climate control for perhaps $3,000 to $4,000 on a consultation contract.
He said the company could probably plan for the entire courthouse complex including the new jail and other areas in response to a statement from Dallke that he would like ?to see a proposal for the entire courthouse square.?
Dallke said the commissioners would like such a plan because they have been relegated to a mode of ?we fix it as it breaks down.?
Dunn said his company?s planning expertise would insure the county gets its money back through operational savings with courthouse improvements.
He said items like original courthouse windows can be restored for energy efficiency without destruction.
Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said Eagle Plumbing and Heating, a Marion County business, donated and installed a new heating system at the County Lake heated fishing dock.
Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene said a county health fair featuring doctors, vendors and wellness monitoring will be held March 29 at the Marion Aquatics Center.
Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said the county has hauled 30 tons of recyclables from Marion in February.
Fleming said he would like to see that figure grow until the county hauled more recyclables out than disposable wastes to a landfill.
Holub said that a big step in that process would be in ?capturing cardboard? that businesses and homeowners both add to trash now, a matter of public education and acceptance.
The commissioners approved purchase of a one-ton Ford truck from Hillsboro Ford for $27,338 over competitive bids of $27,373, also from Ford, and $27,136.60 from Midway Motors for a Chevrolet under considerations to rotate purchases among county motor vehicle companies.
The commissioners approved a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $24,458.50 for 4,000 gallons of diesel and 3,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro over a competitive bid of $24,598.50 from Cardie Oil of Tampa.
The commissioners met in executive sessions with Schmidt to approve him taking 61.5 hours in unused time off, and for five minutes for personnel