County now capable of catching sign vandals

Marion County has long sought how to catch and prosecute vandals who knock off stop signs with their cars. Now new technology in use by the sheriff?s office in cooperation with county road and bridge has resulted in an apprehension.

Road and Bridge Foreman Jess Smith said Monday at the Marion County Commission meeting that a young man will be made to pay $200 to replace a stop sign he purposely knocked off its base with his car.

Smith said that was the third time this week a stop sign has been knocked down, and he and the commissioners said the costs are such that the county must take action.

Smith asked that description of the new technology used not be described in the newspaper because the county does not want vandals aware of how to evade it.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he only wishes charges against stop sign vandals could be elevated to felony charges, considering the endangerment involved to people?s lives.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he has had contact with a member of the public in his district who suggested that, in another case of criminality, theft of road-name signs, residents be allowed to pay for road signs near their homes as public service at an approximate cost of $50 for materials. The resident said he would be willing to pay for a sign at each end of his road, Dallke said.

The commissioners awarded a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $25,389.90 for 5,500 gallons of diesel and 2,700 gallons of unleaded gasoline to Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro over a competitive bid of $25,575.80 from Cardie Oil of Tampa.

After meeting with both Health Department Director Diedre Serene and Ashley Gann, director of Families & Communities Together Administrator, the commissioners tried to find a solution for Serene, who needed to delete about $6,000 from her budget normally allocated for FACT, which she now needs to meet other budget obligations.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said the county very much needs to continue with its funding for FACT programs that benefit everything from child nutrition to general health. So in budgeting, he said, it will be more of a matter of where the money comes from?not if it comes.

Fleming said the program would be budgeted in this year, but might require consultations with Serene to make it work.

Holub said that in a related issue, the county may have to address continuous visitations of persons to more than one food bank designed to help the poor and temporarily unemployed to collect food they may not be qualified to receive.

Some people may not even be able to afford the high price of gasoline to go get the food, he said.

Dallke recommended that County Lake Director Steve Hudson try to work with race organizers to find an adequate number of certified lifeguards to watch over a proposed triathlon swimming event at Marion County Lake.

It may be the event should be restricted to lake coves, Dallke said.

Hudson said swimmers normally aren?t allowed out of the public swimming area without life vests.

The recent latest test for blue-green algae at the lake, Hudson said, showed the water to be safe with no infestation.

The commissioners approved extension of a tax revitalization credit from 2013 for Clyde Jost at 913 220th.

Fleming said the approval reflected the commissioners? desires to see generations of farm families continuing to live on the land.

The commissioners approved renewal of a $19,700 contract with McCully & Associates for tax appraisal of commercial properties for the appraiser?s office.

The commissioners asked Waste and Recycling Director Rollin Schmidt to determine the cost to the county of disposing of recyclable materials as opposed to disposing of solid waste.

The commissioners met in their opening two hours canvassing county primary election returns presented by the county clerk?s office.

The commissioners met for two minutes in executive session for personnel.

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