County official exploring raw-sewage violation on Burns property

Environmental health director Bobbi Strait reviewed several sanitation issues for Marion County commissioners at their Monday meeting.

In addition to the reservoir situation (see story, Page 1), Strait said she was acting on complaints she received regarding sewage on a property in Burns.

?There?s a huge amount of (sewage) water? all the way to the alley and draining to the property next door, she said.

A woman with children lives on the property; the children are staying with a relative because of the unsafe conditions, she said.

Strait said she plans to be on site Tuesday and expects the water to be pumped out so she can inspect the problem, determine whether the sewer line is broken or clogged and establish deadlines for getting the situation resolved.

?If there?s inadequate sanitation, the property is condemn?able,? she said.

Strait said she plans to report at the Burns City Council meeting later that night.

She also wanted to clarify a situation about commercial and demolition waste located in an old trench silo on land owned by Commissioner Dan Holub?s mother.

Strait said she did not treat the situation differently than others? ?except perhaps harder.?

She wrote and personally delivered a violation letter to Holub.

In writing, Holub responded he did not ?intend to bury or burn this waste at the site.?

Strait said she determined the urgency to have a temporary place for the waste was valid and she did not regard it as hazardous.

Holub said the trash will be taken care of, as required.

Tony Rangel of Law Kingdon Inc. reported on his meeting with state officials regarding concerns about three outstanding codes for the county?s law enforcement facility. Rangel reviewed the code footprint for the building and how those concerns will be resolved to the state?s satisfaction:

n construct a separate fire barrier.

n reinforce a door with metal.

n build a new wall.

The commissioners approved publishing a notice for bids to complete the proposed changes.

?I?d like to go locally, if possible,? said Holub about hiring a contractor.

Contractors who are interested can review the plans at the Marion County Sheriff?s Department. Closed bids will be due Aug. 17 and will be reviewed Aug. 20.

Sheriff Lee Becker also requested modifications that would enhance security and access.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill reviewed a neighborhood revitalization application from the city of Marion. Magill said how city applications are treated depends on how the property is used. The property would be tax exempt unless it is generating income for the city.

?If the city?s not using it, taxes are due,? Magill said, adding that 2008 is the first year taxes would be applied or exempt, depending on property usage.

But if the city chooses to sell the property, tax-exempt status is passed on to the buyer, she said.

The commissioners discussed the potential impact on a tax base as well as requests for federal funding that would result from natural disasters of tornados and flooding.

The Greensburg tornado destroyed the city?s tax base, Chairman Randy Dallke said, adding that government officials had tried to rescind tax exemption for property in the revitalization program in Greensburg so owners would be eligible to apply for federal funds, but the governor did not allow it.

Holub questioned whether to add a clause ?in event of disaster.? The commissions advised Magill to consult with the county attorney about modifying the plan.

Betty Richmond of the Soil Conservation District requested $81,150 in expenditures for the 2008 budget, the same as last year.

?I?d like to thank you for presenting a budget that?s holding the line,? Dallke told Richmond.

In other business, the commissioners:

n approved a resolution to increase mileage reimbursement to 47 cents per mile.

n approved purchase of a laptop computer requested by Teresa Huffman, economic development director. The cost is $1,156 from Great Plains.

n reviewed permit revisions for the booklet distributed at Marion County Lake. Superintendent Steve Hudson said he plans to get printing bids. Holub said the commission only needs to approve the project if the cost is more than $500.

The cost may be more than $500, Hudson said, because he wants to include information about the new state law that requires pleasure boaters to raise a fluorescent orange sign if someone?such as a water skier?falls into the lake.

The law won?t be enforced until next year. Flags will be available for sale at the lake.

n approved sending a letter to Butler County in support of their decision to collect e-waste, such as computers and other electronics.

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