County plans to crack down on individual polluters

Individual polluters?whether they dump trash along roadsides, throw away tires in county ditches, run a straight-pipe for sewage to a ditch or stream, or park salvage vehicles on county right-of-way?finally have the Marion County Commission fed up with them.

The commissioners decided Monday to have the county attorney write some enforcement tools ?with teeth in them? that could stick individual violators with fines starting as high $1,500.

The commissioners not only want the fines hefty, they said, but they also want them to stick. Commissioner Bob Hein said county government will need to approach them with the attitude that there is no backing off.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he is sick of the violators who hold the county?s environmental and health laws in such low regard. County workers in departments like the sanitarian?s office, sheriff?s office and road and bridge regularly are ?run ragged? trying to keep up with the mess, he said.

Holub said people who do all of these things realize they are violating the law, and just figure they can either get away with it, or get off easy if they are caught.

?We need regulations with some enforcement power to them, to tell these people if you do these things, it?s going to cost you dearly,? he said.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said a particularly ugly violation lately has been by persons who put their trash in county dumpsters at the County Lake, then set the trash in dumpsters on fire to cover who did it.

Hein responded: ?We have to stick it to them.?

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke suggested starting fines at about $1,500 to ensure they are memorable and wording language that will leave no way out.

Bobbi Strait, planning and zoning and environmental health director, told commissioners that one family caught with a straight sewage pipe to the ditch in lieu of a legal septic system has been correcting the situation within time allowed.

However, she said her office still is investigating where an oil slick on the Cottonwood River came from, and a violater with salvage vehicles on roadway and a huge pile of dirt with debris to clean up still has made no progress toward meeting a deadline set for this fall.

Strait also presented a conditional use permit, passed by planning and zoning, to the commissioners, which they approved, that allows Strassburg Baptist Church on 2249 N. Pawnee Road to add a fellowship hall.

Strait said the church had to have the permit because of its location in an agricultural zone.

The commissioners approved the annual resolution for solid waste assessment fee with no changes. Maggard noted that the final appeal date for the assessment to have it taken off vacant homes is Dec. 20.

Maggard said the commissioners received a letter from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment acknowledging installation of the final water monitoring well at the old county dump southwest of Marion.

The commissioners rescinded a motion from last meeting that allowed sales of two lots of county owned land in Florence, and the two are put up for public bid.

The commissioners approved County Health Administrator Diedre Serene?s purchase of a computer server from Great Plains Computers in Marion for $2,420, taken from an account of $35,919 in capital outlay funds.

The commissioners approved a bid of $3,503 by Don Doty of Emporia from among a group of 11 ranging from $665 to $2,319 for a 1960 to 1970-era industrial tractor.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill said her office came in at a 92.2 percent ratio for residential property and a 97 percent ratio for commercial property. Those are rated as good rates by the state, Magill said. She added that since they are under 100 percent, that means she is ranking real estate a little under current value.

The commissioners signed an application for a recycling grant that would purchase collection trailers and a baler presented by Rollin Schmidt, transfer station, noxious weed and household hazardous waste director.

Schmidt said the baler initially would mostly be used on cardboard. He would expect recycled goods initially to be sent to the McPherson program.

He reported 703.54 tons of municipal solid waste, 18.02 tons of tires, and 122.88 tons of white goods collected for May at the transfer stations with 41 loads transferred out at an average weight of 20.15 tons a load.

Tonnages hauled out for the year included 2,794.47 MSW, 328.06 C&D, 20.4 white goods, and 33.26 tires.

Emergency Medical Services Director Larry Larsen reported 15 ambulance calls in May from Peabody, seven from Florence, 16 from Marion, 25 from Hillsboro and three from Tampa to total 66.

They included 11 transfers, eight cardiac, 20 emergency, five standby, eight falls, eight no-transport, four 10-22 and two other.

There were two first-response calls from Goessel and three from Lincolnville. There was one rescue-truck run from Florence.


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