County reviews mobile-home regs

Marion County Commission looked at new revitalization, planning commission and park regulations at its Monday meeting, but it was planning commission rules for mobile homes that caused the most commentary.

The zoning regulations presented by Planning and Zoning Director Bobbi Strait would base approval for mobile homes on whether they are habitable or occupied.

Commissioner Randy Dallke agreed the county needs to act on questions of habitability, including homes partly deteriorated or open to animal intrusions, but disagreed that occupation should be a measurement. He said government should not ?second guess? the intentions of homeowners and should not be ?intrusive.?

Strait said that in practice what usually triggers the county to look at the habitability of a home would be a request of the homeowner to the county appraiser to have it taken off property taxes because it it is uninhabitable.

The commissioners and Strait agreed to a future discussion involving the county commission with the planning commission to determine final wording.

The commissioners approved an extension of one year for a house being remodeled on North Cedar Street in Marion under the county?s tax abatement plan for revitalization by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Crawford.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill said the extension was needed because the Crawfords are doing the work part-time themselves.

The commissioners said Magill should take rewording for the neighborhood revitalization plan to County Attorney Susan Robson for approval before they act upon it.

Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson brought in Marion County Lake rules and regulations changes for 2009. Since most of the changes involve rate hikes for activities, such as hall rent and camping rates, the commissioners asked Hudson to reduce costs by printing a separate rate card, and retaining the lake brochure unchanged for non-monetary rules and directions.

The commissioners approved Hudson?s addition of $90 for water and sewer to the $1,000 annual fee for having a mobile home in the county?s home park at the lake, but they questioned continuing the county?s practice of paying other utilities under the $1,000.

Dallke said it is more than taxpayers ought to absorb for trailer residents not paying additional for electricity.

Commissioner Dan Holub said electrical use of individual trailers needs to be monitored, but he knew of no way without asking the utility to install meters at county expense. He said the county is giving trailer owners a bargain.

?You can?t even store a trailer for $1,000 a year,? Holub said.

The commissioners agreed with Hudson?s plans to purchase two 9-foot and 12 6-foot speed bumps in the 10 mph speed zone of the camping area. Hudson said the move especially is needed to protect children.

The commissioners discussed developing regulations with Hudson to require holders of permits for building private docks to complete docks within a year.

Hudson said persons are holding rights to the 10 spaces allowable left at the lake, and they have done nothing.

Holub said development of docks at the lake is a primary aim of the commissioners, provided the docks are accessible by land and water, and are available for public use when not in use by the owner. He said docks that are only accessible by wading in water won?t be defined as accessible under regulations.

Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator for the Department for Elderly, said she has helped about 100 persons enroll in Medicare prescription drug plans this fall in cooperation with pharmacies in Marion and Hillsboro.

She said as of Monday, senior citizens only have 10 days left for annual enrollment that began Nov. 15.

Citing quality considerations, the commissioners approved bids for Ratzlaff?s office of $4,804 for office furniture from Navrat?s of Emporia and $2,180 for a copier from Konica Minolta despite lower competitive bids.

Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said he received comparisons from Sunoco at Hutchinson for quantities of paper received for recycling from communities of similar size to those in Marion County.

Sunoco representatives told Schmidt the figures show they could expect a viable stream of paper from this county.

Schmidt and the commissioners hope to begin recycling not only to make money, but to cut costs of disposing municipal solid waste disposal.

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