County swears in newly elected officials at Monday meeting

The Marion County Commis?sion Monday began its session with the swearing-in of newly elected county officials.

They included Sheriff Rob Kraft, who defeated incumbent Sheriff Lee Becker in the general election.

Kraft?s newly appointed undersheriff, David Huntley, also was sworn in.

Also sworn in were County Commissioners Randy Dallke and Dan Holub, who both won re-election.

At the beginning of the commission?s regular meeting, Holub was named commission chairman, in the regular rotation, to succeed Commissioner Bob Hein.

The Marion County Record was renamed for a second year as the county?s newspaper for printing legal notices, with no competitive bids. The commissioners voted to accept an offer from Hoch Publishing to publish legals at $10 a column inch in all three of its newspapers instead of only in the Record for $9 per column inch.

The commissioners added an addendum for the new year to its county personnel policy to allow county employees extended leave to care for family members returning from military service overseas.

They voted to accept $61,220 of a state grant for early childhood health administered by Communities In Schools under Linda Ogden, but with the program running for only one year if no further grant funds are available.

Dallke said that too frequently grants start new programs like this that the county can?t afford to budget for if the grant money stops.

Hein said he would like to see the program continued beyond a year, but he also agreed with Dallke, adding he would have been more comfortable with a three-year grant contract allowing for the program.

The commissioners will consider relocating a metal building they had put up for bids, with suggested price of $2,500, to the south shops to be used as additional evidence space for the sheriff?s office.

Five public bids had come in for the building ranging from $211 to $1,551.

They could put the building up for bids again, but Hein said if they can?t get a minimum $2,500 bid, then the sale of the building needs to be reconsidered.

The commissioners decided they will, in part, try to lock-in lowered fuel prices by forward contracting up to 50 percent of the county?s road and bridge?plus transfer station diesel fuel needs?with one of two regular suppliers.

The representative of one of those suppliers, Chad Nowak of Cooperative Grain at Hillsboro, said he wouldn?t recommend contracting for 100 percent of needs because the buyer would be chancing that prices could go down instead of up.

Hein said that the contracting is a gamble. He said he has visited with farmers in Marion County who contracted at prices higher than those current, and had to pay the higher amount to honor the agreement.

Nowak said the co-op is gathering diesel customers willing to contract now so that it may put a bid through based on clear diesel to its own supplier. He warned against a customer getting ?too aggressive? because there could even be an added penalty of 10 cents a gallon for fuel not bought as agreed.

Dallke said contracting on a portion of the county?s needs probably is worth any gamble.

Holub said the gallons purchased could be based on the county?s average fuel use over a two-year period.

The commissioners asked Road and Bridge Director John Summerville, in cooperation with Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt, to come up with diesel totals for both the co-op and Cardie Oil of Tampa for bidding before the end of January.

Summerville said he wasn?t optimistic that the county will be able to do anything to stem paying huge prices to redo 190th Road from Marion to Hillsboro, also known as Old Highway 56.

He said estimates from a Topeka company for reclaiming the old highway to condition have come in at an average $62,000 per mile for the 10.5 miles between the towns. He said chipping and sealing the surface probably would come to an additional $150,000 to $200,000.

?But if we don?t do something soon?at least to cover the cracks,? he said, ?moisture will go down through them to break it up.?

The commissioners will be viewing a county right-of-way for possible abandonment in the southern half of the county as requested by Elmer Leppke because he wants to put a fence down the middle of it.

Summerville said part of the right-of-way was abandoned in 1977.

The commissioners approved writing off $2,936 in ambulance invoices although, Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith said, they can still be subject to collection.

Smith reported 108 ambulance runs for December, 25 from Peabody, 12 from Florence, two from back-up, 27 from Marion, 38 from Hillsboro and four from Tampa.

There were 10 first response runs?two from Burns, six from Goessel, one from Durham and one from Lincolnville. There were four rescue runs from Marion and 1 from Florence.

Smith said ambulance runs for the year totaled a record 1,150 runs compared to the former record of 1,024 in 2005 and 915 last year.

Smith said try out use of a power cot for lifting patients has greatly helped EMTs, especially women. He explained that the average weight of ambulance patients in Marion County is at 200 pounds, and the continuing trend is toward heavier weights.

Baker Bros. of Hillsboro was awarded a $710.70 bid for printing 5,000 county lake promotional brochures over competitive bids of $733 from Hoch Publishing and $1,200 from Western Associates of Marion.

The commissioners raised the annual rate for trailer lots rental plus utilities at the county lake from $1,000 annually to $1,050 annually because of a $50 increase in water rates by the Lake Improvement District.

The commissioners told Park Director Steve Smith to proceed with requirements for all docks at the lake to be accessible by both land and water by 2011.

The commissioners said that to be fair to county taxpayers, fees for out-of-state boat use at the lake need to be double what it is for in-state boats.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill approved one of two requests for extensions on neighborhood revitalization applications for tax abatement to the commission.

One was a request for an extension to March because of health problems to due with cancer treatment. The commissioners instead extended their approval to June to make sure the person had time.

The other request was from a person who said his construction under the revitalization was done within deadline time, but then Magill discovered it wasn?t. The person also was delinquent on county taxes.

The commissioners turned down the second request although Hein said they might have approved it if ?he had been paid up on taxes. He can reapply when he is.?

The commissioners approved a Central National Bank competitive lease purchase bid of 4.05 percent interest for loan on a transfer station semi-truck that will cost approximately $86,000 over competitive bids of 5.88 percent from Navistar Financial Corp., 4.99 percent from Marion National Bank, 7.70 percent from Pilsen State Bank, and 4.48 percent from Citizens State Bank.

Schmidt said that Consulting Engineer Jack Chappelle will be looking at commercial and demolition landfill plans at the Martin Marietta Quarry at Marion with him this week at no charge, done just for purposes of orientation.

Chappelle also looked at prior planning done by Rocky Hett, whose family owns the land, Schmidt said.

The commissioners directed Schmidt to plan logistics and costs for shipping e-waste to Butler County where handling for its disposal are in-place.

Hein said he has had people ask about such disposal, and he expects a surge in disposal of televisions with digital broadcast signal to start in February.

Schmidt also is to discuss potential penalties of early contract withdrawal with a Sunoco representative if the county agrees to a five-year contract for paper recycling.

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