County tax levy to increase by 5 mills

The Marion County Board of Commissioners Monday raised the 2017 tax levy by five mills in a 3-0 vote after years of resisting increases based on county valuation.

Even at that, budget preparer Scot Loyd put part of the ambulance budget over into a cash fund so the county still has access to it while increases in ambulance service are made.

In a three-hour budget session, the commissioners also met with other officials, including the sheriff, to see if other cuts might be made to reduce a levy increase.

Loyd said his outlook is for budget problems to worsen in the future.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he didn’t see how he could be expected to give standard raises to county employees when businesses such as Straub International in Marion are going out of business, and many people are hurting.

The commissioners talked of paying off half the $500,000 bill for courthouse window replacement for the first year, and splitting the rest of the amount with short-term loans through local banks.

Dwight Werlie, Garry Crawford and Gordon Pendegraft asked the commissioners to consider what they might do about roads being washed out at the county lake.

The commissioners said the lakes present a problem because the roads were simply laid out by local property owners and common public use with no regard to county and state requirements.

But they promised to try to lay out what they may do, including graveling and some possible overlays.

The commissioners said they would work with Gerald Gilkey of Bergkamp Construction Co. and his associates in reopening a rock quarry at 290th and Zebulon.

Gilkey said Morris County also has asked to receive rock from the quarry.

Gilkey said the company also operates quarries in Butler County and for Fort Riley. He asked that the county help maintain the roadway to U.S. Highway 77.

The quarry will offer different grades of rock and also agricultural lime, he said. The commissioners were interested in backhauls of sand for possible use in Marion County.

The commissioners approved an offer for access by local landowners of Bridge 224 on Alfalfa by Lawrence after a 15-minute executive session. They considered sizes and cost of using railroad cars covered with concrete for local bridge replacements.