County to consider changes to rural houses case by case

The Marion County Commis?sion decided Monday that downgrading old rural homes to storage sheds so owners can pay less on the tax roll will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards said rural residents are frequently asking that old homes be reclassified as sheds. Three such cases are before the county now, she said.

The problem, Richards said, is that in some cases the home could be habitable again if somebody cleaned and repaired it.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said such old ?fixer-up? homes are just what young couples are looking for.

Richards said it?s easier to determine whether the home could qualify as a shed if plumbing and electrical outlets are removed to render them uninhabitable.

Richards also reminded applicants for tax rebate under the county?s neighborhood revitalization program that they need to make application to the appraiser before beginning to build.

She recommended to the commissioners that they approve the construction of a farm building by Mr. and Mrs. Ranson Wiebe for inclusion in the program even though they have completed the shed. Richards said they could have been caught by a lack of information between her term and that of former director Bobbi Strait.

The commissioners approved the Wiebes under the program.

They also agreed the age of a mobile home that can be approved of for location in the county be from 2001 to 1994, under Richard?s recommendation, because 1994 was the year that 2×6 construction and improved insulation became mandatory in Kansas.

The move accommodated the location of a 1998 home at 1709 150th.

The commissioners directed County Agricultural Agent Rickey Roberts to secure 7 p.m. Jan. 11 in the courthouse, and 7 p.m. Jan. 14 in the city building at Hillsboro as meeting places to discuss creating a unified extension district with Dickinson County.

The commissioners approved paying a $2,011 membership fee to the Kansas Association of Counties based on population and valuation.

Kevin Fruechting was reappointed to the 8th District Judicial nominating commission.

The commissioners decided they will give four lots in Lincolnville, Tampa and Lost Springs to those cities after acquiring them because they didn?t sell in the last delinquent tax sale. The county will pay the state $56.48 in state property taxes due on them.

The commissioners noted that Kansas Representative Bob Brookens had agreed to attend a Jan. 7 meeting sponsored by them concerning the disputed 10-year tax exemption given TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, but no other legislators would come.

Instead, the commissioners will ask Brookens to come to a regular commission meeting to discuss Keystone and jail issues.

Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville was directed by commissioners to check state availability lists for possible replacement of a 1987 International dump truck and a 1987 International winch truck. Currently, the county must have machine shops fabricate parts for the two trucks because the parts have become commercially unavailable.

Commissioner Bob Hein said it may be a good time to replace trucks with 2009 rebates available from dealers.

The commissioners directed Summerville to find whether it is more desirable to place dirt on a former road dump site on the Jirak Farms near Pilsen to restore it, or if rock is more desirable to make it usable for parking.

Summerville reminded the commissioners that according to a county attorney opinion they don?t have to do anything to the site unless it ?was from the goodness of your hearts.?

The commissioners agreed doing something is the right thing to do.

The commissioners authorized Emergency Management and Communications Director Michele Abbott to encumber $4,500 to repair or replace the courthouse security system.

Abbott discussed problems in remodeling and upgrading the communications center of the jail building that resulted in long overtime hours because of inadequacies of contractor employees and equipment sent to do the job.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said that as far as the commissioners are concerned, waterways on the Ray Just farm south of Hillsboro that empty into a road ditch are a ?done deal? with no further discussion needed as long as the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the local office has approved the plans.

Just said he felt the commissioners owed him an apology for things said during the approval process, but after a brief discussion, the commissioners said they would refuse to discuss it anymore.

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