County will continue its search for new appraiser

The Marion County commissioners are still looking for a new appraiser after Brian Frese, serving as interim, turned down the position at the June 12 meeting.

Ray Cook, who was the appraiser, retired because of health reasons. Frese was offered the job with 30 days to decide if he would accept the position permanently.

Commission chair Randy Dallke said he was grateful to Frese for filling in Cook’s absence.

“Thank-you for also agreeing to continue as interim appraiser until a permanent replacement is found,” he said. “I just want you to know how much we appreciated the job you do.”

Commissioner Dianne Novak also thanked Frese, adding that everyone has to make their own decisions regarding employment. His formal resignation letter was received Friday, June 9.

Prior to a 10-minute executive session to discuss the position, Dallke asked County Clerk Tina Spencer about opening the job for an appraiser.

Spencer said she will look through the eligible employees already on file and will advertise in the Kansas Asso­­cia­­tion of Counties.

EMT apartment

Jared Jost, chair of the Salem Home board of directors, said he was there to answer questions regarding housing for EMTs at the former clinic location.

Commissioner Kent Becker said he thought the two-bedroom apartment was a “freebie,” based on what Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke said at a prior meeting.

Dallke said he spoke with Jost last week regarding the apartment. Jost said the building is owned by Salem Home, and they would like to get $300 a month and utilities for the apartment.

“It has a full kitchen and there are meal tickets,” Jost said.

Novak said that maybe Dalke was speaking about what the city of Hillsboro could do, and that it would be between the city and county.

“I think we should clarify this with (Dalke),” she said.

Jost said the ambulance service is important to Hillsboro and he would go month-to-month on a lease.

EMS director Ed Debesis said it wouldn’t be fair to Salem Home if the county isn’t paying for anything. The EMTs have been in the apartment for about six weeks, he said.

Dallke said the county should start paying for the service today.

New cabin discussion

Emma Tajchman, director of planning and zoning, told commissioners about a family wanting to build a new cabin at 140th Road and Timber.

Tajchman said the cabin was close to a flood plain, but the owners already have met the elevation requirements.

Another concern, she said, was their request to put in a septic system, which requires a 100-foot setback. But in this situation it would be within 20 feet of the property line, and a variance is needed.

Tajchman said there are also problems with the road.

Jesse Hamm, road and bridge superintendent, said he would be in contact with the residents.

Hamm said a minimum of two culverts would be needed for the quarter-mile stretch of road.

One of the biggest concerns, Hamm said, is with emergencies.

“The first portion of the road is rock, but the last portion is old rock and dirt,” he said. “There’s no way a swather can get in there.”

Tajchman said the landowners agreed to help with the costs to improve the road and maintain it.

“Even after we have the final product it could still have wash­outs,” Hamm said,

The commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of Tajchman’s recommendation to issue a building permit, and for the landowners to share in the initial cost and maintenance of the road as a condition of the building permit.

Other business

In other business, the commissioners:

• heard from Frese about the 2018 budget for the appraiser’s office. The budget is only a $90 difference from the previous year and he didn’t anticipate major expenses.

• signed the easement for Garry Dunnegan’s property. Dallke said there was already a sign up stating it was a private drive. At a previous meeting, the discussion was about opening a second road.

• approved Debesis’ request for AT&T at the new EMS location in Marion, formerly AutoHouse.

• listened to a budget presentation from the North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging. The budget request was for $38,861, but the majority of the funding would be used only if the four full-time employees chose to enroll in health insurance. Those positions include the senior center managers in Hillsboro and Marion and the head cook in Peabody and Hillsboro.

Julie Govert Walter, executive director, said Marion County’s total population of people 60 and older is 27.1 percent of the 12,660 people in the county, which is a high number. She said it also indicates people are “healthy and happy.”

• heard options related to the police radios and financing. Mark Graber, TBS Electronics Inc., said that if all departments were under one contract with the county, Motorola would have 0 percent financing for two years. The total cost would be $392,000 for the financing of 225 radios.

Spencer said she needed to check if the change to a lease-purchase agreement would affect the grants.

The county voted 3-0 to approve Sheriff Robert Craft’s request ordering the radios, stipulating that financing would need to be in place.