Dallke uses visual aids to depict complaints about county roads

Marion County Commission Chairman Randy Dallke used a string and a tape measure at Monday?s meeting to visually depict complaints residents have about the crown levels for county roads.

That demonstration followed Dallke?s question to Jim Herzet, superintendent of the Road and Bridges Department, about the target height for roads.

The desired crown height is 3 inches, Herzet said, although roads are graded with a 6-inch peak.

Residents are complaining that the peak is 10 to 12 inches on a road near Peabody, Dallke said. So he went out, measured and confirmed the height.

?We need to send somebody to cut it down,? he said.

Herzet acknowledged that some peaks are higher than 6 inches, but the problem will be addressed soon.

?I?d like to see (the roads) settle a bit,? Herzet said. ?Give us a little time and we?ll bring it down to 3 inches.?

Earlier in the meeting, the commissioners had discussed citizen concerns about road conditions where maintenance is shared by both the city and the county. They agreed that the issue needs to be addressed, but no decision was made.

In other road-and-bridge matters, Garrett Clay, sales representative for Foley Equipment Co. in Salina, said technology used to meet the emission standards required by the Environmental Protection Agency are increasing the cost of graders and other road equipment.

Although he didn?t bring ?hard data? to the meeting, Clay said the county was in a good position to make choices about purchasing equipment?both new and used?before price increases were implemented.

Herzet said some of the county?s equipment, especially that purchased in the mid-80s, had clocked a high number of hours.

Clay said he would supply information regarding options, and could schedule a demonstration as part of the decision-making process.

Dallke reported that after meeting last week with Scot Loyd, budget consultant with Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd of McPherson, the 2010-11 county budget will stay at a one-mill increase.

Teresa Huffman, economic development director, met with the commissioners to report on department business, including plans to sponsor an agribusiness tourism training seminar.

She also reported establishing a new Web site that promotes business in Marion County, available at marioncountybusinessdevelopment.com, that can be updated daily.

Anita Goertzen, chair of the Marion County Economic Development Council, presented 2011 budget request for the council?s committees: tourism, business and retention, and marketing.

The commissioners discussed adding air-conditioning to the bus that is available for use by the county and such events as tours of sites in the county.

Deb Geis, Marion County Special Education Cooperative chair, and Dave Sheppard, MCSEC director, presented the option of considering the east wing of the MCSEC facility to house the county health department. The commissioners agreed to tour the facility Friday to determine whether such an arrangement might be viable.

Rollin Schmidt, director of noxious weed, transfer station and recycling, reported someone had sent a letter to the county attorney requesting $400 compensation for killing a garden after the county had sprayed herbicide in the area. After investigating the situation, Schmidt said, he thought the complaint could be legitimate.

The commissioners suggested Schmidt check whether insurance would cover the damage before compensating the injured party.

Other business

In other business, the commissioners:

? signed for a $13,500 purchase of a used Volvo truck from Halstead Trailer Sales that will replace the water truck in the county?s Road and Bridge Department.

? committed $10,000 as requested by Huffman, which would be matched with $40,000 from the Rural Business Enterprise Development Grant program for the Micro-Loan Program.

?It?s a great investment for the county,? Holub said.

? accepted bids from Cardie Oil Co. for 800 gallons for Area 1 at $2.221 per gallon for $1,776.80 and 2,150 gallons for Area 2 at $2.221 per gallon for $4,775.15, and bids from Cooperative Grain & Supply for 1,800 for Area 3 at $2.2310 for $4015.80 and 1,800 for Area 4 at $2.2360 for $4,024.80.

? met in executive session with Health Department administrator Diedre Serene. Following the session, they voted to extend the H1N1 grant from July 31 to Dec. 31 for retirement. Serene is administering the grant.

? agreed to send a letter after goals have been set about reviewing the Neighborhood Revitalization program after the commissioners have their first meeting. County Clerk Carol Maggard reported the county had returned $1.6 million taxes to participants.

? met in executive session with Herzet to discuss matters of personnel. No action was taken.

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