Dallke’s ‘detective’ work resolves tax issue

County Commissioner Randy Dallke turned detective for a short while to get $241 in property tax penalties forgiven by vote of the Marion County Commission in its Tuesday, Jan. 20 meeting that? delayed for Martin Luther King Day.

John and Kathy Wilson of 33 Lakeshore Drive at Marion County Lake had asked the commissioners for consideration on the tax penalties because they said they hadn?t been receiving the tax bills in the mail.

Records at the treasurer?s office showed the bills were being sent out.

Dallke called the address in Wichita to which the bills were being sent, and said that the lady who answered, Kathy Wilson, wife of John Wilson of Wichita, verified, ?Oh sure, we get mail for those people up at that lake all the time.?

The commissioners said they didn?t want always to be hearing excuses on delinquent taxes.

Kenneth Blair of Cook, Flatt & Strobel, engineers, reviewed the county bridge inspection report with the commissioners. He explained how the Kansas Department of Transportation rates bridges on a scale of 1 to 100, and selects bridges with ratings under 50 for replacement.

For instance, he cited bridge No. 88 rated 45 because of deteriorated concrete in an abutment. It was built in 1930. Blair said there are three such bridges on 340th in the northwest part of the county on dirt road through pasture country.

Other factors such as surface condition, rebar exposure and deterioration of supporting structure can lead to the need to replace a bridge, he said.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub asked Road and Bridge Director John Summerville to reinforce the need for road grader operators to watch for deterioration of bridges less than 20 feet in length because they aren?t inspected by engineers.

Dallke asked Blair to look at other problems such as holes showing up in the overlay on Sunflower Road that was only completed less than a year ago.

Craig Smith of Cardie Oil told the commissioners that his company would have to forward contract with its suppliers, say for 42,000 gallons of diesel over three months, in order to give the county a bid into the future for road and bridge fuel.

He said fuel prices are determined on the futures at the New York exchange, and that his suppliers would have to contract on fuel there the instant fuel is ordered. He warned that the commissioners would be banking on fuel prices being the same as or higher than today.

If prices went lower, they could find themselves in a situation where they were paying 40 or 50 cents more than current market, he said.

The commissioners had asked both Cardie and Cooperative Grain & Supply at Hillsboro to give them annual fuel bids.

Smith said another option would be for the county to put in larger or more fuel tanks to buy when prices seemed low.

The commissioners approved a request from Communications and Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott-Becker that the county assume ownership of equipment to enhance radio signal obtained under a grant by Marion County Law Enforcement, and placed on towers at Florence and Goessel.

They approved a request from Sheriff Rob Craft to use a metal shed, which failed to sell under county advertising because of too low of bids, for storage.

The commissioners met with Abbott-Becker and Craft for 25 minutes in executive session concerning personnel.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to give Appraiser Cindy Magill authority to proceed with aircraft photographic mapping of the county. Data from the project will be used among several departments.

For instance, Abbott-Becker appeared with Magill because the mapping is important for communications.

The commissioners authorized Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt to move ahead with drawing a contract with Sunoco of Hutchinson for waste recycling.

Schmidt said he would keep an eye on expenses and savings with recycling in the waste cycle.

?I don?t want to spend $50 to save $40,? Schmidt said.

Commissioner Bob Hein said, ?We could get more material than we ever expected. If Hillsboro would participate, it would really help.?

The commissioners questioned whether they want to remain in the Regional Solid Waste Authority with other counties. Hein said that when the authority was formed in 1990, it was assumed the counties would cooperate to build one landfill for the region, but since then, they seem to have been inclined to go their own ways.

Advisers from Manhattan, Dan Hall of BG Consultants and Jim Scalora of Orazem & Scalora Engineering, met with commissioners to discuss installation of the electrical generator that has been stored at the road and bridge south shop on the county grounds.

The generator would be connected both to the jail and the courthouse by underground tubes, and would be designed to come on automatically during power failures.

The meeting adjourned for the consultants to look at courthouse grounds designs in order to make a proposal at the Jan. 30 payday commission meeting.

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