Fleming sworn in, commissioners discuss jail vote

Roger Fleming was sworn in Monday as First District county commissioner prior to the regular Marion County Commission meeting, but then left due to a death in his family.

Fleming, who won election to succeed Bob Hein, is expected to be named commission chairman at his first meeting because of the regular rotation of the post between the three district representatives.

At this meeting, current Commission Chairman Randy Dallke presided as he has for the last year. He was joined by Commissioner Dan Holub.

The commissioners said an immediate step needed for the new year is to begin planning to get a question on the county ballot for the public to decide on a bond issue to build a new jail.

An earlier attempt on the ballot failed.

Holub said he talked last week to officials with the Kan?sas Association of Counties and to the attorney for counties fighting the state?s 10-year tax exemption for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline. He had hoped that a settlement might happen soon to finance a jail.

But, he said the officials told him any money that might come from Keystone as the result of a favorable settlement for the counties wouldn?t arrive for a year to year and a half.

Marion County?s Kansas legislative representatives also seem unfavorable to introducing any legislation in the Keystone case, he said.

Dallke and Holub agreed the county doesn?t have time to wait for financing from Keystone or any other source to fund a jail, and therefore must proceed with introducing a ballot question for the voters.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said David Arteberry, bond counsel, has said the county still has time to put the question on the April ballot if it acts immediately. He also left open the possibility of calling a special election later instead.

Holub said he might like to see commissioners take an approach to tell architects how much they are willing to spend on a jail rather than let architects come with a plan, and tell the commissioners how much it will cost. He suggested a jail built to meet the county?s needs might cost about $3 million.

Dallke said that approach might work, but the commissioners will have to submit a specific plan for the voters.

The two commissioners agreed they probably can act quickly because they have the information the county jail committee put together last year.

Action on properties

Environmental Health Director Tonya Richards told commissioners that three of five persons who took advantage of the county?s $25,000 commercial and demolition waste credit to dispose of dilapidated buildings through the transfer station are rebuilding at the sites.

She listed five properties applying through the 2010 Marion County waste-reduction plan for demolition disposal that have been completed including residences at 1234 90th by Peabody owned by Terry Eberhardt, at 1330 Alamo by Goessel owned by Joe Base, at 1753 190th owned by Marion Albert Price, at 221 Garfield in Marion owned by Eldon Hett, and at a residence at Marion owned by Ryan Newell.

Properties approved but not completed under the program are a residence at 1603 Lime?stone by Marion owned by Dennis Maggard, a residence at 109 Lombard in Lincolnville owned by Robert Kristek, a residence at 236 W. 6th in Florence owned by Scott Odell, and for disposal of shingles only at 1625 Nighthawk by Peabody owned by Janice Waner.

Permission to burn through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was obtained for a manufactured home at 821 Xavier in Florence, for a barn Robert Brookens.

Permission was given to bury a residence on site at 2230 Sunrise near Marion owned by Claude Landis.

Other business

In other business, commissioners approved a 1.75 percent pay increase for county employees. Dallke said he could approve the increase because it won?t increase the 2011 budget already approved.

Holub said he felt the raise was necessary for Marion County to retain quality people after employees have had to watch city employees get raises of 2 to 4 percent in the past few years when they got none.

The commissioners approved applying for a state permit on the next county bridge to be built five miles south and seven miles east of Lincolnville on 240th.

Ashley Friesen was introduced as a new payroll clerk in the county clerk?s office.

Dallke commended Goessel residents for coming to public meetings to gain understanding of what is going on in the road rebuilding process around their community. He said people who call only to complain about getting a quick fix for the roads, especially out-of-county people, aren?t helping at all or taking time to understand anything.

The commissioners reiterated that road and bridge is rebuilding roads with good bases under them to reduce problems in the future.