Florence reps ask for MCEDC help

Three Florence representatives on the Marion County Economic Development Council are unhappy with certain aspects of that group and spoke with commissioners about those concerns at Monday?s meeting.

Tracy Warner, Sara Dawson and Mayor Mary Shipman attended the meeting to express disappointment at the ?bickering and attacks? on MCEDC executive director Teresa Huffman.

Part of their concern, according to information presented at the meeting, involved the tentative bylaw changes and the perceived big-city attitudes during MCEDC meetings.

One of the major changes in the bylaws presented at the April 21 MCEDC meeting dealt with the appointment of a chairperson to conduct meetings and be the liaison between the council and commissioners. As it stands, the executive director serves as chairperson with those responsibilities.

If the revised bylaws are adopted, it would change the director?s position to that of an administrator and adviser capacity, answering to the chair and executive committee.

In addition, the executive committee, consisting of the chair, vice-chair, treasurer and secretary would develop the plan of action for the MCEDC.

The Florence representatives appealed to the commissioners to intervene and redirect the focus of MCEDC in order to get the group stabilized.

The next meeting of the MCEDC is scheduled for noon Wednesday, May 19, in the Marion auditorium basement at city hall. The meeting is open to the public.

The bylaws committee is expected to provide updates.

In other county business:

? commissioners signed permits for two cell towers to go up. One will be located by Peabody and the other near Florence.

? the official start of pipeline digging is scheduled to begin Monday, May 24.

? a new jailer was hired by the Marion County Sheriff?s office.

? a new evaporation cooler for the Marion County Courthouse air conditioner was purchased for about $17,000.

? commissioners accepted a bid for roof repair on the transfer station for $2,500 with seven-year warranty from Ship-Shape Roofing.

? commissioners directed Jim Herzet, county roads, to look into bids for engineering services on Tampa Road 15 in order to complete road project application with Kansas Department of Transportation.

? Peggy Blackman, coordinator of Flint Hills Resource Conservation and Develop?ment, requested money to continue monitoring Marion Reservoir.

The commissioners are seeking financial help from Marion and Hillsboro because of county budget constraints.

According to commissioners, both cities have not cooperated in the past even though this is where their drinking water comes from.

Blackman also plans to attend Marion and Hillsboro city council meetings this week and ask members to consider incorporating money into the 2011 budgets for this purpose.

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