Holub asks colleagues to state position on courthouse

Responding to the public, County Commission Chairman Dan Holub asked commissioners at Monday?s meeting to state their position regarding preliminary plans for multi-million-dollar additions and upgrades to the historic courthouse submitted by an architectural firm last month.

?Marion County cannot afford $7.5 million right now or in the foreseeable future to upgrade the courthouse and spend that kind of money,? Holub said.

While windows, storage and space are significant problems, Holub said he wouldn?t support doing everything at one time.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was disappointed to hear Holub isn?t willing to consider $7.5 million because what is spent now could save money in the future.

?To me, we?ve got to move ahead,? Dallke said, ?and we don?t know where to move without a plan.?

Commissioner Lori Lalouette said the commissioners needed to get prices to consider the options.

?We?ll have to look at and see what our highest priority is now,?she said.

Roger Holter, Marion city administrator, and Jerry Henderson, former superintendent for USD 408 met with commissioners to update them about the Marion County Resource Center/Food Bank and to resolicit a 2016 budget line item of $3,000 to cover annual utility costs for the building.

Henderson reported 80 to 100 families are served per month by the center.

?Numbers have grown exponentially,? Henderson said, which he attributes to having easier access and being open during an evening.

Currently, the facility is open from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon on first and third Saturdays.

The times on Saturday haven?t been popular ones, Henderson said.

Holter said transportation for outlying areas is a challenge, so some volunteers are driving people in, but ?all and all we?re pleased what we?re seeing with the food bank.?

A group of citizens met with commissioners to address concerns regarding roads in the county.

Mike Beneke and Holub referred to last week?s emotional meeting and agreed to not debate personnel issues.

Holub requested everybody stay calm and avoid profanity. He also said he would ?take the hit for the way things went last week.?

Beneke addressed a deficiency he sees in when and how road maintenance is handled as well as concern regarding supervision of Road and Bridge employees.

?We need safe roads,? he said. ?Most of our roads have an issue and require maintenance.?

Others reiterated those issues to the commissioners, including Jim Bernhardt, Ed Vinduska, Don Stenzel, Dan Dalke and Fred Carlson. After the men left, the commissioners briefly discussed the challenges the county faces regarding roads.

?Our road department is set up to maintain not rebuild roads,? Holub said.

In other business, the commissioners:

? met with Diedre Serene, health department administrator, regarding grant proposals.

? heard a sexual assault and domestic violence report from Teresa Loffer, victim advocate for Marion County; Camille Wuthnow, executive director for the Hutchinson office; and Jamie Schartz, assistant executive director. The three requested $3,000 to bridge grant funding for the county as part of the 2016 budget.