Holub: Energy devaluation in Marion County will affect operating budget

Oil and natural gas tax valuation in Marion County has declined from $7.375 million to $2.528 million in the last year with the energy market drop, causing even more concern for the county budget.

Marion County Commis?sion Chairman Dan Holub addressed the issue at Monday?s meeting.

Holub couldn?t say immediately what that means in terms of the exact oil and gas tax to be collected in the county, but he said, ?It isn?t good.?

Holub and Commissioner Randy Dallke said with the Kansas Legislature considering budget cuts that might include reducing funds to counties, they are ?highly concerned? for next year?s budget.

With the added potential that school districts also may have to go up in mill levies, Holub said, ?We could get hammered from all sides.?

Dallke said he wanted to look for potential budget cuts, but in all likelihood the county will retain the current budget with added property-tax mill levy.

Holub was asked whether the county could have the state authorize a sales-tax increase to offset expenses by saying it would be legally limited to 1 percent, or double the jail bond sales tax, or about $100,000 a month.

?We are way past that,? he said.

Added Dallke: ?If something new is coming down from the state (to take away from counties), I want to know it now.?

Other business

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman showed the commissioners a model of a tall Chisholm Trail marker that will be displayed,with the cooperation of Durham, with another sign to come at Tampa.

Both Durham and Tampa are the trail route.

Rocky Hett of Marion volunteered to help Huffman locate rock railroad abutments on the Chingawassa mineral springs route from Marion.

In his first action as transfer station director, Bud Druse, formerly a foreman for county road and bridge, helped the commissioners choose to purchase a Bobcat skid steer loader with the starting bid of $55,019 over a John Deere skid steer loader with starting bid of $57,445.

Druse estimated the skid steer loader would average 600 hours work a year with backup from an older skid loader at the transfer station.

Dallke made the motion to be contingent on Bobcat lending a used skid steer loader until the new one is delivered.

Department of Aging Coordinator Gayla Ratzlaff reported the Florentine Seniors are disbanding due to present leadership stepping down with present members of the group not stepping up to fill the leadership roles.

She said the department is offering fall-prevention classes titled ?Matter of Balance? in Florence and Hillsboro.

Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford said he had enough work ahead to continue renting a backhoe for one more month in addition to the past two months at $6,000 a month.

Crawford said he needs to find a successor for Druse with similar qualifications.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge area fuel bid of $10,515.70 for 5,300 gallons of diesel from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro over a bid of $10,570.10 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa.

The commissioners met for 20 minutes in executive session with Crawford for personnel reasons.