Interest in oil leases prompts need for office assitance

Rising demand for oil-lease information from multiple companies led to requests to the Marion County Commission Monday for increased equipment funding for both the county’s Register of Deeds Office and Appraiser’s Office.

Register of Deeds Jo Ottensmeier said many oil company representatives are coming without revealing which companies they represent to ask for leasing information on deeds going all the way back to the county’s founding in the 1800s.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill said the oil and gas company representatives are coming in for so many plat maps that she needs a new mapping printer already budgeted for to keep up.

Commissioners Dan Holub and Roger Fleming approved the purchase for $643.49 from Great Plains Computers at Marion. Commissioner Randy Dallke was absent.

Ottensmeier said the first 126 plat books her office holds from the 1800s are brittle and fragile from aging. The cost to upgrade the books for increased handling can’t be done for less than $800 to $1,000 a book, she said.

The alternative, Ottensmeier said, appears to be to put the books on computer disk, from which they can be printed at a total quoted price of $12,096.

She said her office has $18,326 in funds that can be used for such purchases.

Fleming said he agreed with the expense for the disk purchase, but asked Ottensmeier to delay until next week’s commission meeting to investigate if putting the records on file server “to make it easier, and take less time.”

Ottensmeier, Magill and the commissioners agreed that fee revenue received for the services from oil company representatives would more than pay for the equipment.

Holub has said in several meetings that new oil field activity could bring in rising demands in the county from oil field workers for housing and services.

He said this depends on how oil companies approach drilling operations. If the companies come in only to do one or two wells at a time, Holub said, demand might not seem to amount to much on the day to day operating of the county.

But if the companies begin drilling in a big way with many wells, he said there may be a great increase in economic activity providing for workers and their families.

Ottensmeier said the oil company researchers don’t reveal what companies they are working for, “but they all want their separate copies.” She said she’s guessing they work for multiple companies.

Park and Lake Superinten­dent Steve Hudson said he expects at least the usual 25 to 30 fishermen to participate in the fifth annual fishing derby at the county lake this weekend. But he added that the number could grow larger because it appears the weather will be much nicer than in past years.

Officers from the Friends of Marion County Lake Association reviewed and assented to the revised agreement plan the commissioners will have in regard to mobile home residents in future years.

Holub asked the trailer residents to consider a future rent hike agreement with the county because, he said, after paying their utilities they are paying a lot rent of $27.32 a month, which he thinks could be more for parking their trailers there.

The trailer owners have contended that “they carry their weight” in the county considering all of the money they spend with local merchants.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge bid of $30,825.20 for multiple sizes of steel culverts from Welborn Sales Inc. of Salina over a competitive bid of $32, 313.55 from J&J Drainage Products Co. of Hutchinson.

The commissioners agreed to a proposal from Pam Bowers for a group of women to be allowed to work with County Clerk Carol Maggard on planting new shrubs around the courthouse.

Bowers said many members of the group are “young, energetic and knowledgeable in helping select shrubs and plants that will require minimum maintenance.”

The county’s Emergency Manage­ment Services reported 87 ambulance runs in February: 16 transfers, 10 cardiac, 30 medical emergency, one standby, three motor vehicle accidents, 10 falls, 15 no transport, one 10-22 and one other.

The calls included 15 from Peabody, seven from Florence, one for back-up, 22 from Marion, 36 from Hillsboro and six from Tampa.

There were three first-response runs from Goessel and three from Lincolnville.

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