Lake sparks discussion at May 31 meeting

The Marion County Board of Commissioners gave up a 16-foot by 18-foot parcel of land to a resident at the Marion County Park and Lake at its May 31 meeting.

Emma Tajchman, director of Marion County Planning and Zoning, said Garry Dunnegan, a lake resident and developer, owns the land across from this county parcel behind the lower water bridge near Saddle Creek Estates.

Dunnegan said without this easement, he is landlocked. Tajchman disagreed, saying there is access by a small bridge that’s part of Saddle Creek.

“It could have been access,” he said, referring to how it was surveyed four or five years ago.

“I didn’t understand why the lot next to Saddle Creek wasn’t included,” he said. “I let the surveyor do what he thought was best, and my house is part of Saddle Creek and the end of my deck is the end of the property line.”

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said he has heard concerns from some lake residents regarding the parcel, and like any process, public comments are needed.

However, Tajchman said in this situation, procedurally no hearing is needed.

Commissioner Dianne Novak questioned Dallke about the easement and using it to build a driveway for access.

“Why are you harassing this man for a driveway?” Novak said.

Dunnegan said after he sold Saddle Creek Estates, the only way he has to get to his property is a road to the back of the property.

Commissioner Kent Becker said he can remember growing up when the county lake had small fishing cabins, and now it has grown up to larger homes and landowners.

“(The county lake) has never had any kind of master plan for this,” Becker said. “It’s been one separate issue at a time, but going forward, we need some sort of a master plan. We are going to have requests from trailer owners to million-dollar homeowners.”

If the Marion County Lake is becoming a community on its own, then it needs a plan that can be easily approved or not approved, Becker added.

“We talked about this years ago, with a separate way issued,” Dallke said. That was the way the plot was done.”

Becker said that particular plot of land is unique.

“When you sold Saddle Creek Estates, an update should have been done,” Becker said to Dunnegan.

Dallke added there isn’t even a true legal description for that property.

“I think we have grounds to ask for public comment,” Dallke said.

Dunnegan said Dallke was an “anti-bill” commissioner, adding that in working with about 85 other counties, he hadn’t seen any anti-bill commissioners until Marion County.

The main concern expressed by Dallke and Becker is the lack of a plan regarding what Dunnegan plans to do with the parcel.

Becker said he would agree to approve Dunnegan’s easement request, but it would be on a one-time only basis.

“Any further plans for development brought to the commission must have a plan laid out,” Becker said. “We know when someone comes to us it’s for developing and the need for a secondary road.”

Novak said the conversation was unfair and embarrassing to hassle “our people” like this.

Rebid demo project

Darin Neufeld, an engineer with EBH & Associates, said nine bidders were vying for the Florence High School demolition job. However, recommend rebidding the project because bidders didn’t all receive the same info.

Neufeld said a payment performance bond wasn’t needed for this project, but when taking that out of the first page of the bid instructions, the entire sentence was removed, which included the need for a bid security bond of 5 percent.

Five of the bidders did include a bid security, but the other four bidders didn’t. To prevent a formal protest, Neufeld said rebidding was the best option. Dallke said two of the three lowest bidders were in Marion County.

Commissioner voted 2-1 to reject all bids with Dallke dissenting. Next bids will be opened June 15 or 16.

Other matters

On other matters, the commissioners:

• approved by a 2-0 vote a proposal from Jesse Hamm, Road and Bridge director, that the county purchase two trucks with improvements from Williams, which submitted the low bid.

Each truck is $95,652 with additional $1,500 for bed and upgrades to pull trailer. Both trucks would be outfitted to pull pup, but only one pup would be purchased at this time, he said.

• asked Hamm about how he delegates road work. Novak said most of the county roads have water running down the center and she would rather see quality, not quantity.

Hamm agreed, but when crews get caught up on their sections, farmers need to get to roads so they can get caught up. Hamm said he wants the roads to be passable and safe so producers can get in their fields.

• heard from Hamm about which roads are going to receive asphalt. Those include 90th Road, from Kansas Highway 15 east to Chisholm Trail; Pawnee Road, north to U.S. Highway 56 to the dam road; Timber Road, from 10th Road to 40th Road, and Pawnee Road, from 220th Road to 230th.

• heard from Ty Wheeler with Kansas Legal Services, who requested the commission consider $4,000 for its KLS budget line in 2018. The primary purpose of KLS is to provide legal representation for those who are unable to pay for it.

Most of the clients, Wheeler said, are domestic violence victims, getting protective orders, and disability claims.