MCEDC asks that director serve as board adviser not chairperson

Members of the Marion County Economic Development Council bylaws committee got word to the Marion County Commission Monday that they want a member of the council elected as chairman rather than have the county economic director act as chairman.

Larry Paine, Hillsboro city administrator, who represented the committee, said fellow members would rather have the economic director, currently Teresa Huffman, act as an administrator and adviser for the group.

Paine said Huffman, in that capacity, would be in a situation analogous to his own as adviser to an elected council.

Paine said he doesn?t see Huffman?s role as diminishing.

?She would still put our agenda together and be our coordinator, but not run the meeting,? he said.

He gave the commissioners revised bylaws.

Commissioner Dan Holub said that too often in the past, communities in Marion County have acted in self-interest, sometimes in ways detrimental to the interest of other communities, causing everybody to lose.

He said he wouldn?t want Huffman?s appointment to act independently in the interest of all diminished in any way.

Paine said his attitude, and the general attitude he has found at the city of Hillsboro, is that ?every town in this county is important, and we have to listen to everybody.

?If I don?t help build the littler towns around my community, I lose, too.

?We could go our own way and operate by ourselves, but we chose not to. We could have physically picked up all of our marbles and gone home perturbed, but we chose not to.

?We are available if another community doesn?t have the resources, and we do. We will help them,? he said.

Paine said he wants to see the council used to develop effective leadership in Marion County.

Holub said he still wants to look at finances and the possibility of returning to an earlier era when the MCEDC acted without county funding.

Other business

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke and Holub voted to drop paragraph 16 of the county?s contract with Trans?Canada Keystone Pipeline that requires flood-plain monitoring during pipeline construction beyond state requirements at Keystone?s request.

Dallke said the commission is satisfied with state monitoring that requires such things from Keystone as boring under streams to set pipe.

The two were voting in the absence of Commissioner Bob Hein, who is recovering from a stroke.

Health Administrator Diedre Serene still is working on plans for renovating the county?s health department building in downtown Marion.

But Holub said that with all the office and space needs of the county, he hesitates to spend large amounts of money on the old building when a new building might better serve all purposes.

As a consequence, the commissioners are asking Dan Hall of BG Consultants in Manhattan for input on which way to build.

Dallke said if anything is done with the health building, a primary concern is that it gets rid of the mold odor there.

The commissioners awarded a bid of $1,080 for two 30-acre mowings of the old county landfill from Roger?s Trenching of Peabody over a competitive bid of $4,394 from The Rock Shop.

Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet said he will seek a $2 million loan from the Kansas Department of Transportation revolving fund for construction of the Tampa Road from Kansas Highway 15, although the county wouldn?t be required to use the total amount for the project.

The commissioners approved a letter of notice from Environ?mental Health Director Tonya Richards advising a landowner at 1333 Kanza that an illegal trash dump must be removed, including cleanup of a waterway.

Richards was advised by commissioners to turn most responsibility for dealing with rabid animals over to the county health department, which sends animal remains to Kansas State University for tests for the disease.

Richards said that neither department has equipment for dealing with animal capture. She said animals dealt with over the past year included squirrels, cats, skunks and a bobcat.

Holub suggested the county might want to check with a veterinarian to perform animal capture, although the timeliness possible for a veterinarian to arrive at the scene was questioned.

Sheriff Robert Craft said the only time his office gets involved with potentially rabid animals is when an animal bite is involved. Officers have no way to deal with capturing an animal alive, but can only ?put it down,? he said.

Craft told commissioners he is working on a grant that might help the county hire a detective for his force.

Appraiser Cindy Magill again discussed the complexities of the community revitalization tax rebate plans with all of the resulting paperwork and its dependency on valuation of a property increasing.

Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt reported 596.22 tons of county solid waste disposed of in March in 29 hauls at an average disposal cost per ton of $36.28 including fuel, driver and tipping fees.

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