New county agent meets commissioners

During their payday meeting Friday, Marion County commissioners were formally introduced to the new family and consumer science agent assigned to the county by K-State Research and Extension.

Renae Riedy has been working in the Marion County office since October. Rickey Roberts said this is Riedy?s first assignment with the extention service. Pre?viously, she worked in the Dickinson County Health Department and with USD 487-Herington.

Introducing Riedy to the board was Roberts, the county?s agriculture agent through K-State.

Roberts began his presentation by apologizing for doing a ?terrible job? of keeping commissioners updated about the activities carried out by the local extension office.

Roberts said a county extension office operates differently than other county departments in that agents are hired and supervised by K-State.

Roberts laid out the history of the university?s extension program. He said Kansas State Agricul?tural College, forerunner of KSU, was founded by the government in 1863 as the country?s first land grant institution. It was charged primarily to do research that would help ensure a ?safe, secure, abundant food supply? on the theory that food insecurity was a key cause of civil unrest.

The role of the extension department was to ?extend? the university?s research findings to outlying areas. The first office was established in Kansas in 1922; the office in Marion County was launched two years later.

Through the years, the primary mission of the extension department has remained the same.

?What we?re bringing to the public is unbiased research information,? Roberts said. ?People like coming to us because we have nothing to sell.?

At the end of his presentation, Roberts said he would add the commissioners to the department?s newsletter and would make more frequent visits at commission meetings.

Tax auction

County Attorney Susan Robson updated commissioners about plans for a public tax-delinquency auction involving between 120 and 130 properties around the county.

Robson said no specific date has been set for the auction because her office is still serving notice to the owners of the properties involved. She estimated the auction would take place sometime in May.

Robson said property owners can avoid losing their land parcels by paying all delinquent taxes on the parcels even as late as the day of the auction.

Other business

In other business, the commissioners:

? voted 3-0 to have commissioners and department heads participate as ?volunteers? distributing food in the ?Kids Eat Free? program being developed by Marion city leaders?if the cost to the county to purchase required fruit is less than $200 for the week they serve.

The summer noon-meal program is free to participants, based on household income. Volunteers must provide the 150 pieces of fruit required per day.

?I think it?d be a good experience for our people,? Holub said about participating.

? approved a payday total of just over $1.115 million, which included a payroll expenditure of $424,886. County Clerk Tina Spencer said the January payday amount, traditionally the largest of the year, includes insurance payments and quarterly allotments.

? voted 3-0 to approve the contract presented by the Kansas Department of Transportation for the road project along Nighthawk. The vote is dependent on a positive review of the contract by the county attorney.

? met for a five-minute executive session for non-elected personnel during the meeting, then ended the meeting with a 15-minute executive session for the same reason. The commissioners took no action after either session.

? accepted a bid of $2,600 from Dieker Trailer Sales and Service, Emporia, to purchase a single-axle covered trailer that is 12 feet long and 6 feet high.

Teresa Huffman, the county?s economic development director, submitted the bid because she needs a new trailer to haul materials to and from trade shows.

Commissioners said the trailer also will be used by other county departments as needed.

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