Rains turning gravel roads into mud, director says

After months of dry weather, the recent 2- and 3-inch rains soaking in slowly have turned some of even the best gravel roads in Marion County to muddy quagmires.

?I feel for the people on some roads,? Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford told the Marion County Commission Monday.

?Everything is going to pot in a hurry.?

Crawford said if it was possible in a county with too few people and lots of miles of roads, he would asphalt every road.

Commissioner Dan Holub said the problem becomes apparent when you realize if all of the roads in Marion County were laid end to end, they would reach to San Diego and back again.

Crawford said the best the county can do, as long as the winter weather and moisture lasts, is to patch roads. He wants to put down as much AB3 rock as possible when warm weather later allows it.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said, ?Roads are our biggest issue. Some are going to pot in this weather. Our people have to get out and patch them.

?But this didn?t happen overnight, and we can?t fix them overnight. It will take years.?

On a more quickly moving project, County Clerk Carol Maggard said the Marion City Council has ?signed off on? a conditional-use permit approving zoning for the new jail on Fourth Street.

Maggard said she also is assured by the bond agent that everything is in line for raising bond funds later this month on the jail that, among other things, will reimburse the county for $200,000 in other funds it has spent on the project.

The commissioners approved documents that will allow the state of Kansas to transfer general obligation bond receipts to the county.

Sheriff Rob Craft said that with the jail enclosed, he is working with contractors on interior selections.

Craft said he is rejecting the installation of a free-standing refrigerator and freezer unit that would cost double the money in favor of two free-standing units of each.

Contractors will be walking through the jail with him to select jail-door locations and locks to minimize the number of keys while still keeping them sufficiently different for security, Craft said.

Marion County Appraiser Cindy Magill said tax notices will be sent out to Marion County residents and business-owners March 1.

Magill said taxes for agricultural land will be going up based on commodity prices from 2003 to 2010.

Taxes on residences will be decreasing, reflecting lower sales prices over three years, she said.

On commercial buildings, Magill said, owners will find metal buildings retaining value more than brick or stone buildings.

Under new state rules, Magill said, boat owners will find their crafts taxed according to where they live instead of according to where the boats are located. She said this will be true even if the owner is a Kansas resident with the boat docked out of state.

Before the commissioners could welcome the change as beneficial to Marion County, Magill pointed out that a Wichita resident with a boat at Marion County Lake would pay tax for it in Wichita rather than here.

Magill said her department will hold hearings with tax payers who feel their appraisals are not right in April and May.

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