Richards resigns as county?s planning and zoning director

Tonya Richards, county director of planning, zoning and environmental health, resigned her post Monday in a Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting after a 10-minute executive session for personnel.

The commissioners reluctantly accepted her resignation in a 3-0 vote, and joined in wishing her well.

Richards will cease work here March 11, and then move to Topeka to work for Westar Energy.

The commissioners were working in a $880,358.26 payday session with $415,486.42 of that amount for county payroll.

County Clerk Tina Spencer said the county received $53,252.29 in regular sales tax and $46,558.79 in special tax to pay jail construction bond the end of February from the state collected in December sales.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he recently has taken note that the City of Hillsboro has gained more than 300 people employed in its industrial park all from home-grown businesses.

Road and Bridge Director Jesse Hamm said installation of a second concrete road drainage box to help control flooding creek water at 280th and Bluestem could cost more than $13,000, although the county has an offer to help from Mike Beneke, a cattle feeder who needs to use the route.

The commissioners asked Hamm to first check with an engineer on the feasibility of building a concrete low-water crossing instead.

They all agreed that any solution would only speed the passage of water so the road spends less time water-covered, but it will not prevent it from flooding.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $10,929.50 for 5,500 gallons of diesel and 2,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline from Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro over a competitive bid of $11,299.50 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa.

They approved a road and bridge area fuel bid of $6,395 for 5,300 gallons of diesel from Cooperative Grain over a bid of $6,584.50 from Cardie Oil.

The commissioners approved purchase of two uniform shirts, one pair of slacks and a hat for each suitably active emergency medical technician in the county from Western Associates in Marion for $5,000.

They approved purchase of a computer for $2,600 for continued training for EMTs.

They met in executive session for personnel for 10 minutes with Interim Emergency Medical Service Director Ed Debesis.

The commissioners and Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman led a discussion with community leaders on discussion points brought up by community participants Feb. 18 in a county-wide meeting with 60 to 70 participants.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke enumerated 36 main points from the meeting, and at Monday?s meeting led discussion on the first 15 points with discussion promised of the remainder next week.

Huffman said she is open to all suggestions, although there is a wide difference in needs and strengths of each town in the county, for example between Hillsboro and Lost Springs.

Bank representatives said they are more regulated than ever in the types and limitations of loans they can make, and they have to work with clients who often are fixated on optimal situations with insufficient crediting of the down things that can happen for them.

The 15 points were:

1. Abandoned or derelict properties need to be torn down or refurbished.

2. We have an aging population. Some companies in the county struggle to find workers to fill positions.

3. Local banks need to back those who want to start businesses in the county. Lack of options for financing hurts business development.

4. We need reasons for young people to come to Marion County, and stay.

5. Cell phone and Internet service need to be improved.

6. We need to do more to focus on business development.

7. A recent class offered in Marion County through Wichita State University called Growing Rural Communities received positive comments.

8.Cooperative marketing county-wide from cities, county and business owners is needed.

9. More signage is needed.

10. Start-up incentives should be offered to businesses.

11. Our strengths should be marketed including our lakes, our communities, great schools, and quiet, rural lifestyle.

12. Monies budgeted by municipalities should be pooled to work toward a common goal of economic development for the entire county.

13. If we want to be successful, we will have to be willing to change.

14. There is too much division and competition among the communities. Unity is needed.

15. Social media should be used to attract talent.

Written By
More from Jerry Engler
Commissioners call for change with Tampa EMS
Marion County Commis?sioners, during their Feb. 27 payday meeting, notified Jesse Brun?ner,...
Read More