Rising trash rates may prompt county recycling

Rapidly rising trash disposal rates, driven by fuel prices, readily brought agreement by the Marion County Commission Monday with Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt that it?s time to look at serious recycling and shorter transport distances.

Schmidt said the Hamm landfill east of Topeka at Perry will want a $6,000 fuel surcharge from the county after the first of the year plus annual 3 percent municipal solid waste disposal rate increase from $19.14 to $19.72 a ton. And, the county hasn?t heard yet from its hauler regarding a fuel increase charge.

Schmidt said it?s time the county looks at alternatives to the distance solid waste is hauled and at recycling as a cost effective way to reduce tonnage.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke suggested checking rates at Salina.

Commissioner Dan Holub was making ?guesstimates? at how much recycling could reduce garbage hauled.

?It doesn?t make sense to take anything to a landfill that we could get money for,? he said.

Commissioner Bob Hein said, ?Well, we?ll have to do something soon. That?s for sure.?

Schmidt said that both McPherson and Stuitzman?s are preparing offers to Marion County for taking the county?s recyclables such as paper, metals and plastics.

He said that although it has worked well to contract with an outside trucking company to haul solid waste, he will also have to study potential savings of a county driver and truck hauling both solid waste and recyclables.

Schmidt said it is difficult for anyone to come up with accurate maintenance figures for a truck.

The commissioners approved 3-0 Schmidt taking a post as secretary of the state association of county weed directors, an addition to his job as noxious weed director.

Elderly Director Jayne Gottschalk and Don Fruechting asked commissioners their opinions on funds held by the various county senior centers that may originally have come from tax money.

Gottschalk said senior center funds, some of which may have accumulated since 1978, are usually assumed by senior center members to be something they have the option to dispose of any way they see fit in their communities. But questions about whether some should be returned to the county came about as a result of recent dispositions at Lehigh, she said.

Holub said there should be no problem if liquid funds the county budgeted for each community senior center in the past are kept for good causes in the community.

Dallke said he didn?t know enough about each center when it came to the legalities of original dealings to buy real estate.

Hein added, ?You check to see what the county put into purchasing each center.?

Daniel King appeared with his attorney, Jay Sizemore, before the Commission to ask that a conditional-use permit on his salvage yard near Peabody be reinstated on a probationary basis to prevent the state from shutting down his business.

King explained that without the permit, the state would bring in contractors to clear the yard of everything, and charge him the cost, driving him into bankruptcy.

King acknowledged that the commissioners had discontinued his condtional-use permit in October when he failed to show Planning and Zoning Director Bobbi Schmidt sufficient required changes in a former six-month probationary period.

Sizemore said King had been inhibited in making progress because he has physical limitations, other personal and budgetary problems and that his property received 26 inches of rain in three months of the probation.

King said repeated flood conditions and regrading of Kanza Road had moved the road?s position, so the survey showed his line actually in the ditch making required screening fence location difficult.

He said he had taken trees out on one side of his property, had a land survey done, and purchased $2,500 in fencing material in the attempt to comply with conditional use permit requirements.

Without the permit, he said, the state would close him down.

Sizemore said they had come to the meeting to seek agreement rather than filing a lawsuit against the county.

Hein said commissioners had felt the original six months granted ?was time enough.?

Holub said he was reiterating the position of King?s neighbors who had called him that King?s salvage yard was a nuisance with few actions on King?s part to remedy the situation. He said that even granted the three months of rain, King had failed to do anything in the months he could.

Strait said that if King had bothered to even drive a few fence posts, she might have been persuaded to give him an extension. She said his business couldn?t be grandfathered because it existed before zoning because King had never had required state licensing before.

County Attorney Susan Robson suggested that rather than give King six months again, the commissioners give him 30 days at a time with required progress reports made at Commission meetings.

The commissioners approved 2 to 1?Holub voting against?the monthly extension, with first report due Jan . 7.

Park and Lake Superinten-dent Steve Hudson reported a ?slow day? at Marion County Lake Thanksgiving Day followed by a fast day ?when the wives went shopping and the husbands went fishing.?

The commissioners and Hudson discussed using the lake board and perhaps public meetings to develop ideas on what the public wants at the lake.

The commissioners told Holub they want owners of trailer homes at the lake to have liability insurance on the trailers, or to remove them if insurance companies find them uninsurable.

They granted a bid of $623.50 to purchase a Stihl brush cutter from G&R Equipment at Durham for the County Lake over a bid of $645.00 from Deere Trail Implement at Marion.

Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville said Laverne Stika is interested in purchasing a half acre at the Pilsen shop from the county. The commissioners said they would look at the shop area, but the County may want everything there in case of a need for a materials dump.

Summerville suggested vacating the road west from Sunflower on 70th where the old roadway and a bridge are fenced from public use on pasture owned by Clay White. The commissioners must first view the road.

The commissioners decided to send a balance of $55,600 to the CDDO administering corporation for dispersal of funds to Northview Developmental.

Holub nominated David Mueller for another three-year term on the Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission, and the commissioners approved 3-0.

County Clerk Carol Maggard reported that Jack Chappelle, consulting engineer on the closure of the old landfill, will recommend twice a year monitoring of wells at the area to the state since quarterly monitoring is showing no contamination.

With notice from the accounting firm Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd that audit costs will increase from $28,382 in 2007 to $40,600 in 2008, the commissioners decided to consider using the firm only as an adviser and using another company for audit.

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