Seven named to economic group

Seven members were named Monday by the Marion County Board of Commissioners to serve as voting participants of a new economic development committee that will attempt to define and attract new businesses to the county.

The commissioners and Chris Hernandez, who chaired an opening exploratory meeting, joined in saying they don’t want to discourage the many enthused participants who came to the first meeting from continuing to participate.

They said they just needed to narrow the list to voting members so the committee is enabled to move forward.

The new committee members selected were Hernan­dez, Craig Dodd, Roger Holter, Russell Groves, Tammy Ensey, Jim Hefley and Jared Jost.

Hernandez said the members vary in where they come from in Marion County, and the committee is selected to serve all parts of the county regardless of where participants live.

Commissioner Lori Lalouette said the committee’s odd-numbered membership was created to avoid tie votes.

Commission Chair Randy Dallke said he wants the committee to move forward independently of what the commissioners think or do, “and it’s going to be tough.”

He and the other commissioners have said they regard this as a critical time for Marion County to move forward so it doesn’t fall into permanent decline.

Commissioner Dan Holub said the committee needs to determine what it is going to do, and to follow through with a plan without the commissioners leading the way.

Hernandez said the big­gest thing people who participating in the first meeting wanted to know is that something is actually going to happen.

Dallke joined Holub in awarding a bid to begin restoring courthouse windows to historical specifications with storm windows added, even though he said he remains against it because Lalouette hadn’t come to meeting yet, and he knew she was for it.

The bid was awarded to Re-View Windows Inc. with local contractor Earl Winter in charge of the project over higher bids from Pishny Restoration and The Wilon Group Inc.

The bids were made in several categories with the total winning amount estimated at more than $785,000.

Although the contract period is for completion in 158 days, Winter said the actual time can vary with the weather, especially if it runs into cold weather before completion because windows will be open for part of construction.

Eighth Judicial Court Judge Michael Powers told the commissioners that the biggest increase they would probably find in their share with other counties in the district would probably be the $99,500 required for legal dense in categories such as juvenile defense.

Criminal cases, he said, are paid by the state.

The commissioners agreed they will accept grant monies administered through the Kansas Depart­ment of Health and Environ­ment even though Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene said the amounts aren’t yet known.

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman told commissioners she has been elected president of the South-Central Kansas Economic Development Council.

Transfer Station Direc­tor Bud Druse reported the transfer station passed a KDHE inspection with no changes, but a Kansas Depart­ment of Agriculture inspector required him to install a 6-inch scale readout display that can be seen the length of the 160-foot building for $1,750. The commissioners approved the purchase 3-0.

They also approved Druse taking the transfer station’s 2010 semi-truck used for trash hauling to Road and Bridge Shop Foreman Tom Holub to see if it can be repaired locally.