Solid-waste director asks commissioners for recycling clarity

Differing perceptions among the Marion County commissioners on Monday about how to proceed with recycling prompted Rollin Schmidt, director of the county transfer station, to say he only wants to do what the commission and the public wants.

?What I don?t want,? Schmidt said, ?is to talk to just one commissioner, thinking this is what we?re going to do, then come back in to find out I?m in trouble with the other two.?

This prompted the commissioners to direct Schmidt to write down the structure of the program and what it will cost to help them figure out at the next meeting where the county stands.

The county already has contracted with Sunoco, a recycled-paper manufacturer with a mill at Hutchinson, to accept baled paper waste from a baler it provided, with the company also doing the hauling. When the market bears, the county would also get paid for the paper.

Hein said he has been visiting with high-volume wastepaper-generating companies like Vogt?s Hometown Market in Hillsboro to ensure minimum paper volumes for Sunoco.

Dallke said he would like to see the whole recycling program laid out ?A-B-C? to know all costs involved before talking to the cities about joining a county recycling effort.

Holub said that in working with Schmidt, he has been looking at recycling as on a trial basis to see how it would work to save money on disposing of waste. He said the trial period is necessary.

Holub said Sunoco will also help the county dispose of baled plastic.

Harvey County also has loaned Marion County a trailer that will go to towns an hour at a time on Saturdays to pick up recyclables, Holub said.

Holub said the county needs to move on recycling ?not just because it?s the right thing to do?I?ve already been accused of being green?but because, it will save us all money. That?s the deciding factor here.?

Neighborhood revitalization

After looking at regulations for neighborhood revitalization property-tax abatement, County Attorney Susan Robson, appearing with Appraiser Cindy Magill, told commissioners the public will have to take responsibility for the program to continue.

She said the program, designed to discount taxes to encourage new construction and remodeling jobs, should not require the county to keep forgiving taxpayers who fail to keep up with the program.

?The criteria for eligibility,? Robson said, ?puts the obligation on them to tell us what they are doing and to follow the rules. The benefit is to them and not to us. The county shouldn?t be obliged to keep following their paperwork.

?We are doing what we are supposed to do. The county hadn?t ought to have the expense of going out to a property extra times to see that it is done.

?We tell our kids to do their homework or these are the consequences. We need to do the same with our adults.?

The commissioners did give extensions to two more sets of persons who have filed for revitalization abatements but also failed to complete projects in allotted times.

Holub said the commission shouldn?t discourage taxpayers who take more time trying to save money by doing their own building or remodeling.

Magill assured the commissioners that she will check revitalization building sites annually to make sure any improvements are taxed instead of land being classified as vacant.

Dallke noted that the program is up for reconsideration in July 2010 after having run for five years.

Saving money

Holub said the county commissioners have been continually looking at how the county might save money with economic conditions continuing to deteriorate. He said the county may be ?compelled? to reduce its number of employees through attrition as people retire or leave.

Dallke said a part of the problem are continuing mandates from the state on what the county will have to do and how it does it. He cited Magill?s departmental workload increasing dramatically because of the state mandated computer Orien program as just one example.

Other business

After a presentation by Dan Hall of BG Consultants, Manhattan, the commissioners authorized his firm up to $8,000 for design work to locate and wire in the emergency generator for the courthouse and jail building. Of particular interest was a money-saving plan to locate electrical controls in a concrete vault by existing transformers.

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman outlined activities of economic committees for 2008 and described how the Marion County Economic Development Council budget of $12,135 will be used.

Emphasized activities will continue to include marketing, business expansion and recruitment, and promotions at outdoor shows.

She said Marion County in 2008 awarded prizes for a couple to stay in a county bed and breakfast, and eat at a county restaurant three times, at the travel show in the Kansas Colosseum, at the Great Escapes Expo at Fort Riley, and at the Kansas Sampler Festival in Concordia.

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith reported 110 ambulance runs for January, including nine from Peabody, 15 from Florence, two back-up, 35 from Marion, 45 from Hillsboro and four from Tampa. They included seven transfers, four cardiac, 38 medical emergency, 15 standby, five motor vehicle accidents, 10 falls, 25 no-transports and six ?disregard.?

There were seven first-response runs, including four from Goessel, one from Burns and two from Lincolnville.

The commissioners left the meeting for a work session at the Ramona Senior Center to discuss bridge work with the Dickinson County Commission.

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