State wants to deliver food directly to county

Food commodities from the state for senior citizens in Marion County may need to be unloaded by forklift from a 40-foot semi-truck at the road and bridge shops south of Marion until a new storage building is built southeast of the county courthouse.

At their Dec. 23 meeting, Marion County commissioners told Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator of the county?s Department on Aging, to discuss such a move with Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford.

Ratzlaff said the 250 to 500 cases of food commodities has been delivered in Council Grove for years with volunteer drivers from each of Marion County?s communities driving there to pick them up.

But now, she said, the state wants to bring them directly to Marion.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said he would like to wait until the new county building is up.

But Commissioner Roger Fleming said the county needs some place immediately to keep the commodities coming for citizens, and all three commissioners began considering a more immediate solution.

In regard to the new storage building, Dallke would like to use about $100,000 from sales tax and $125,000 from an annual Union Pacific payment to the county to build an 80-foot by 90-foot structure.

The building should go up for bids in the first two months of 2014, agreed Fleming and Commissioner Dan Holub.

The commissioners decided the construction plaque salvaged from the old jail before demolition should be offered first to former county commissioners listed on it. If not accepted, it would then be offered to the historical museum in Marion.

The commissioners decided that $6,774.75 presented to the county by the road and bridge department from scrap metal sales, including demolition from the old jail, should be donated to county food banks.

This would mean: $1,935.65 to Hillsboro Main Street Ministries; $1,935.65 to Marion Food Bank; and $967.82 each to Peabody Food Bank, Florence Food Bank and Tabor Food Pantry in Goessel.

Commissioners said they will need specifications for a new road Garry Dunnegan is planning before approving a subdivision Dunnegan would like to build at Marion County Lake.

Ray Cook, the new county appraiser, said he has been familiarizing himself with the county in part by travelling some of it, and reviewing recent work with Brian Frese, deputy appraiser.

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman asked the commissioners to reconsider a budget cut of $8,000 from her tourism marketing budget. She also asked that she be allowed to publish a Marion County quarterly magazine with advertising money from it used to help fund marketing.

Dallke said the magazine would have to pay for itself, with no tax dollars used in its support.

The commissioners approved purchase of a laptop computer by County Attorney Susan Robson by her choice for either $1,317.51 or $1,205 from CDW-G over competitive bids for $1,438.30 from GHA Technologies, or $1,327 from VPC Computers.

Commissioners approved the purchase of a 2007 New Holland tractor with 1,700 hours for $50,000 over the purchase of a new tractor for $72,500 plus modifications for the county?s front end loader to fit. The tractor will be used at Marion County Park and Lake.

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