Stolen road signs prompt county to ask for solutions

The Marion County Com?mission, at its Tuesday, June 30, payday meeting, decided to ask for public opinion on what to do about theft and destruction of road signs when it also faces a state mandate to change to bigger signs by May 2012.

Road and Bridge Director John Summerville said road signs disappear for two reasons. The top one is theft, he said. The other is wind damage, and the state requirement of larger signs will cause less wind resistance, he said.

Summerville said signs on certain roads are ?getting very low? because of the poplarity of the name, the top one being Mustang.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said, ?You give the roads cute names, and they?re gonna steal the signs.?

Summerville said the problem is especially onerous for Marion County because it?s close to the top in the state in both geographic size and miles of roads while having one of the lower tax bases to pay for roads and signs.

The commissioners pondered everything from changing road names to shorter words?that would be less popular with shorter signs that would be more wind resistant?to simply alphabetizing the roads: A Road, B Road, C Road, etc.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said the biggest problem if names are changed would be asking patrons who live on named rather than numbered roads to go to all of the trouble of changing postal addresses.

Other business

Ruth Lange of the county clerk?s office reported sales tax received from the state the end of June for April sales was $47,837, up compared to $46,326.64 for April last year. The total collected for the year to date is $15,209.79 higher.

Lange said the county valuation estimate for the end of July was $102.42 million compared to the value last November when it was set for taxation at $101,902,823. It is projected to increase an estimated $517,279 when it comes time to set it again in November, she said.

The valuation included $74.8 million in real estate, $51,628 in severed minerals, nearly $4.2 million in personal property, $20.2 million in state assessed utilities, and nearly $3.2 million in oil and gas.

The commissioners approved writing off $4,061.83 on a business micro-loan program that comes through a revolving fund as businesses pay off debt.

Christie Henry, administrator for the fund, said the loss came as the result of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. It was started originally through a Kansas Department of Commerce grant.

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman said the micro-loan program has been a success anyway, continuing to fund itself adequately with payments from businesses that do make it.

She said she has another new business that will add significantly to the county. It will be partly funded by the program, but is not ready for public announcement.

The commissioners signed off on a $5,500 agreement for Marion County Special Educa?tion Cooperative screening of school children done by the county health department.

They also signed forms for $1,072.50 for rubber benches, and $1,072.50 for rubber tables under a grant for items made from used tires for Marion County Lake.

Rollin Schmidt, transfer station director, said the county has received its first check for recyclables from Sunoco at $82.95. But along with that, he estimated the savings for materials not shipped to landfills at $198.37. Expenses for recycling totaled $578.22, he said.

Opening response bringing recyclables in for collection to towns on routes has been good by the public, but expense has been held down artificially by Commissioner Holub volunteering to drive the routes.

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