Storms leave messy aftermath for some county departments

Storms and flooding were causing problems for the heads of several departments reporting to the Marion County commissioners Monday.

Steve Hudson, county lake park director, said high winds Saturday night brought down a tree limb on a new aluminum-frame stage purchased with memorial funds. The stage had been set up earlier in the day for next week?s bluegrass festival.

A heavier framed stage will be erected as soon as he knows how much money will be received from insurance, he said.

Hudson said he hopes the lake averts another type of disaster with microscopic testing for zebra mussels now ongoing.

Rollin Schmidt, transfer station and noxious weed director, said his crew has three pumps going at the transfer station to try remove water from the dump pit.

?The water is the highest we?ve ever seen it,? he said. ?We?re stacking waste on the floor, and asking haulers to delay coming in.?

Jim Herzet, road and bridge director, said his crew will be inspecting flood and mud damaged roads to make sure they are ready for wheat harvest.

Workers have begun documenting flood damage for future possible federal aid.

The commissioners asked Herzet to get government prices for half-ton four-wheel-drive pickup trucks after a road and bridge pickup was totalled when it was towed after its engine died.

The commissioners approved the engineering firm of Kirkham Michael of Ellsworth for bid letting and inspection of a bridge west of Ramona.

The commissioners discussed and passed an employee plan that was structured by the clerk?s office to reward job performance and longevity.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said the plan makes it possible for an employee who works hard to advance in pay scale more quickly, but it won?t even give a cost of living raise to an employee who doesn?t perform up to minimum expectations.

Schmidt was directed by the commissioners to seek an appointment for himself and Dallke with Stutzman?s Recycling to discuss possible arrangements for single-stream recycling.

Schmidt said initial recycling efforts for the county are probably on a break-even scale, given labor and fuel costs associated with simply hauling all waste to the landfill. But he added that methods to reduce labor and fuel while collecting the same amounts would result in savings.

He said the public is responding well with more persons recycling as they become aware of the service.

The commissioners authorized Schmidt to pay a one-time $30 membership fee to the Kansas Organization for Recyclers to gain more information.

Steve Smith, Emergency Medical Services director, reported 80 ambulance calls for May, including 11 from Peabody, seven from Florence, two back-up, 26 from Marion, 27 from Hillsboro and seven from Tampa.

He reported six first-responder runs?five from Goessel and one from Lincolnville.

Smith said three persons have passed EMT tests and will serve Marion, Florence and Hillsboro. Seven more volunteers will be tested soon.

The commissioners approved renewal of the county?s solid waste disposal assessment at $81 a household and $132 a business.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said the estimate of about $1 million for a new 80-foot-by-100-foot county building to house the health department and provide space for other departments and storage. The bid was reported by BG Consultants at Manhattan.

Roger Fleming, candidate for county commissioner from Hillsboro, attended the meeting.

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