Town hall meeting draws 20 in Marion

The jail, condition of roads, tax exemptions and recent legislation were some of the questions posed to Marion County Commissioner Dan Holub during a town hall meeting Wed?nesday,?March 10, in the basement of the Marion City Hall building.

About 20 people either commented on a county department or inquired on specific events.

In conducting the meeting, Holub went down a list of departments and if someone had something to say, he would stop and answer individual concerns.

One gentleman asked what ever happened with a two-year-old case in the county attorney?s office involving the theft of a backhoe, stolen truck and laser equipment.

?It?s a fair question,? Holub said, ?I will need to look into it.?

In addition to answering questions, Holub also asked a few of his own.

?Does anyone have questions about lines at the county treasurer?s office??

As a way to save money, the commissioners did not fill a position in that department and have been doubling up in other departments, he said.

Regarding the county jail, Holub said the commissioners are waiting to hear from the attorney general?s office for an opinion on a funding method.

?Our first (funding) proposal was shot down,? he said, ?because we exempted businesses.?

The Kansas Attorney General?s office ruled it was illegal to exempt somebody when it comes to taxes.

In order to avoid property or sales taxes, Holub said, another option was to charge anyone who receives a tax bill $10.

?We have 8,122 taxpayers in Marion County,? he said, ?and with this option 35 percent more people are paying for a new jail.?

One individual said he thought voters already voted this jail issue down in the last election.

?Most people voted against sales tax, but the committee appointed to review the jail had no argument a jail is needed,? Holub said.

Another constituent asked why the old jail couldn?t be remodeled, similar to the jail in Strong City.

Holub said the old Strong City jail is a museum piece.

?The whole county will be a museum if you keep raising taxes,? another person said.

?What happens if the attorney general OKs this tax method??

Holub said the issue would then go to a vote in November.

?Nothing will be done without a vote,? he said.

Transferring prisoners out-of-county was another question.

Holub said that Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft is still working on getting those numbers together.

Although the jail committee and commissioners have tried to be fair regarding a taxing vehicle, Holub said there is no fair tax.

?A fair tax is everyone?s perception.?

The price tag for a new jail is still hovering around $5 million, but he also noted that the complex would also house emergency medical services and 911 dispatch.

One county resident asked about the speed limit at the county lake.

?We have joggers, walkers, children playing and some people fly down those county roads,? a gentleman said.

Even though the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, the suggestion was to change it to 15 or 20 miles per hour.

?Roads just aren?t that wide.?

Regarding the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, one individual asked if the county has taken photos as proof of how the roads and bridges currently look.

Holub said that?s all been done, but the concern is the legal terminology of ?reasonable repairs? to roads that could possibly be damaged from the heavy pipes traveling across county roads.

?If they fix a pothole, which could be considered reasonable,? Holub said, ?it could be the entire base under that is shot.?

As for the tax exemption for the pipeline, Holub said the legislators are worried about their reputation, if they should renege on the statute.

?We are worried about the $9 million in tax revenue we will lose,? he said.

Holub will travel to the Tampa?Community Center for another town meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 15.

Holub urges citizens to call him or one of the other commissioners with problems or concerns at 620-382-2185.

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