Commission hears from a concerned citizen

A concerned citizen named Dennis Smith spoke with the board and shared his concerns with the Marion County Board of Commissioners on Monday at their regular meeting. Smith’s biggest concern was regarding erosion out at the Marion County Lake especially on Lakeshore Drive. He brought pictures to show multiple areas particularly around several culverts. He stated that these areas only get worse with time and need to be taken care of as they pose safety issues.

“What happens if there is another big rain and these areas wash out and are impassible and there is a fire or someone has a heart attack?” asked Smith.

Chairman Dave Mueller pointed out that Lake Superintendent Issac Hett was aware of the issues and was working on a plan to address the areas.

Smith brought up his concern that there is a need for a Strategic Plan for Marion County. He explained that he has had over 30 years of experience working with strategic plans, including some time with a Fortune 500 company, as well as teaching about strategic plans

“I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it work for not-for-profit companies, for-profit companies, government programs and more. It works and it focuses you. I would be more than willing to come back sometime and help out with it if you would like,” said Smith. “One thing a strategic plan does is it gets everyone thinking in the same direction and using the same language.”

Smith offered multiple reasons for the county to have and follow a strategic plan and stressed the importance of using one to be more effective as a board. The board spoke with Smith about having him back to do more work on a plan.

The board agreed to sign an application by the City of Hillsboro for a solid waste grant to buy a screen in order to screen out trash within the finished compost. Hillsboro’s Street Superintendent explained in an email to the board that the compost is used by residents in amending the soil in their flower beds and gardens.

“The trash is in the compost because it gets mixed in while the resident is cleaning up their yards and raking any waste together such as sticks, rocks, toys and lost tools then dropping it off at the compost site that the city manages. We hired this operation done last summer and it worked very well so we have decided to apply for the grant to purchase our own screen to operate ourselves. We may also use the screen to screen our crushed concrete to get different gradations for different uses of the aggregate,” said Dalke. “The county has no financial obligation in the matter.”

The board approved giving the Kansas Department of Health and Environment right of way access for assessment of contamination attributed to historical operations at the Canada Carbon Tetrachloride site. The investigation is being conducted and funded by KDHE’s Orphan sites Program to characterize the extent of volatile organic compounds and nitrate contamination in groundwater by way of annual groundwater sampling of lawn and garden wells and monitoring wells.

Emergency Management Director Randy Frank presented department business to the board. He presented the Marion County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) Bylaws explaining that the document had gone through some editing changes to clarify several items. He said that having the updated bylaws will allow for those who may be involved in emergency planning to have a clear picture of all of the facilities —especially those that manufacture or store extremely hazardous substances—that may be involved in the emergency response and preparedness plan. The board approved the changes.

Planning and Zoning Director Sharon Omstead presented a request for a Conditional Use Permit for Colby J. Hett to operate a small firearms/sporting goods and ammunition store on his property in the Northwest corner of 1790 Upland Road, north of the Marion County Lake.

“Mr. Hett recognizes the need for a local business that will support the outdoor lifestyle. He intends to use an area inside of his attached garage to sell new and used firearms, sporting goods and ammunition as well as perform custom gunsmithing, rifle building and reloading ammunition for resale. The applicant intends to be open by appointment only,” said Omstead.

The property is approximately five acres and is surrounded by Upland Road and agricultural land on the west, Gilham Road and residential yards on the south and east and a storage facility and agricultural land to the north. The Marion Municipal Airport is northwest of the property. The nearest home is approximately 450 feet to the southeast. Gun safes are in place for secure storage of firearms and there are other security measures existing on the property.

The board approved the request.

In other business, the board:

n Spencer informed the board that there will be a Town Hall meeting with United States Congressman Tracey Mann at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13 at the Marion County Lake Hall at 1 Office Drive in Marion.

n approved pinwheels on the courthouse lawn for April 21 in recognition of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month in order to bring awareness. The event is being done by Heart to Heart Advocacy Center.

n approved the purchase of three new recliners at $489.95 each for the new County EMS building in Hillsboro until the ones ordered for the building arrive. Once those arrive, the three recliners will be moved to the Marion EMS building.

n heard from SCKEDD Executive Director Marc Howell and Weatherization Program Manager Bill Kampe about the work that they are doing in Marion County regarding providing safe and efficient housing since housing is a huge need.

n met in executive session to discuss contract negotiation pursuant to attorney/client privilege with the board, County Clerk Tina Spencer, Planning and Zoning Director Sharon Omstead and County Attorney Brad Jantz. No action was taken.

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