Commission hears public comment regarding roads



The Marion County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, Dec. 27, and opened with public comments from Don Reimer. Reimer explained that he was present to discuss a violation letter he received from Planning/Zoning/Environmental Health Director Sharon Omstead regarding several homemade signs he placed in County right-of-way areas around 80th and Goldenrod. Reimer said the signs were placed by him to make drivers aware of potentially unsafe road conditions.

Reimer suggested strategically placing concrete traffic barriers to divert water across the concrete low-water crossing slab to help with flooding.

“I will do what you tell me, but something needs to be done with these areas,” said Reimer.

The board told him they would discuss signage later in the meeting when County Engineer Brice Goebel could be present, but that either way Reimer’s signs would need to come down. Reimer stated that he did not have a phone for the board to contact him to update him.

The board, Goebel and County Attorney Brad Jantz discussed the issue later in the meeting and decided to have Commissioner Randy Dallke and Goebel visit with Reimer to figure out the course of action for maintenance.

Health Department Director Krista Schneider reported that St. Luke Hospital and Living Center has asked for the county to vacate two rooms currently occupied by Emergency Management by spring 2023. The Health Department will also need to move out at some point, but no specific time frame has been requested by St. Luke.

Several potential building sites on current county property were discussed with no action. Schneider said that to utilize grant funds for a new (or renovated) building for the health department, an architect and/or engineer must be involved in the project. The board approved proceeding with sending a request for qualifications for architectural/engineering services) for the Marion County Health Department. Goebel was asked to assist Schneider with the development of the plans.

Emergency Management Director Marcy Hostetler presented an award letter from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) for grant funds in the amount of $28,500.00 for the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG). The board voted to approve and accept EMPG funds.

In other business, the board:

* heard from Hostetler that a computer is needed for the department. The board gave Hostetler the go-ahead to seek bids. Hostetler also presented a list of projects/activities completed from October to December. The board commended Hostetler for pre-staging warming stations in several communities ahead of the severe winter weather.

* Omstead presented quotes and requested approval of a Lenovo Think Pad Laptop and a Surface Pro Tablet plus Keyboard. The board approved the purchase. Omstead also noted the 2023 meeting dates and Planning Commission Board upcoming vacancies. Commissioners will need to be prepared with new appointees for January 2023.

* reviewed a draft floor plan of a county property located at 1240 Commercial Drive in Marion. The property includes space for Road and Bridge administrative offices, Planning and Zoning and Emergency Management. After review and discussion, the board decided to have the three department’s staff produce more detailed drawings to present back to the board for review and potential use for seeking bids for the project.

* met in executive session to discuss potential litigation. No action was taken.

* heard a year-end recap report from Goebel about 2022 expenses for different project categories. Projects for 2023 were discussed with no official action.

* discussed bridges in Peabody and Florence that were formerly maintained by KDOT. There is some question about who is responsible for the bridges now, and whether the County has any involvement. After discussion, Gehring noted a section of roadway in Goessel in a similar situation. The board directed Jantz and Goebel to schedule a meeting between KDOT and the board to discuss.

* discussed the development of a policy for cattle crossings. Jantz was directed to investigate the difference regarding rural vs. range designations for use in a potential future policy.

* met in executive session to discuss courthouse security for matters related to security measures. After the session, the board approved security work proposed by 4PC Security Technologies in the courthouse annex in the amount of $8,195.90. The board also voted to have staff work with 4PC to identify key elements/options for additional security measures at a cost not to exceed $12,000.00 and to be paid from risk management.

More from Laura Fowler Paulus
Tabor’s amazing season has come to an end
The Tabor College Bluejays lost in the first round of Nationals today...
Read More