Commissioners attend ribbon cutting before getting down to business

Commissioner David Mueller, Commissioner Kent Becker, Commissioner David Crofoot, Park and Lake Superintendent Isaac Hett, county employee Gerald Bender, county employee Adam Bensen and Commissioner Jonah Gehring were present for the heated dock ribbon cutting held at the Marion County Park and Lake. The old dock was severely damaged in wind storms last year and has now been rebuilt. The Marion County Board of Commissioners attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the start of the weekly Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met at the county lake on Monday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly rebuilt heated fishing dock before resuming their weekly meeting at the courthouse. Commissioner Randy Dallke was not able to make the ribbon-cutting ceremony, but he did attend the rest of the meeting.

The original dock had been damaged by a wind storm. After some initial delays, the dock was completed and reopened in December and has already been put to good use by those fishing at the lake.

The board discussed budget allocation requests for 2022.

The largest amount requested was $94,403.00 for Prairie View, Inc. Dallke brought up the concern that in the past several weeks police and sheriff departments have had to do quite a bit of extra work with mental health issues especially during the night. For one situation in particular, officers had to assist with a patient who was hospitalized and held for days at Hillsboro Community Hospital while waiting for a bed to open up in a mental health facility. Dallke expressed concern that officers are doing this work without assistance from Prairie View and asked that before the board approves any funds, Prairie View give the board more information about how they can better assist law enforcement in the future. The rest of the board agreed.

The board also approved $4,000 to Kansas Legal Services, $6,000 to Families and Communities Together, Inc (FACT), $6,000 to Marion County Food Bank, $65,000 to Harvey-Marion County CDDO and $16,700 to the Marion County Fair Association. They had previously approved $39,500 to the Marion County Conservation District.

Rural Water District (RWD) #1 employee Autumn Chisolm spoke with the board and made a request for some funding through the American Rescue Plan funds that the county has received. Chisolm explained that in addition to needing to hire someone to help with maintenance, many repairs are needed as most of the lines are around 50 years old.

Chisolm explained there was a one-year plan and a five-year plan that she would like funding for if possible. The one-year plan involves putting in more valves, replacing individual meters when 2,000,000 gallons are reached, getting inline meters to help manage flow vs. usage, hiring a part-time employee to help with the improvements and maintenance and improving treatment to improve water quality due to costs rising. The five-year plan would be to possibly replace well #4 which will cost $200,000; assist with treatment plant changes of around $150,000 and work on improving lines (the cost now is about $25,000 per mile).

The commissioners will revisit the topic in the future. If the board decides to allocate some level funding to RWDs in the county, an application will be developed for those districts to submit specific requests.

In other business, the board:

n heard department updates from County Treasurer Susan Berg, Weed/HHW/Transfer Station Director Josh Housman and County Appraiser Nicole Reid.

n met in executive session with Berg regarding personnel. No action was taken.

n heard from Marion County Health Department Director Krista Schneider regarding a grant she would like to apply for and approved the application.

n met in executive session with Schneider for personnel matters. No action was taken.

n heard from Patrick Oehm of Murphy Tractor who wanted to know why his company wasn’t chosen to go in on a bid on a motor grader.

Road and Bridge Engineer Brice Goebel said, “My recommendation to go with Caterpillar was really just preference. It was nothing personal or whatever else. We just wanted to go with Cat.”

n learned from Goebel that it was incorrectly stated in the Marion Record that a stop sign had fallen down and Road and Bridge was called and told but did nothing and said they would get to it next week.

“That is wrong. No one called and told anyone in the department that the sign had been knocked down or hit with a snow plow or anything else. We do not even handle stop signs because that is KDOT’s responsibility,” said Goebel.

Chairman David Mueller thanked Goebel for explaining that and said he had no idea that KDOT handled the stop signs.

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