Commission learns that the Delta Variant has reached Marion Co.

The Marion County board of Commissioners met for their regular weekly meeting on Monday afternoon after meeting all morning for a work session on County Administrator/Management discussion.

County Clerk Tina Spencer gave the board an update letting them know that the Delta Variant virus has now reached Marion County.

According to the report by Marion County Health Department Administrator, as of 7:30 a.m, Marion County currently has 15 active cases of COVID-19 with zero hospitalizations and 24 vital statistic confirmed deaths.

Serene said, “Marion County does have one reported Delta Variant. Please keep in mind that the whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is not reported at the same time as the positive is reported. There is a lag. The WGS requires a process in itself and can take up to 5-7 days before being reported out. Also keep in mind that not all positive samples are tested (for Delta Variant).”

Serene also provided the following information from KDHE regarding WGS prioritization:

All samples sent for PCR testing will automatically be put on for WGS testing if there is enough virus in the specimen to get a whole genome. All WGS sample are prioritized using the following criteria:

  1. Vaccine breakthrough
  2. Patient is hospitalized
  3. Patient is deceased
  4. Sample comes from a county with a low testing/sequencing numbers
  5. Sample comes from a county with low vaccination rate
  6. Everything else that doesn’t meet above criteria

TCW Broadband Grant for Peabody

Angie Fchwerdtfeger of TCW spoke to the board about a Broadband Grant available to bring GIG Speed – Fiber to the home internet to Peabody. TCW is just about to complete this project in Hillsboro and is now partnering with the State of Kansas to get a grant to do the same in Peabody.

Fchwerdtfeger explained that they need support from the community and need the community to fill out surveys and provide information in order to provide documentation about how important internet connectivity is for the future of Peabody. She asked for the support of the board which they gave.

Road and Bridge

Brice Goebel, County Engineer, updated the board on a few projects.

Goebel said much of the concrete project is completed in Lincolnville and he would like the contractor to be paid for the work he has done. Goebel said K-State is doing a flyover of Lincolnville on Friday to look at the project and ensure it is done correctly.

The board approved payment of the original bid as well as what else was completed.

Goebel asked about a decision on whether or not to close 190th from Chisholm Trail to K-15. He had previously suggested the closure due to the cost of the bridge replacement as well as the amount of work to constantly maintain the roadway west of the bridge. Today Goebel added that it would take a minimum of two years and a substantial amount of money to replace the road and bridge unless the county qualified for a cost share where the state would pay for part of the project.

Several of the commissioners reported being out to speak with residents who would be impacted by a closure.

“If this bridge is closed, they are going to have to take their tractors and equipment around on the highway and then on roads that are possibly worse than this one,” said Commissioner Randy Dallke. “There are a lot of factors in here that we have to consider.”

Commissioner Dave Crofoot added that some of the drivers would be teens and parents do not want their teens driving on highways with equipment.

After much discussion of various options and ways to work around closing portions of the road or closing the road to all but those who live on it, the board decided against a road closure.

In other business, the board:

n approved a one year extension on the lease of the building that Planning and Zoning is located in.

n met in Executive Session with Brice Goebel for Personnel Performance. No action was taken.

n heard from Transfer Station Director Josh Housman regarding the five year solid waste plan. The board approved the plan.

n approved plan to purchase and install cameras at transfer station to monitor trash and items being left.

n met with Scot Loyd and John Albright from Certified Public Accountants Swindoll Janzen Hawk and Loyd, LLC regarding the county budget. Any changes will be made by Friday so that the budget can be published next week.

n met with Attorney Brad Jantz regarding contract negotiations. No action was taken.

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