Commissioners concede road decision violated policy

You learn by your mistakes.

The Marion County Commission Monday retained a decision to gravel Quail Creek Road between 250th and 260th to facilitate travel for a Centre student during bad weather although Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said it is now realized the commissioners violated policy.

For one thing the school district isn’t responsible for insuring school travel for students who live within 21⁄2 miles of school, he said.

And, perhaps more importantly, Dallke noted, is that the county with five school districts to serve can’t afford to gravel roads because of changes in students served.

Commissioner Dan Holub also had to admit a mistake during the reading of last week’s minutes when Tom Britain, commission candidate, protested that the minutes hadn’t reported that Holub told him to “shut up.”

Holub said he had meant to tell Britain that the commissioners had to move on, but he was irritated, and it was the only words he could think of at the moment.

At Holub’s request, County Clerk Tina Spencer changed the minutes to include the “shut up” incident, and the commissioners approved them 2-0.

Commissioner Lori Lalouette was not present.

The commissioners also voted to change approval for two fire department rams to $12,400 each instead of that amount for the two of them.

In discussion with Transfer Station and Noxious Weed Director Bud Druse, the commissioners decided that the owner of 80 acres in the northwest part of the county has until October 3 to spray and kill an increasing musk thistle infestation, or the county will send in a contractor to do the job.

Druse said the transfer station’s new skid loader did what it was designed for when a piece of flying debris ripped the metal of its door.

The commissioners agreed with his decision to replace the door at a cost of $1,570.

They also approved the purchase of a new air conditioner for the noxious weed building in Marion to replace one purchased when the original building was constructed years ago.

Register of Deeds Jo Ottensmeier said she was telling the commissioners as a courtesy because legally she can do it by herself, that she needs to hire a part-time worker to join a current part-time worker that can help high demand time in February.

The department’s only other full-time employee is running for register-of-deeds, she said, because she is retiring.

The commissioners authorized renting a small one-bedroom house in Hillsboro for $50 a month to serve as space for a full-time ambulance attendant during the daytime.

Health Director Diedre Serene said she plans to spend at least a portion of $5,000 in federal funds for children’s programs on providing water safety life vests for Marion County Lake.

The commissioners met in executive sessions for personnel for five minutes with Spencer, for five minutes with Emergency Management Director Ed Debesis, and for 10 minutes with Serene.