The Marion County Commission heard more about the proposed joint extension district with McPherson County at its meeting Dec. 19.
But before signing the resolution allowing Ricky Roberts, Marion County extension agent, to move forward on the proposal, Commission Chair Randy Dallke wants all three commissioners present.
“We won’t sign today until we have Commissioner Lori Lalouette here,” he said.
Roberts said signing the resolution will only give agents permission to put the details together.
“There still would be another process before anything would actually happen,” he said about an operational agreement.
One reason Dallke said he is somewhat apprehensive about the joint program is because he hasn’t heard from taxpayers about it one way or the other.
“I guess what I am saying is that if we put this out, and going forward we get a bunch of opposition from taxpayers, I don’t want to sign until we hear from people,” Dallke said.
Roberts said: “Prior to signing the operation agreement, you can get out of it.
“First has to come the resolution, which is published in the paper twice. Then the details would follow as to exactly how things would work.”
Roberts also talked about public hearings, which is a way for county residents to have a chance to say what they think.
Both counties meet
Two weeks ago, Roberts said he and Holub met with McPherson County to discuss the proposed joint extension district with McPherson County.
Roberts said the meeting also included one commissioner from McPherson County, the McPherson County administrator, McPherson county extension agent and McPherson County extension board members.
“If the new district is formed,” Holub said, “it is likely that taxes in McPherson County would rise slightly, and could be expected to lower in Marion County.
Holub said each county would have four board members and all the commissioners would like a mill levy cap set.
“Questions regarding personnel would need to be answered,” Holub said, adding that he has concerns about the future and whether the services will be funded by Kansas State University or fall on the county taxpayers at some point.
Roberts said the state pays the county extension office for two agents and McPherson gets three.
“Forming the extension district will still have only five agent slots,” he said.
“The new district would not allow us to hire additional agents.”
In addition, Roberts said one of the agents will need to serve as a director.
“Exactly who that will be, I don’t know,” he said. “Some responsibilities will change a bit, but one of the five of us would serve in that role.”
County Clerk Tiny Spencer said that everything is a process, after two or three years if it isn’t working anymore, it can be dissolved.
“It’s like zoning,” Holub said. “Everybody has a chance to be heard.”
Currently, the Straub building is zoned for commercial use, Spencer said, adding that the county will need to apply for a conditional use permit in order to comply with the city’s zoning regulations.
Part of that process is for the county to submit a development plan, which outlines the county’s plans for the building.
Emma Tajchman, planning and zoning director, will provide the commissioners with what she may be including in the development plan as part of the county’s CUP application.
It is not the final document, she said, but does give a basic overall description of some of the uses the county is considering for the property.
In other business, the county:
• approved the following budget allocations for 2017 to the Kansas Legal Services at $4,500; Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center at $2,500; Families and Communities Together at $6,000 and the Marion County Food Bank at $6,000.
• heard from County Attorney Susan Robson, about the possibility of splitting the county counselor duties to a separate position. Currently these duties are handled by Robson.
If the positions are split, then the county attorney would continue to handle the court side of the position and another person would handle the municipal side to include reviewing and drafting agreements, answering questions for the commissioners and more.
• signed a purchase agreement for the Straub building, adding a statement that the purchase is pending receipt of a conditional-use permit from the city of Marion. A check for $25,000 was processed for earnest money.
• heard from Treanor Architects regarding the courthouse window project. Ian Pitts and Vance Kelley, representing Treanor, were questioned by the commissioners about the problem with the paint being the wrong color. They apologized saying the document addresses all the issues, but the protocol that was followed missed a step where the contractor was to provide a paint sample with the architect for approval prior to moving forward.
• heard from Treasurer Jeannine Bateman about a proposal to rearrange and revamp the driver license office. Bateman said the project would cost $24,993 and would include a new file cabinet system, new furniture and layout/installation.
The project will be paid from the Treasurer’s Motor Vehicle fund, Spencer said. • heard from Jesse Hamm, Road and Bridge superintendent,who said an individual applied for a building permit. Hamm said he had concerns that the area of roadway where the person would like to locate the driveway is in an area that would be subject to frequent washouts because it’s in flood plain.
Hamm was directed to have Tajchman put the building permit on hold until an agreement can be reached with the landowner, and the Road and Bridge and Planning and Zoning departments.
• reviewed a revised road maintenance agreement for the Carlson Quarry. After seeing no objections, the agreement will be forwarded to Bergkamp Construction for review before it is officially adopted.
• heard from Hamm about three engineering firms regarding the eight-mile stretch of 330th that has been having major problems. Spencer said the information was intended for commissioners to discuss at a future meeting.
• voted to continue the $100 allowance for cold weather gear in 2017 for employees who work outside during the winter.
• decided not to close the section of Limestone between 80th and U.S. Highway 50 until one more contact is made with a landowner who has a home in the area and is interested in having the road repaired at his own expense to keep his family from having to drive further.
• heard from Sheriff Rob Craft who reported two vehicles were sold on Purple Wave for $4,800. The commissioners also voted to carry over 24 hours of vacation leave for one of Craft’s employees who hasn’t had time to use it.