County discusses transfer station

The Marion County Transfer station and recycling program were discussed during the commission meeting Monday with the approval of a change order to the original contract of $297,002 to the new contract price of $317,592 based on an adjustment of $24,060 when excavation was needed.

“The building is expected to go up sometime this week,” said Bud Druse, director of the transfer station.

In addition, he said there have been a few problems associated with people pulling their vehicles into the building when employees are using other equipment.

“Maybe what we need to do is put an ‘arm’ and raise it up when we are ready for them to come out on the floor,” he said. “We have put signs by the trash bin over the weekend with a sign not to put it on the ground, but employees will stop by after hours to pick up trash that is blowing around in the city.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke said maybe a camera might be necessary to stop dumping when the bin is full.

Commission chairman Kent Becker said that maybe a deterrent might be needed.

“We can have it out there during work hours, and then bring it in after hours,” Druse said. “It is city (of Marion) property, so if the city wants to police it, they can.”

Dallke said he got a verbal complaint about the amount of trash, and what the commission plans to do about it.

“Do we have a schedule when we go out to police the area?” Dallke asked.

Druse said he thought the transfer station employees have been doing a good job of keeping trash under control.

“It would be OK if people would contain trash in the bin, but I know some people who dump their garbage, and we can’t be everywhere at once,” he said.

Becker questioned if the bin needs to be out there when the transfer station is closed.

Commissioner Dianne Novak said people will make a trip to bring their trash in, but if it’s full, residents need to use common sense.

“It was an accommodation to the public that we wanted to try, and it’s getting abused,” Druse said. “It’s sure been busy the last two years.”

Novak said it’s probably more used, rather than abused, and she would rather people use that option rather than dump the trash in ditches.

Becker said the private companies hauling trash keep going up, and whenever fuel costs go up there is a surcharge.

Druse said: “Another thing scheduled for later in the month is that recycling will not be stopped during the construction on Main Street. We have already figured out how we are going to handle it, and it will be simple.”

He said the plan for recycling is to back a metal trailer to the west door of the transfer station and push it in.

In addition, the city of Hillsboro will be going online with recycling either later this month or in May, he said.

Becker said he also heard the city of Marion is questioning whether they will continue with recycling.

Druse mentioned recycling saves the county $37 from putting trash in the landfill.

“Don’t go there,” Dallke said. “I think the city of Marion brought up some valid points about the costs and we don’t know what it is actually costing Marion County—if we go to administrative costs and other costs not included. We don’t know what that ton of trash is costing. It’s never been what we said it is.”

In other business, the commissioners:

—reviewed a letter from Ashlee Gann, executive director of Families and Communities Together Inc., also known as FACT, to consider supporting the group with a $6,000 allocation during the budget time for 2019. In the commission letter, Gann stated FACT is an independent, local non-profit organization serving all children and families in Marion County. In addition, Gann stated the county has benefitted by more than $2.3 million from program funds.

—heard from Randy Frank, director of emergency management, on events and activities in the first quarter of 2019. He said the Local Emergency Planning Committee or LEPC, which serves 18 counties, had its tabletop exercise in Wichita recently. In addition, Frank was in Hillsboro Monday for a tabletop exercise, with the objective being to evaluate the city’s capabilities and learn its limitations in responding to hazardous material and natural disaster events.

The annual “Severe Weather Week,” was at Marion High School, and next week “Safe Kids Week,” with the goal of protecting children from unintentional injuries, is scheduled at Peabody Elementary School.

—approved the fuel bid from Cooperative Grain for $18,468. The only other bid was from Epps in Elbing at $18,521. Tom Holub, interim director of the Road and Bridge Department, presented the commissioners with the bids.

—went into three consecutive executive sessions to discuss matters related to the roads and the road maintenance agreement with Diamond Vista, Kirkham Michael and ENEL Green Power. The county’s attorney, Pat Hughes of Wichita, was also present for the discussion.

—received an update from Larry Sharp with KCAMP, and the services provided to the county during 2018. Sharp talked about the unlimited access to legal services, the state’s legal-based jail guidelines, the online university offered, training and seminars provided on-site, purchases of products or services up to $2,000 with the risk avoidance grant, a roads scholar tuition reimbursement program and ThinkHR. Sharp also talked about 2019 risk management programs.

—heard from Randy Eitzen, a county landowner, who asked the commissioners to seriously consider a moratorium on wind turbines in the southern part of the county.