County moves on land acquisition

Marion County commis?sioners began Feb. 22 closing land contracts for properties on the east side of Fourth Street in Marion across the street from the current courthouse grounds.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the land could be used as the location for a new county jail with a bond election set on the project April 5.

But, he said, it also could be used for safeguarding potential future courthouse expansion area.

David Arteberry, bond counsel with George K. Baum & Co., Kansas City, told commissioners that history through the last decade indicates Marion County should be able to pay for a $4 million bond issue with a half-cent sales tax, plus reserves. But, he said, they could choose to further secure the issue with property tax as a backup.

The commissioners chose to do that by a 3-0 vote.

Arteberry said if the bond issue was current, it could be done at 4.5 percent. He estimated that at current levels, a sales tax likely would generate $520,000 annually?$200,000 more than is needed to pay for the bond.

In response to questions from the commissioners, Arteberry said the bonds could be offered locally first.

As for the real-estate transactions, the commissioners finalized a contract with Sheila Williams for $2,350 for a 50-by-150-foot lot on Fourth Street south of the former lumber yard.

Then, with County Attorney Susan Robson assisting, the commissioners concluded an agreement with Mr. and Mrs. Darvin Markley on the $130,000 purchase of the former lumber yard with final closing expected within the week.

The commissioners said they would be spending $152,250 total for Fourth Street land acquisitions south to Miller Street, including $18,000 to Mr. and Mrs. Earl Peters for a home, and $1,000 plus back taxes to Ed Baatrup for a house.

The acquisitions will not include the former mattress factory at Fourth and Moore.

In other actions, the commissioners approved spending $32,000 in sales tax funds for a new Geographic Information System that will assist multiple county departments and cities in locating needed infrastructure sites and mapping.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill said if an event like the Greensburg tornado were ever to occur in Marion County, the GIS could help a community locate water and sewer lines that otherwise would be difficult to find.

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