County to pay for windows project in lump sum

The Marion County Board of Commissioners decided June 30 to pay for weatherization and restoration of the historic courthouse windows from the special county building account of the general fund rather than seek financing.

The estimated cost of the project was $600,000 to more than $800,000.

The commissioners agreed they need to be deliberate and conservative in saving money for possible other construction such as a metal building to help store an overflow of records from the courthouse.

They also included in their vote to recognize County Clerk Tina Spencer for her many efforts to move the project forward.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said the cost of the windows can only be estimated because even the contractors can’t know the condition of the century-old windows until the project is underway.

The commissioners were meeting in an $894,444 payday payout session with $445,811 for county payroll.

Spencer reported the regular sales tax received from the state at the end of June for sales in April to be $50,176. The sales tax designated for the jail project totaled $43,869.

Spencer said Marion County’s assessed property evaluation for July has increased to $125,216,085 from $123,238,747 in 2015.

The commissioners agreed that members of the new economic development committee have remained positive and committed to the project even though it was felt the voting membership of the committee had to be narrowed to seven members.

Dallke signed approval for the health department’s agreement with the Marion County Special Education Cooperative to provide child screening at a 5 percent increase over last year’s budget.

Commissioners approved a road and bridge area fuel bid for 5,300 gallons of diesel for $8,768 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa over a competitive bid of $8,788 from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hills­boro.

The commissioners approved a road trenching permit for Loewen Trench­ing to relocate fiber optic line to the road right-of-way as part of the road straightening project at 130th and Nighthawk.

Assistant Road Super­visor Larry Cushenbery said road workers at Canada were beginning to work Thursday on a water diversion project for residents at Canada that was expected to be completed Friday.

The commissioners decided to try to help Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church develop a plan to upgrade road culverts off Kansas Highway 15 even though Cushenbery said observation of land levels indicated the land to be so flat that it would make choices more difficult for culvert locations.

Dallke said the situation warranted review of when the county pays for culverts and when a landowner on a road pays for culverts.

Road and Bridge Director Jesse Hamm and Cushen­bery are to develop a policy for the culvert replacement.

Cushenbery and commissioners joined in recognizing the unusually long-term service of Gene Hett, who was retiring Thursday after 43 years working for Road and Bridge.

Kansas Legal Services Administrator Ty Wheeler, who works from Emporia to provide legal services for those in emergency situations who don’t have funds to afford them, asked the commissioners to provide a $500 increase in the 2017 budget to help fund an increasing load of battered spouses and juvenile cases.

Wheeler said his public service group is relieved that federal and state funding are not being cut this year.