Crawford submits resignation as road and bridge director

Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford submitted his written resignation Monday to the Marion County Board of Commis?sioners, effective Friday, Oct. 9.

Crawford said, ?I apologize for the short notice, but my new company made their job offer contingent on an employment start date of Monday, Oct. 12, due to their project timelines.?

The three commissioners said they will miss Craw?ford?s expertise in the office.

Crawford said he enjoyed his position with the county over the past four years, but the new opportunity gives him more growth potential, and is the best thing for his family.

Road and bridge employees Jesse Hamm, Larry Cushenberry and Jesse Smith are all qualified to fulfill his duties after he leaves, he said.

Crawford told the commissioners he didn?t want to leave the county without offering advice.

Roads gradually narrowed over 100 years of use, putting the county at legal risk for potential head-on traffic collisions, he warned.

Many dirt roads will have to be shut down because the county has too many miles to maintain beyond its capabilities, he added.

Crawford said the county needs to pay off the debt for its road graders, or end up in a situation where it never gets them paid off and never gets ahead.

He warned that measures will have to be taken to impose fees or additional taxes on operations such as more than 30 cattle feeders in the county and other agricultural operations that create heavy traffic of large trucks and equipment, which are tearing up roads leading to a higher tax burden on other taxpayers.

Crawford cited cattle feeder Mike Beneke?s repeated urges for better roads before the commission.

?It shouldn?t be him in here bitching,? he said. ?It should be his neighbors? as they have to help pay for the roads his high traffic use tears up.

Crawford said cattle feeders knew the conditions of the roads when they built their feeding operations, and were aware of the effect their heavy use would have on the roads.

He said the same is true of the rest of agriculture, where reliance on semitrailers has become nearly universal.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he realized the road problems are aggravated by the use of two-wheel pups pulled behind large trucks.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the problem extends not only to feed hauled, but to repeated trips of heavy farm machinery, and even to loads of manure hauled from feedlots to fields.

The commissioners said they will need to arrange a meeting with all road and bridge personnel to make sure everybody is in line for supporting a new departmental director.

?Anybody who isn?t willing to do this will just have to leave,? Holub said.

The commissioners went into executive session for 45 minutes to discuss personnel issues related to the resignation.

After reviewing a cost breakdown proposed by Chase County for having Marion County haul its recyclables, the commissioners decided they wanted to hear another proposal from Chase County for that county delivering its recyclables to Marion County.

The commissioners approved a bid of $26,753 for a 2016 4×4 one-ton Ford from Midway Motors of Hillsboro over competitive bids for similar models of $29,185 from Hillsboro Ford, and $34,085 for a GMC also from Midway Motors.

The commissioners decided to run a public notice asking for input before deciding, probably by Jan. 1, what to do about the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which abates taxes for new construction.

The commissioners said they basically favor doing away with the program for residential construction but retaining it for forgiving possibly 90 percent of property taxes on new commercial buildings for the first three years.

Commissioner Lori Lalouette said the commissioners need more research to see the effects of business tax forgiveness, and perhaps how it has performed in other counties.

The commissioners went into executive session for 15 minutes to consider emergency management personnel issues.