Health department director officially begins duties

Marion County Health Department Director Krista Schneider was officially sworn into her position today during the weekly Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting. Schneider begin the role today after accepting the job last month. She replaces former administrator Deidre Serene who resigned in September.

After the swearing-in, the commissioners welcomed her and told her to let them know if she had questions or needed any assistance.

County Clerk Tina Spencer updated the board on what the county’s current handbook regulations are for cereal malt beverage (CMB) retailers. The topic came up in the meeting last week.

Spencer explained that currently the retailer can only sell CMB on Sundays beginning at noon and ending at 8 p.m. except on Easter Sunday when no sales can be made. She said that if the board wanted to, they could vote to begin sales earlier but that is about the only change that they could make at this point.

Planning and Zoning Director Sharon Omstead met with the board to explain a request from Harmoni Towers, LLC to construct a tower to improve existing wireless capability and further enhance E-911 services. Omstead explained that on Dec. 2nd, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the CUP (conditional use permit).

According to the staff report Omstead submitted, “staff believes the request for a proposed 385-foot guy wire tower and associated equipment is in conformance with the provisions of the Marion County Zoning Regulations to the extent that the project can legally be regulated locally.”

There were concerns raised by a neighbor or the property owner where the tower will be built, as well as by commissioners and an existing tower owner, about building a second tower when one already exists in Marion near where the proposed one would be built.

After much discussion, there remains question as to whether K.S.A. 66-2019 (effective October 2016) applies only to public rights-of-way or if portions of the statute apply also to private property. If it applies to private property, the county is precluded from enforcing several aspects of its regulations or from denying the application based on several factors.

There is no case law or attorney general opinion on this topic yet. As a result, the board gave County Attorney Brad Jantz 30 days to provide his interpretation of the state statute— as to whether it applies to private property or not. They will continue the meeting on January 24th.

Marion County Fair Board President Brent Unruh spoke with the board about the building renovations that the fair board would like to do to the main building on the fairgrounds. Unruh explained that there are really no other buildings of that size available in the county and it is nice to have the option for the public to have this facility. He said that one of the major renovations needed is a new HVAC system which would cost a substantial amount of money.

Unruh asked if the county would be willing to financially help out since the building will benefit the county. He said the board believes they could pay $10,000 toward it and they are asking the City of Hillsboro as well as the county to help as well. Unruh also mentioned that fundraising is an option as well.

The board, minus Gehring who abstained due to his company being part of the renovations, voted to contribute financially for the renovations. They will decide on the amount at a later time.

In other business, the board:

n heard Road and Bridge project updates from County Engineer Brice Goebel. Goebel also told the board he plans to attend some upcoming job fairs to see if he can recruit some staff for the open positions he has. The commissioners supported the idea. The board and Goebel discussed the installation of cameras outside the Road and Bridge building due to a recent break-in.

n met in executive session with Lloyd Davies regarding technology/security briefing.

n met in executive session regarding personnel performance for non-elected personnel.

n chose coloring contest winners for the county employee Christmas party coloring contest.

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