County OKs ballot vote for new jail

The final decision to let the people decide whether to build a community corrections center at Marion?s Batt Industrial Park came Monday at the Marion County Commission meeting.

It wasn?t without glitches. Pat Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Orville Pfeiffer came with a petition of patrons living within four blocks of the proposed jail site protesting its location as something that will lower their property values.

They also protested possible transports of prisoners to the court?house through residential areas.

Commissioner Dan Holub said the site is an industrial park that is allowed for the location of many purposes that might be judged unsavory in residential areas.

Upon a motion by Holub and a second by Commissioner Randy Dallke, the commissioners voted 3-0 to put the question on the November ballot of whether to approve a 1 percent sales tax to support bonds for construction of a new jail and emergency communications center.

The motion came after discussion with David Arteberry, bond consultant with George K. Baum & Co., on word changes in the question and on final financial figures.

Arteberry said the estimated annual sales tax would be $967,981 on bonds of a term of 20 years, which might be paid off in as little as 14 years.

At an average interest rate of 4.75 percent, the anticipated cost of the bonds by maturity would be $4,839,000 with annual principal and interest payments of $674,450.

Arteberry said if calamitous economic conditions reduced sales tax to half of what is expected, the county could be required to make up 50 percent of costs with a 1.87 mill levy.

The total cost of the project remained as previously discussed at $8,744,861, Arteberry said, including $7,334,496 project costs, $1,143,556 for professional services, $94,861 for interest on debt during construction, and $171,948 for bond expenses.

Architects Tony Rangel and Aaron Smith of Law/Kingdon came later in the meeting to discuss specifics of such things as utility and communications hook-ups for the proposed jail.

Marion County Park & Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said the first zebra-mussel inspection of boats was carried on at the lake?s Labor Day weekend with 138 boats examined?42 on Saturday, 63 on Sunday and 33 on Monday. Of those, he said four of them were turned away because of where they had been previously.

Camping receipts were up for the weekend over a year ago with $4,170 received this year compared to $1,296 a year ago, Hudson said.

The annual chili cook-off at the lake will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4, he said.

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman alerted commissioners that the city of Florence will be able to use whatever county assistance it can get as the designated gateway city for next year?s Symphony in the Flint Hills on June 13.

Huffman said this year?s gateway city, Council Grove, hosted an estimated 30,000 people during the event with about 7,000 of them going to the event. Eating, music and shopping appear to be their preferred pre-symphony activities, she said.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Atrazine ban would cost thousands of ag jobs, economist says
Banning the agricultural herbicide atrazine would cost up to 48,000 jobs from...
Read More