County OKs Marion deal for jail land

The Marion County Commission Monday voted 3-0 to pay the City of Marion $80,000 for the acreage needed to build a new jail in Batt Industrial Park, with the city to install a connecting street and utilities.

The deal, as outlined in a letter from the Marion City Council to the commission, is contingent upon voters passing of bond proposal for the corrections center in the November election.

The city also offered the land free to the county if the county would install street and utilities instead.

Commissioner Dan Holub, whose commission district includes Marion, said he could accept the city terms for the land, but he noted that the city normally offers land and utility hookups free to businesses in its industrial parks. ?Why wouldn?t they do this for the county?? he asked.

He and the other commissioners may have an answer to this if they are entered on the Marion City Council agenda for Monday, June 30, as planned.

The commissioners approved a request from Lester Kaiser, fire chief for Fire District 5 in the Lincolnville area for $2,500 to add to $5,700 already raised for rescue equipment such as air bags and vehicle wreck stabilizers. But the approval also raised questions about providing equal equipment and financing for other rescue agencies in the county.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said rescue trucks in other fire departments also need and deserve such equipment when they attempt to rescue victems at car wreck scenes.

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith said he would bring up equalization of equipment at a Marion County Fire Chiefs Association meeting to gain consensus.

Smith and Dallke said equipment money frequently is raised by fire and emergency units or donated by volunteers themselves.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein said the $2,500 could be given from sales tax proceeds. He and the other commissioners agreed they wouldn?t want to put the equipment decision on hold if it meant the difference in saving a life immediately.

Smith said besides equalizing equipment, there needs to be uniformity to cut down on confusion about what resources are available.

Smith reported an unusually high 107 county ambulance runs in May with 8 of them within a 24-hour period in Marion.

They included 19 from Peabody, 10 from Florence, 1 from Marion backup, 35 from Marion, 38 from Hillsboro, and 4 from Tampa.

They included 21 transfers, 7 cardiac, 19 medical emergency, 11 standby, 13 motor vehicle accidents, 13 falls, 19 no transports, 1 10-22 and 3 other.

There were also 8 first response runs, 3 from Goessel, 2 from Durham and 3 from Lincolnville.

There was 1 rescue run from Florence and 2 from Marion, Smith said.

Among other things, Smith is working on policy and procedure for grain elevator accidents and school bus accidents.

He is awaiting notification on a grant from American Firefighters to obtain a ?Rad 570 CO2 detector.

Cindy Magill, county appraiser, continues to have problems with county residents who want to put construction under tax abatement on the county revitalization plan, but who don?t get paperwork in on time.

She said such residents are supposed to get a building permit from Planning and Zoning Director Bobbi Strait before beginning construction, and then come to her immediately for direction on entering the program.

Instead, she showed the commissioners cases where one person had the work begun last fall before coming to Strait, then putting off coming to her until into this year, with completion of new construction with an added addition expected this fall.

The commissioners agreed that this person lost qualification for the program, but asked Magill to work with a second person who wasn?t notified of the county program by the City of Peabody.

Dallke said the person should go back before the Peabody City Council for approval ?because we don?t want to override the City of Peabody.?

Magill said the state has warned there ?will be no leeway? in its mandate to the counties to spend ?tremendous amounts? in implementation of the Orion computer program for county appraisal offices. She said that even the large counties with many resources, like Johnson, are having trouble getting the program implemented.

Marion County is scheduled by the state to complete the program conversion in 2009, she said. ?A lot of data entry issues have to be cleared up,? she said. ?Addresses aren?t formatted in a standardized way…all clean-up has to be done for 12,000 parcels.?

She acknowledged Holub?s insight that the program could cause the county all kinds of problems and special purchases–?we may be paying for things like a $10,000 printer.?

Holub said the state mandate is a disastrous requirement for counties ?struggling with high fuel costs, and looking at cut-backs.?

Rollin Schmidt, noxious weed director, said a new herbicide called ?Milestone? is proving very effective in killing muskthistle. Upon his recommendation, the commissioners approved sharing one-fourth of the cost for Milestone purchased through the weed department with land owners.

The commissioners agreed they will meet with adjacent land owners and Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville to examine 180th Road southeast of Hillsboro between Ag Service and Old Highway 56.

Stanley Ens said that he had small acreages along the road that were high producers of soybeans. He said he can?t get to them anymore because county grading practices led to water flowing down the roadway. He suggested construction of a diversion ditch, and perhaps restoration of a natural pond to help the situation.

Ens also said he wants sand put on the road in front of his home at 1234 175th for dust control.

The commissioners said the sand can be put on at his cost at a rate of $10.50 a ton, but Ens said he can get it from Dalke Construction for $9.00 a ton.

The commissioners decided not to have Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott-Becker pursue construction and renovation of buildings grants brought to her attention by the captain of the Kansas Highway Patrol. They said the deadline for plan development and application completion is too soon, on July 18, to justify the expense involved.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge signs bid for $7,985.30 from Oral W. Taylor of El Dorado even though a bid of $7,798.17 from Hall Signs of Bloomington, Indiana, was lower because Taylor is more local.

Other competitive bids were $9,021.80 from National Signs at Ottawa, $8,027.60 from Neuman Traffic Signs of Jamestown, North Dakota, and $8,471.98 from Welborn Sales of Salina.

The commissioners passed the annual assessment for solid waste with a recommendation from County Clerk Carol Maggard that rates for businesses be examined before the next assessment is set.

The commissioners approved a fireworks display proposed for Shawmar Oil employees at Country Dreams Bed & Breakfast July 12.

They approved purchase for $25,000 of a building by Improvement District Number Two from the county, and termination of a lease for the building by the county to the district begun in 1988.

The commissioners continued with department head evaluations in executive session.

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