County talks 4-mill hike for roads and bridges

The Marion County Commis?sion, at its July 31 payday meeting, discussed raising the mill levy for the 2009 by four mills, with most of it going to the road and bridge department. Budget cuts in other departments would also be channeled to road and bridge.

Budget Consultant Scot Loyd said with the doubling of oil prices, and increases in other related oil products beyond that, the Kansas counties with whom he works all have to raise the mill levy to maintain roads at accustomed levels.

Loyd said Chautauqua County, with a low tax base, has only gravel county roads; the only hard-surfaced roads through that county are state highways.

Loyd said Marion County might not be able to do a bond issue for hard-surfacing roads comparable to the $2 million one it did in the 1990s because the cost of a similarly sized project may be in the $6 million range.

?You may be pushing the debt limit (using property taxes for a roads bond) allowed (by the state),? he said. ?The cost of roads could make you far exceed your valuation.

?I don?t think the public has a clue just how much oil prices have changed everything.?

The commissioners and Loyd noted in discussions that the cost of resurfacing the Durham-Lincolnville Road in the future probably will exceed $3.5 million.

They said the cost of resurfacing 190th Road between Marion and Hillsboro, and Indigo Road from Hillsboro to U.S. Highway 50 at current rates would cost the county $3.6 million.

They said the cost of a 2-inch asphalt overlay is $235,000 for the first mile, with each additional mile costing between $135,000 and $140,000.

One major supplier of overlay products to the county at El Dorado has filed bankruptcy, with the swing in oil costs possibly a factor, commissioners said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said, ?But we will have to look at roads?they will need overlays again.?

Commissioner Dan Holub said, ?It?s scary. Fifty years ago every fifth road in Marion County was a blacktop. Now, even if the debt limit was $5 million, it wouldn?t be enough.?

Loyd said the bond issue based on sales tax for a new jail posed as a question for county voters on the November ballot won?t push the debt limit because that limit applies to property taxes, not sales taxes.

According to the Marion County Clerk?s Office, the county?s property valuation in July was at just under $102 million, which puts the value of one mill of property tax at around $102,000.

The commissioners have discussed increasing the county employee work week to 40 hours from 37.5 hours to cut down on the accumulation of compensation time.

Commissioners noted such a move could increase the budget by $100,000.

Commission Chairman Bob Hein said, ?That?s a mill right there.?

Commissioners said any reductions for other departments might change after consulting with department heads. They said a projected 2 percent raise for employees probably won?t happen.

Loyd is to be back Monday, Aug. 11, to finalize the 2009 budget.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said the payday pay-out figure was $812,585, which included annual dispersals for such things as mental health.

She said sales tax received in July, collected by the state in June, and generated in May, was $43,053.

Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro was awarded an area fuel bid for road and bridge of $24,200 over a bid of $24,48 from Cardie Oil of Tampa.

The CG&S bid included 800 gallons of diesel in Tank 1 for $3.699 a gallon, 2,150 gallons of diesel in Tank 2 for $3.699 a gallon, 1,800 gallons of diesel in Tank 3 for $3.69 a gallon and 1,800 gallons of diesel in Tank 4 for $3.695 a gallon.

Cardie?s per-gallon bid for the same tanks and quantities, respectively, were $3.721, $3.721, $3.731 and $3.731.

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