Masks continue to be a part of discussions

The Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, July 6 got off to a bit of a rocky and unproductive start.

While most of the commissioners and Clerk Tina Spencer attempted to weigh the pros and cons of requiring masks in the commission room on Mondays, if allowing more people in than allows for socially distancing, Commissioner Dianne Novak continuously cut others off as she complained about masks, asked questions about the science of masks and made numerous other lengthy statements about masks and the repressing of freedom that they cause.

“People in the county are for and against them and they are looking at us for leadership to guide them. It is responsible to have them wear masks in here,” said Commissioner David Crofoot.

“I think it’s called Socialism when you start doing that,” said Novak.

After stating more than once that she would not wear a mask no matter what, Novak eventually calmed and allowed other commissioners to speak. The commissioners were then able to make a motion and vote unanimously that anyone be allowed into the commission meetings, regardless of social distance space, with hand sanitizer and mask provided and strongly encouraged but not required.

Previously, a screen had been set up in the hallway to allow for people to watch the meeting when there was not enough room to socially distance. Due to voting starting up and a need for the hallway space to be used for voting, the previous arrangement is no longer an option past the July 13 meeting.

The meeting will still be available online for those who are not comfortable with not following social distancing and mask recommendations.

Road & Bridge

County Commissioner Brice Goebel told the commissioners that he will find out on Thursday if Marion County was approved for a cost share by the state for repairs on 330th and Nighthawk. Goebel and the commissioners will wait to hear the results before deciding how to proceed.

Novak asked Goebel about his plans for getting rock for winter.

“It’s like I said before, when I contacted them last time, none of them are gearing up for then now as they are still trying to keep up with the rock demand for now (the current season),” said Goebel.

“I was wanting to make sure that you were being prepared to be ready to ask for it,” said Novak.

“The amount I can go for next year depends on the budget. They have told me that I still have several months before I need to even place anything so there is still plenty of time,” said Goebel.

“Hmmm,” said Novak.

Chairman Jonah Gehring asked about the 20-21 road rebuilds and what is completed.

Goebel updated the commission on the various projects he has been working including Sunrise to 220th to 240th, a job from last year on Alamo and then on down to the Diamond and 190th ranges. Depending on weather and stuff like that we hope to get a mile or two done every week. We also hope to get started on our chip sealing this week,” said Goebel.

“Does it look like your goal for 2020 is going to be met?” asked Gehring.

“If you can tell me what the weather is going to look like between now and the end of the year, I can tell you a little more clearly. If it continues in the hot and dry area, that is fine with hauling rock, but if we get into hauling rock, it will depend. I am hopefully optimistic to get as much as we can done,” said Goebel.

Commissioner Kent Becker mentioned in other counties they sometimes are able to list how much work was done on roads such as roads paved, roads rocked, culverts repaired, etc and wondered if that could also be done for Marion County.

“We look at the bills every month and we seen (sic) how much we’re paying. It would be good to know what we are accomplishing each month,” said Becker. “Is there a way to do that without having to buy new software and can some of your staff do it without you having to add extra work to your schedule?”

Becker and Gehring both mentioned that it could help show the taxpayers and the commission what is being done and how much work does happen.

Goebel is going to work on a plan and come back to the commissioners with it.

Weed/HMW/Transfer Station/Recycling

Transfer Station Director Josh Housman asked about recycling and if there is a minimum charge for any weight. This Friday is the first Friday for recycling for the public.

“I would recommend that the first 100 pounds that the public brings in there be no charge. That would take care of the average household and keep them from making change on the floor and doing paperwork,” said Crofoot.

Gehring said he figured that 100 pounds of recycling works out between $4-$5 so it would be easiest to charge a flat fee of $5 per 100 pounds. He explained that since the county has to pay for it, it would be nice to help offset the cost with fees from the public. Goering pointed out that it keeps the transfer station from having to deal with coins and makes things simple.

Crofoot worried that charging that amount for very small amounts might deter people from bringing in their recycling and cause them to just throw in the trash.

Dallke pointed out that instead of bringing in a small, light bag of recycling, people can save their recycling and bring in closer to 100 pounds and then pay the $5 once instead of multiple times.

The motion passed 5-0.

In other business, the board:

n heard from County Appraiser Lisa Reeder that new pictures of property have been taken. Reeder shared that members of the public can come in and get pictures of their property from her office.

n met in executive session for pending litigation