Marion County Commission received two pieces of good news Monday regarding construction of a new jail.
Josh Walker of contractor Loyd Builders Inc. of Ottawa told the commission that the company plans to have the roof on the building by Christmas or New Year’s Day if the weather remains clear enough for construction. With a roof overhead, construction workers could continue interior work through the winter, speeding up completion.
He said the construction crew is about two days behind its original schedule, and that time will be difficult to make up.
Architect Andy Pitts of Treanor Architects P.A. of Topeka had more good news. With some minuscule changes in materials used, the county can save $56,076 on construction of the jail. The biggest change is using stucco instead of limestone on the north, east, and south faces of the building.
Earlier in the meeting, the commission approved payment of $164,643 for work on the jail.
Trailer ordered to haul heavy equipment
The commission voted to purchase a lowboy trailer from The G.W. Van Keppel Co. of Wichita for $36,640 after trading in one that has become difficult for Road and Bridge Department to keep operational.
Other bidders were Classic Trailer Sales, $39,100; Murphy Tractor Equipment Co., $42,876; and Foley Equipment, $44,746. Classic Trailer Sales also submitted a bid of $36,100, but the trailer didn’t meet bid specifications.
Tom Holub said he would prefer the trailer from The G.W. Van Keppel Co. because he is familiar with the manufacturer and how to maintain their trailers.
The trailer will be used for hauling heavy equipment.
Commission approves training at out-of-state events
Planning and Zoning and Environmental Health Director Tonya Richards requested permission to attend a national environmental health conference in June in San Diego, Calif. At the conference, she will be able to take her exam to become a licensed sanitarian and participate in review seminars before the exam.
She could take the exam in Kansas, but it would require scheduling one just for her, and there wouldn’t be any review classes.
Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said his main concern is that taking the exam in California would give Richards a license for all 50 states, and he wants to be sure the county gets its money’s worth from training Richards.
Richards reassured Fleming that she plans to stay in Marion County. She said her roots are in the county.
Courthouse custodian Evan Stout requested two paid days off to attend an energy efficiency conference. In his time off, he works as an energy consultant for the McPherson school district, County Clerk Carol Maggard said.
The school district has authorized him to attend the conference and will pay for his registration, transportation, and hotel stay. Maggard said she thought the information learned could be valuable to the county.
Commissioner Randy Dallke warned that approving the request could create a cascade of employees requesting training only tangentially related to their county duties. Dallke recommended splitting the difference and paying one of the two days, which the commission approved.
State appraisal officials answer questions
David Harper, Bill Waters, and Kevin Suelter of the Property Valuation Division of Kansas Department of Revenue met with the commission to answer several questions outlined in a letter sent earlier this year.
“The bottom line is it (appraised value) should be market value,” Harper said. “You should be able to sell that property for that value.”
Property sold on auctions can be considered in determining market value, but Harper said those sales require more caution.
He said property values in Kansas haven’t fallen as much as in other parts of the country during the current economic downturn because they didn’t inflate nearly as much during the preceding housing boom.
Suelter presented information about how the Keystone Oil Pipeline was valued. The portion of the pipeline in Marion County has an assessed value of $21,171,668. If the pipeline wasn’t exempt from property taxes, the county could lower the property tax rate approximately one-sixth without reducing tax revenue.
In other business:
- The commission met in closed session for an hour for department head evaluations. No action was taken on return to open session.
- County Attorney Susan Robson met with the commission in closed session for five minutes to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege. No action was taken on return to open session.
- County Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel matters. The county will advertise an opening for a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
- Health Department employee Sondra Mayfield will receive a raise from $2,323 to $2,354 per month for working in the department 10 years.
- Driver’s license examiner Dianne Burnett received a raise from $2,096 to $2,132 per month for six months on the job.
- Deputy County Treasurer Kathy Swan received a raise from $2,836 to $2,893 per month for six months on the job.
- Transfer station employee Norman Dirks received a raise from $1,907 to $2,021 per month for six months on the job.
- Rose Vinduska was appointed to serve on the executive board of the 8th Judicial District Community Corrections Advisory Board.
- The county has received $55,971 in interest on its bank account balances so far this year.
- The county saved about $2,000 on the estimate to stripe Nighthawk Road between U.S. 50 and U.S. 56. The estimate was $11,000, but the actual cost was $9,071.
- Richards presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission to grant a conditional use permit to Virginia Skinner to build a veterinarian office at 1625 80th Road near Peabody in an agricultural zone. The commission agreed with the recommendation and granted the permit.
- Commissioners will ask Planning Commission members Dan Mount and Jim Schmidt whether they wish to continue serving when their terms expire. Bob Maxwell already announced his resignation from the Planning Commission.
- The county has about 13 months to completely switch to narrow-band radios. The switch must be complete by Jan. 1, 2013, Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini told the commission.
- Applying for an exemption from property tax for the jail property will require a $400 filing fee.
The next commission meeting will be Monday.