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Commission considers fate of recycling program

Staff writer

A mobile recycling pickup program is nearing the end of the original one-year trial period, and Marion County Commission is still trying to decide whether to continue the program.

Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said Monday a decision is needed, so he can make plans for the future.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he had two concerns regarding the recycling program. He said he wondered whether it is fair to provide the free program while Hillsboro and Peabody residents must pay a monthly fee for those cities’ recycling programs.

He wants to reduce costs to county taxpayers, and he thinks the program costs more than it saves, he said. Costs of the program include fuel, equipment, and wages. Savings include not paying landfill fees for the recycled goods and revenue from selling in-demand recyclables.

Dallke said he would like to know what portion of county residents participate in the program. Schmidt said participation is continuing to rise.

Some people have told Schmidt they would prefer the county spend money to recycle instead of on some other projects, while others have told him they only support recycling if it saves the county money.

Commissioners will deliberate on the issue again during the Dec. 28 meeting.

In other business:

  • State Rep. Bob Brookens will be available for a Jan. 7 meeting in Marion regarding a the Keystone Pipeline and property tax exemption. Commissioners are waiting to hear if legislators Jay Emler and Jim Barnett will be available.
  • Commissioners approved spending $2,000 to fight TransCanada’s request for a property tax exemption, provided four of the other five counties the Keystone Pipeline will travel through do the same.
  • Jason and Amy Plett, of Hillsboro, were approved to enter the county neighborhood revitalization program, despite not applying before beginning renovations on their home. County Appraiser Cindy Magill said they learned about the program late but met all other requirements and turned in necessary paperwork in a timely manner.
  • The positions of Sheriff’s Department employees David Huntley, Larry Starkey, James Philpott, Duane McCarty, Michael Ottensmeier, and Travis Wilson were changed from salaried to wage-based.
  • Goodwin Industries of Burns won a bid to make and install railings for three wheelchair-accessible fishing piers at Marion County Park and Lake. The company’s bid was $1,300. Jost Welding and Radiator Service of Hillsboro bid $1,434, and Marion Manufacturing bid $1,525.
  • Magill and commissioners discussed property taxes with Brock Baker, who owns commercial property in Peabody. Baker said he would like property valuation on several newly vacant buildings in Peabody reduced. Magill explained that property valuations are established Jan. 1, and the value could not be changed. She said she would be willing to look at it again in 2010.
  • Mowing the former county landfill property to meet Kansas Department of Health and Environment requirements could take three days or more, Road and Bridge Superintendent John Summerville said. KDHE requires mowing the property twice annually to facilitate inspection.
  • The City of Florence won a bid to empty county trash receptacles at Marion County Park and Lake, with a bid of $3,893 per year. Stutzman Refuse Disposal Inc., of Hutchinson, bid $9,264.
  • Commissioner Bob Hein met with Dickinson County Commission, Marion and Dickinson County extension representatives, and Kansas State University representatives Monday in Abilene to discuss creation of an extension district including the two counties.

The next commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified Dec. 16, 2009

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