County opts out of oil, gas lawsuit

Staff writer

Commissioners decided Monday that the trouble of joining other Kansas counties in a lawsuit against the state was not worth the risk.

County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman said she heard the lawsuit is to prevent the state from sweeping an oil and gas depletion fund the state holds through a mineral severance tax.

A bill passed in 2011 said the state was to pay counties 20 percent of what it holds to their general fund to help offset a loss of production.

“I hate to be mercenarial about it, but if we don’t join the lawsuit, and it goes down, and they win, we’ll make out,” Commissioner Dan Holub said. “Just because you’re not in the lawsuit doesn’t mean you’re not going to benefit.”

Commissioners have until Friday to notify a Topeka attorney of their decision.

Tower not too tall

The commission also felt no need to worry about the height of a proposed telecommunications tower by Union Pacific to go on 140th Road in Aulne.

The tower, which is 190 feet tall, would be in violation with a local ordinance that says structures must be as far from county roads as their height.

Union Pacific representatives notified Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards there was no way to meet operational standards by shortening or moving the tower.

Union Pacific is federally exempt from county regulations anyway, and indicated they will review the structural design to confirm that the tower would collapse, rather than tip over.

In other business:

  • The commission received word from Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt that recycling bins for Centre, Burns, Florence, Durham, Tampa, and Goessel had arrived, and Marion County stickers were being made for them.
  • Commissioners voted to pay $1,490 for a new tractor jack for mechanics in Road and Bridge department.
  • The commission met in a special session that evening to conduct an interview for the open appraiser position.
  • Will move Ashley Friesen into the deputy clerk position due to the resignation of Rhonda Toal. Friesen will still hold her regular duties with payroll and personnel.
  • Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman’s 7-year-old office computer will be replaced for $1,173.
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