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Revitalization program up for renewal

Staff writer

Whether Marion County will continue its neighborhood revitalization program will be decided this year.

Since its inception in 2005, the program has been fraught with complications, County Appraiser Cindy Magill said. In some cases, property owners didn’t apply until work had already started. Other times, participants haven’t completed work within deadlines and required extensions. Some participants have even missed extension deadlines.

If the program continues, it needs to be simplified, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said. There are currently 305 buildings participating in the program.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he supports renewing the program, even if it needs some bugs worked out. If the program is revised, participating taxing entities would need to opt in again, County Attorney Susan Robson said.

911 legislation reviewed

Marion County Communications and Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott reviewed legislation pending in the Kansas Senate that could affect funding for 911. The current law is set to expire in June.

State associations of dispatchers, law enforcement, and emergency response officials drafted a recommendation for a bill that passed the House of Representatives in one day and by a large margin.

When the bill reached the Senate, it spent six weeks in a committee and emerged almost unrecognizable. The Senate version would create two state positions to oversee 911 operations, and those salaries would be paid from the money now used for local 911 services.

Abbott said it would be better for the current law to expire for a year than for the Senate bill to pass. The House bill had support from large and small counties.

“We think the House got it right,” Abbott said.

If the Senate version becomes law, Marion County might have to create a general fund line item to maintain 911 services.

Holub said he would draft a letter to the county’s legislators regarding the law.

In other business:

  • Holub said he thinks the county could build a comparable building for the same amount it would take to fix all of the problems with the Health Department building.
  • Several people have told Holub the Marion County Economic Development Council should return to the way it operated when it began, without county involvement. Holub said he couldn’t argue, that the county has more important worries. He said he wouldn’t push for a decision until Commissioner Bob Hein returns from a medical leave.
  • Abbott met with commissioners in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Materials to re-seal 27 miles of county roads would cost about $463,711, Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet said.
  • Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro will provide 5,000 gallons of clear diesel, 1,000 gallons of dyed diesel, and 2,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline to the county for $20,430. Cardie Oil Company of Tampa bid $20,443.
  • If the county gets a low-interest loan from Kansas Department of Transportation to turn 330th Road from K-15 to Tampa into asphalt, payments would probably be about $150,000 per year, Herzet said.
  • Road and Bridge Department employee Brent Hayen went from earning $11 per hour to $2,136 per month in the switch from part-time to full-time work. Part-time employee Robert Weathers received a raise from $9 to $10 per hour.
  • Law firm Kutak Rock, of Wichita, will write a new personnel manual for the county for $3,500. Foulston Siefkin LLP, of Wichita, also bid $3,500.
  • Commissioners met in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Commissioners met in closed session with County Clerk Carol Maggard and Deputy County Clerk Tina Spencer for a phone conference with Dortha Bird and Gene Miller regarding open workers’ compensation claims.

The next commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified April 15, 2010

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