Courthouse may go green with new light fixtures

Staff reporter

Marion County is looking into options regarding making the courthouse and other county-owned buildings more efficient.

County clerk Carol Maggard reported to the commission Jan. 22 that she received information about a contact person at Emporia State University who performs energy efficiency evaluations.

This expert previously worked with Chase County in determining ways to make that courthouse more efficient and assisted Chase County in applying for and receiving more than $300,000 in tax credits.

Maggard said replacing light fixtures and bulbs with energy-efficient ones can significantly reduce the county's electrical bills.

Chase County will be contacted by Maggard for more information. The matter will be discussed at a future meeting.

In other business:

— Change orders for renovations at the county jail were approved for a total of $614. The project should be completed within two weeks.

— Concerns were expressed by commissioner Randy Dallke regarding the historical designation of the Meehan house at Tampa because of the current condition of the property.

Commissioner Dan Holub will contact Tampa mayor Jim Clemmer regarding the situation.

— Electrical bids will be allowed outside of the county for the installation of the county's generator at the courthouse. Bids will be opened by the end of February.

— Fall planting will be planned for shrubs and other plants around the courthouse.

The commission came to the consensus to have Maggard obtain landscape design plans for up to $150. The approved design then would be used for bidding purposes.

— Repairs to a vehicle in the appraiser's department was approved. At a previous meeting, the commission approved Hillsboro Body Shop of Hillsboro to make the repairs for $1,550 but when appraiser Cindy Magill called to make an appointment for the car, she was told it could not be repaired until February. Arlie's Paint & Body Shop of Marion, the other bidder for the repair, could repair the car right away, so Magill had the car repaired there for $1,688.

— More information will be presented at a later date regarding the county contracting with auditor Scot Loyd to serve as a financial consultant.

— A 1997 Chevrolet Lumina that began as a patrol car in the sheriff's department, was used in the planning and zoning department, and finally retired from the economic development department will be auctioned through Purple Wave Internet auction service.

— County emergency services director Michele Abbott-Becker reported that government entities and non-profit agencies are eligible for FEMA grants as a result of ice storms this winter. Abbott-Becker stressed that the reimbursement grants are not for individuals or businesses.

The grants require a minimum of $1,000 in damages that insurance won't cover.

Abbott-Becker said that FEMA assured her that expenses incurred by the county to help cities with debris removal can be reimbursed.

— During the annual reorganization of the board, commissioner Bob Hein was appointed as board chairman for 2008 with Dan Holub appointed as vice chairman.

The Marion County Record was designated as the county's official newspaper.

— Rollin Schmidt, county transfer station manager, asked for and received a five-minute executive session for personnel. When the meeting reconvened, the commission approved an additional four days of vacation time for an employee.