New overlay won't be repaired until spring

Staff reporter

Construction repairs to Sunflower Road will not be made until spring.

That's the news Marion County Commission heard Nov. 30 from acting public works director John Summerville.

Summerville reported at the Nov. 26 meeting that the asphalt overlay project on Sunflower Road/South Third Street, Marion, did not meet his satisfaction and had contacted the county's engineering consultant, Kirkham-Michael Engineering. Summerville was instructed by the engineers to mark those areas of Sunflower Road that were not patched/laid properly. When the engineers inspected the road, they agreed that there was a problem, Summerville said.

When contractor Shilling Construction of Manhattan was contacted, the engineer was told that it was too late to make any repairs this year but crews would return in the spring to dig out and repair five areas that did not pass inspection.

Until the project is to the satisfaction of the county, the engineers suggested the county hold one percent of the total payment, approximately $8,000, until the work is completed.

In other business:

— Accountant Scot Loyd of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd of McPherson, explained to the commission the reasons for a 40 percent increase for the county's audit and budget preparation.

Loyd explained that he has served the county since 1986, and until 2000, the annual auditing fee was never increased. Since that time, there have been increases of less than two percent each year until this year's contract which went from $28,382 to $40,600.

Marion County is the only client of Loyd's that has one contract for budget preparation and the audit. Other counties he serves are billed separately.

The contract the commission is considering had a cost of $29,000 for budget preparation and $11,500 for the actual audit.

Commissioners reviewed information that showed Loyd's actual costs since 2000 of $341,888, actually collected $236,634 from the county.

Another option for the county to consider is to have Loyd's firm prepare the budget and have a third party do the audit.

Because of federal regulations, the county cannot hire nor is Loyd authorized to provide advice to the county about finances because Loyd's firm is the auditor.

"The auditor cannot be the controller," Loyd said. If Loyd is not the auditor, he can be a part of the county's management and offer advice.

Loyd also told the commission there aren't too many accountants willing to do government audits, and his firm is in high demand. He said he chooses his clients carefully and wants to continue to serve Marion County. He also said he would be willing to provide information about costs related to having another accounting firm provide the audit while he serves as the budget preparer and adviser.

— Commissioner Dan Holub distributed a sample contract that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses for leases. The contract can be used as a "starting point" for the county's possible involvement in the development of cabins at Marion County Lake.

Holub said the county's cost associated with the development would be for the connection of utilities but construction costs would be the developer's.