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Commission concerned over districts

Staff writer

County commissioner Randy Dallke expressed concern regarding possible restructuring of Marion County’s commission districts.

“How we come up and divide this is a very interesting question,” he said. “Providing better representation should be the goal.”

The proposition to expand the commission to five members will be voted on at the general election in November.

If it passes, the commission needs to ensure the outlying communities are properly represented, Dallke said.

Marion mayor Todd Heitschmidt and city administrator Roger Holter were on hand.

Another important factor is to not manipulate district territories, such as splitting Marion or Hillsboro into different territories, Heitschmidt said.

“We have two communities that have a totally different voting bloc than the rural,” he said. “Dividing that up has to be considered very strongly, that may not be the best.”

If the commission expands, members should not receive benefits, and they should have salaries cut so residents’ taxes don’t increase, commission chairman Dianne Novak said.

“I think we should not have any benefits, and reduce our salaries to accommodate the extra two people,” she said.

Cutting the pay of the commission would discourage possible candidates down the line, commissioner Kent Becker said.

Echo Ln. at Marion County Lake has been severely reduced in size, making driving difficult, resident Jessica Lawrence said.

The road was listed at 25 feet wide, but was closer to 12, she said. Due to recent rains, it was cut to eight feet of usable road.

Lawrence would be willing to buy the rock to fill the road if she could get a reasonable price. She estimated it would take 70 tons, but she would like the county to supply labor.

“As a municipality, I just want to find out how we can maintain access and not cut the road down,” she said.

The county shouldn’t let Lawrence pay because it’s the county’s responsibility, Novak said.

Since the road is too narrow for the county’s blade machines to maneuver, Novak asked if a smaller one could be borrowed from the City of Marion. City administrator Roger Holter said he would look into the matter.

The roads surrounding Diamond Vista Wind Farm have not been properly maintained by Enel Green Power, and did not account for recent heavy precipitation, Dallke said.

“I think we’re all in agreement,” he said. “I want to know what we can do now to push this to the company.”

Enel vehicles have been seen on roads outside of the road lease agreement, Becker said. Most of the vehicles are pickup trucks, but he recently saw a backhoe on a non-designated road.

The commission made a change in their weekly schedule. County clerk Tina Spencer will stop accepting agenda items Thursdays at noon and distribute the agenda that evening so commissioners have more time to research topics.

EMS hired four part-time employees, out of eight applicants, interim director Bob Church said in his quarterly update. While they will not get a large number of consistent hours, the new employees will allow flexibility with scheduling, Church said.

Health department administrator Diedre Serene requested an executive session to hire Erin Hein as childcare licensing surveyor. It was followed by another executive session for personnel performance.

A third executive session was held to discuss family and medical leave, and shared leave. Leave was granted to the employee in question.

Following the meeting, commissioners held interviews for EMS director, with Spenceer and Jantz present. The commission authorized Novak to extend an offer to the chosen candidate. The decision will be announced at the regular meeting Monday.

Last modified Oct. 24, 2018

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