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Commission finds no easy solution to road sign issues

Staff writer

Dennis Maggard presented a prototype to Marion County Commission on Monday showing how Road and Bridge Department could mount road name signs vertically to keep some of the larger signs from twisting in strong winds.

The commission previously had requested Maggard, sign foreman for Road and Bridge Department, look into the idea of mounting signs vertically.

Maggard said vertical road name signs would cost more for several reasons. There are no widely available brackets for vertical signs like there are for horizontal signs. The county would need to have brackets custom-made. The posts the county puts the signs on would also need to be taller by as much as three feet, Maggard said.

Even if the county began installing vertical road signs, the county would still have to replace many signs because theft and vandalism are responsible for most of the losses.

“Vandalism is never ending,” Maggard said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked about the possibility of renaming roads. The county can scarcely keep up with the rate of theft of signs for Mustang Road, and some of the longer road names, such as Chisholm Trail Road and Wagon Wheel Road, require bigger and more expensive signs.

Changing road names would be an enormous task, Maggard said. It would require involvement from the 911 department and the U.S. Postal Service to change that many road names and addresses.

The commission approved replacing signs on major routes with ones with larger lettering. However, less-used roads will still have the smaller signs.

Holub takes issue with ad targeting appraiser

Commissioner Dan Holub said he took exception to several items in an advertisement placed by Carl and Juanita Stovall of rural Marion in area newspapers. The advertisement was about the Stovalls’ property appraisal by County Appraiser Cindy Magill and their appeal.

Holub said he couldn’t find any documentation supporting the Stovalls’ claim that the appraised value of their home before the appeal was $98,000. He said the value before they took the case to the Court of Tax Appeals was about $62,000.

He also took issue with a picture of the appraiser and staff taken at the appeals hearing, accompanied by a caption suggesting county funds were wasted sending three people to the hearing. Holub said Magill goes to all appeals hearings for Marion County, and she was accompanied by the deputy appraiser and the data collector who gathered information for the appraisal.

Holub also contested the Stovalls’ claim that county staff was “snooping” around their home. When the Stovalls appealed the value of their property, the county needed to measure the dimensions of their buildings, which the Stovalls were told when they filed their appeal, Holub said.

In other business:

  • Park and Lake Department will make part-time seasonal groundskeeper Gerald Bender’s position full-time. Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said the lake needs an extra full-time staff member, especially during camping season. If there isn’t a full-time work load for him during the lake’s off season, he will work with other departments. His pay rate will remain $8 per hour. Dallke voted against making the position full-time.
  • The annual fee for heated dock patrons to receive a key to a lounge area of the dock will increase from $10 to $15 per year.
  • A retaining wall that had already been leaning quite a bit at the lake fell over during the weekend, possibly as a result of a tremor Saturday night that was centered in Oklahoma and felt as far away as Kansas City, Hudson said.
  • The commission met in closed session for five minutes to discuss a former employee. The employee had applied for a job elsewhere, and the potential employer contacted the county to inquire about the reasons for the former employee’s departure and whether the county would re-hire that person.
  • The commission returned a draft of a letter by County Attorney Susan Robson to make changes before sending it to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office seeking an opinion on questions regarding TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline.
  • Marianne Siebert received a raise from $1,820 to $1,841 per month for working in the county clerk’s office for six months.
  • Gretchen Bernhardt received a raise from $1,603 to $1,636 per month for working six months as a courthouse custodian.
  • Evan Stout received a raise from $1,927 to $1,959 per month for working one year as a courthouse custodian.
  • Troy Schmidt received a raise from $2,021 to $2,061 per month for working one year as an equipment operator I in Road and Bridge Department.
  • Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman will order nine sandwich board signs to be used for community events in the county, in addition to one she already had. One was used during the Textile Trunk Show during the weekend in Marion.
  • Noxious Weed Department will purchase 50 gallons of Pathway herbicide for Road and Bridge Department at a cost of $1,525 from Markley Service of Marion. Ag Service of Hillsboro bid $1,548, and Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro bid $1,625.
  • Annual waste disposed of at Marion County Transfer Station has fallen each year since 2008, Director Rollin Schmidt said.
  • The Transfer Station will purchase a walking floor trailer from Steco of Enid, Okla., for $53,780. Schmidt visited the company’s facility and inspected trailers and was satisfied by what he saw. Wilkens USA of Stockton bid $59,800.
  • The county will explore an option of including a 15-foot utility easement along the east side of the new jail property, at Dallke’s request.

There will be no commission meeting in the coming week because the commission is attending the Kansas Association of Counties conference in Topeka. The next commission meeting will be Nov. 21.

Last modified Nov. 10, 2011

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