County approves bait shop at lake
Anglers at the county lake soon won’t have to drive out of town for bait and tackle.
County commissioners Monday approved $15,000 for lake supervisor Isaac Hett to set up a bait shop and convenience store he hopes to open by Memorial Day weekend.
The approval was not without objection from Brian Jones, who messaged the commission: “Can someone explain why the county is starting a private business (for profit) with tax dollars? This makes no sense and seems absolutely absurd.”
“I would answer this with, we’re providing a service to the county,” commissioner Dave Crofoot said.
“It is going to benefit people in Marion County,” commissioner David Mueller said.
Hett said he plans first to get a bid on electrical work needed at the office, then begin looking for stock.
Also to be ironed out is a way to keep fishing permit sales separate from bait shop purchases, Hett said.
“Once I get all of that done, I plan to start ordering supplies,” he said. “The hope is to have this done by Memorial weekend.”
The lake has been busy with campers these past few weekends, and he’s also been trying to get people who have campers stored at a lot south of the office to remove them.
The storage area needs to be organized, Hett said. Renters were told months ago to remove their campers for the work, but many of the campers are not in operable condition, he said.
“The problem is that they don’t run, and the people really don’t want them,” Hett said.
He told commissioners he will send a letter to owners telling them the county is serious about having the campers removed and that they need to come get their property.
Hett told commissioners he expected to shorten bait shop hours during the winter when fishing is at the heated dock and have longer hours during the warmer months.
The heated fishing dock, earlier destroyed in a storm, is still in need of being rebuilt after a contract was given to a Kechi man who took the county’s money and only put together pieces of the frame. The county retrieved the pieces of frame.
Local contractor Cody Nelson looked at the dock and will present a plan to build a new one, Hett said.
During public comment session, former commissioner Dianne Novak messaged commissioner asking why Hett is talking to a bait supplier in McPherson County instead of an established bait shop in Marion.
Dallke said the McPherson supplier is the main supplier and the county planned to work together with the bait shop.
Dallke said they would make a verbal commitment to try to get 75% of bait locally.
“Use of tax dollars seems inappropriate for this venture,” Jones messaged commissioners.