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KDHE tests Marion County Lake again for algae

Rules, rent for trailers at lake discussed

Staff writer

Kansas Department of Health and Environment tested Marion County Park and Lake for blue-green algae Monday, and it is possible the test could result in lifting the health advisory at the lake, KDHE representatives told Marion County Commission on Monday.

The test came after a week that was — in comparison to July — cool, wet, and cloudy. Potentially harmful blue-green algae thrive in hot and clear conditions.

To have the advisory lifted, blue-green algae concentrations must be below 20,000 cells per milliliter. Samples taken July 25 showed concentrations about 40,000 cells/mL. In an advisory, people are urged to avoid contact with the water.

The weather this summer has given many lakes problems with blue-green algae, some of them worse than the county lake. Richard Basore, watershed field coordinator for KDHE, said the algae at some lakes are thick enough that it looks like a layer of green paint on the surface.

If Monday’s sample doesn’t show it is safe to lift the advisory, the county can make arrangements to mail samples to KDHE for testing, rather than waiting a full month between tests, said Jennifer Nichols, KDHE district environmental administrator.

Commission discusses raising rent on trailers

Commissioner Dan Holub calculated that after paying utilities, the county has about $1.37 of profit per trailer per day on the trailers at Marion County Park and Lake.

As a starting point for discussion, he proposed increasing the rent to $2,340 for the 180 days per year renters are allowed to stay in the trailers and another $180 to store the trailers the rest of the year. The $2,340 proposal is based on the $13 per day campers pay for water and electricity hookups, without the benefit of sewer service the trailers have.

Currently, rent on the trailers is $1,050 per year. That includes electricity and water service. Holub said the county was practically paying people to stay in the trailers when the rent was $300 and $500 per year.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said increasing the rent $1,500 at once seemed a bit too extreme. He asked what happened the last time the county raised rent on the trailers, in 2009.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said renters threatened to leave and said nobody would take their spots. Very few actually did, and any vacancies filled quickly, he said.

Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said there is a fairly long waiting list of people who want to rent space for a trailer.

Holub also said he would like to change billing to a single time of the year, instead of spread out based on when trailer owners first rented space. That would simplify billing, he said.

Holub also suggested adding language to the rental agreement that a trailer owner must allow the county to randomly inspect their trailer for appliances that require a lot of electricity, which are prohibited at the lake unless a tenant pays an extra fee for the electricity. The county has received reports of tenants having such appliances without paying the fee, but without specific terms in the contract or a search warrant, the county cannot check the truth of the reports.

Under Holub’s proposal, having an unapproved appliance or refusing a random search would constitute breach of contract, and the county could require removal of the trailer, he said.

Holub said he knows there are many great tenants in the trailer park who help out around the lake, but there are others who try to take every advantage they can get.

Last modified Aug. 10, 2011

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