With tower permit, 911 plans move

News editor

With a conditional use permit for a 45-foot radio tower approved by Marion City Council on Nov. 13, Marion County now has a timetable to move emergency communications to its new home.

The tower will be installed the last week of November, and the communications department will move from the old jail to the new jail the first week of December, Sheriff Rob Craft said Monday. There will be no gaps in service with the move, he said.

Jail inmates have already moved. There were 17 inmates on Friday, but the number fluctuated quite a bit during the weekend. With the new jail, it was much easier to manage those fluctuations, Craft said.

Marion County Commission hopes to have a ribbon cutting and flag ceremony at the new jail either mid-December or early January.

County Clerk-elect Tina Spencer told the commission that the county received a credit of $19,513 from Treanor Architects P.A. for overpayment on jail work.

Closed hotel’s back taxes

Charles Hui Yang, owner of the closed Hillcrest Motel in Hillsboro, requested the commission’s help with a back tax bill. He said he sold the hotel in 2008, but after never receiving payment, he received the property back via quitclaim deed earlier this year. But when he got the property back, it came with a huge back tax bill: $22,899. The motel is appraised at $90,000.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub advised Yang that the commission can’t reduce his back taxes. That would require intervention by the State of Kansas.

Yang said he hopes to get the motel up and running again but can’t at this time. Holub said he would look into if there is anything that can be done about the delinquent taxes, but suggested Yang hire a lawyer if he has an issue with the person he sold the motel to.

In other business:

  • The commission approved a one-year lease with Countryside Feed of Hillsboro for space to store communications trailers for $250 a month.
  • A conditional use permit for Wynn and Ardith Schroeder for a Christmas tree farm at 994 Meridian, Newton, near Goessel was approved.
  • The county is seeking applicants for a new deputy county clerk.
  • Spencer said the commission budgeted for raises in 2013 and encouraged commissioners to begin thinking about how to allocate raises.
  • The commission met in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Larry Starkey in the Sheriff’s Department received a longevity raise from $17,77 to $18.11 per hour.
  • Derek Fetrow received a raise from $15.25 to $15.76 per hour for working in the Sheriff’s Department six months.
  • Craft met with the commission in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Licensed practical nurse Cindy Reeh received a raise from $15.10 to $15.71 per hour with the Health Department.
  • The Health Department has received a $4,000 grant for a community health assessment.
  • Martin Combs was hired as part-time help for the Transfer Station at $10 per hour.
  • Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said he expects Butler County Landfill will increase its tipping fee by $1 per ton Jan. 1.
  • Noxious Weed Department will purchase four Firestone tires from Rod’s Tire in Hillsboro for $194 each. Other bids were $200 each at Goessel Station and $230 each at Cardie Oil & Tire in Marion.
  • Noxious Weed Department will purchase 600 gallons of 2,4-D herbicide from Ag Service for $8,364. Markley Service bid $9,576. Schmidt said the purchase was to get ahead of an expected increase in the price of 2,4-D, reflected in Markley Service’s bid.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Monday.

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