County can’t get materials for road projects

Staff writer

Marion County can’t get materials in for chip-sealing soon enough to complete planned projects, Road and Bridge Interim Superintendent John Summerville said Monday.

The company that sells Build-X is overbooked on shipping the material. The county only has one-sixth of what it needs to chip-seal Nighthawk Road between U.S. 56 and U.S. 50.

The county has been much happier using Build-X for chip-sealing than limestone. It doesn’t produce nearly as much dust and is unlikely to damage drivers’ windshields.

Summerville said he would prefer to push all chip-sealing projects other than Nighthawk to spring 2012 than try to do them after the weather gets too cool.

Commissioner Dan Holub asked whether the county could contract with independent truckers to haul the material and receive a price break from the company, because the price for Build-X includes a hauling surcharge.

Tampa residents Tim Svoboda, Stan Utting, Greg Berens, and David Mueller urged the commission to double chip-seal 330th Road east of Tampa this year. Svoboda brought in a tire that had a rock that punctured the tire. He said the dry weather this summer has exposed sharp rocks underlying the road that can damage tires.

They also spoke with the commission about 330th Road west of Tampa. They are concerned about the effects closing the road during construction would have on the city’s businesses.

Former county engineer Norm Bowers offered the commission advice on choosing a new road and bridge superintendent. He said the county needs a planner and a “ramrod,” someone who makes sure the planned work is done well and quickly.

“If you’re not planning your work, you aren’t getting a lot done,” Bowers said.

The job is one of the most important in the county, he said, because the county has too many bridges and miles of road and not enough people and money.

The county will put gravel on Diamond Road between 170th and 180th roads at the request of Centre USD 397. There are no homes along the road, but having gravel on it will save 4 miles per trip when dirt roads are impassable.

Variance rejection

By a vote of 2-1, the commission concurred with the Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision to reject a setback variance for Jeff Saxton’s house at 21 Jerome at Marion County Park and Lake.

The home is far enough from the property line to meet the side-yard setback requirement, but an overhang encroaches into the setback.

Saxton said the overhang will be used as a walkway to provide better access to the house for his mother and sister, who both use wheelchairs.

An overhang three feet or narrower can extend into the setback area, but the one on the house is five feet wide. Saxton said scaling it back to three feet would make it too narrow for use as a walkway.

Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards said state law virtually ties the hands of the board in cases of self-imposed hardship such as this.

Commissioner Randy Dallke voted against rejecting the variance. He previously made a motion to approve a variance, but the motion failed without a second.

In other business:

  • Recycling bins should be delivered to cities in the second week of August, Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said. Plastic grocery bags should not be recycled in the bins, because they clog the machine that sorts the recyclables.
  • The recycling window at the transfer station is open for cardboard during all regular business hours.
  • Markley Service of Marion will supply 100 gallons of Tordon 22k and 25 gallons of Crossbow for Noxious Weed Department’s herbicide cost-share program at a cost of $5,313. Ag Service of Hillsboro was the low bidder for 100 gallons of Dicamba with a total price of $2,850.
  • Daniel M. Newson was hired as a seasonal groundskeeper for Marion County Park and Lake with a wage of $8 per hour.
  • Emergency communications dispatcher Amy Pharis received a raise from $13.54 to $13.78 per hour to correct a pay rate that was below the county’s pay scale.
  • Harvey-Marion County Community Developmental Disability Organization Executive Director Elizabeth Schmidt requested $62,000 of support from the county for 2012, the same amount received in 2011.
  • The county will spend $19,281 to replace an exchange server and to buy the necessary software licenses. The hardware, costing $6,238, will be purchased from Great Plains Computers & Networking of Marion. Software will be purchased from CDW-G.
  • Ty Wheeler of Kansas Legal Services presented a budget request for 2012. Kansas Legal Services is a private not-for-profit firm that represents people who can’t afford help with disability cases. He requested $4,000 for 2012, the same as requested for 2011. The county provided $3,000 in 2011.
  • Kelly Savage and Dan Bernhardt of the Marion County Fair Association requested $14,700 of county funding for 2012, the same as 2011. Holub raised the prospect of using $26,000 the county was given by TransCanada for community projects to fund improvements to the fairgrounds. The commission asked Savage to prepare a list of priorities for the fairgrounds.
  • Several houses along Lois Lane at Marion County Park and Lake have addresses on Lakeshore Drive, which can cause confusion, Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini and Communications Director Linda Klenda said. Commissioners instructed them to send a letter to the six homes affected requesting input.

The commission will meet at 8 a.m. Friday.

 

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