Commission debates clock maintenance

Staff writer

After receiving the final cost Monday for renovations due to the courthouse clock tower, county commissioners debated the clock’s long-term viability.

Whether to keep the clock or take it down was even questioned at one point.

“I will resign before that happens, and get out of Kansas,” Commissioner Dan Holub said.

The commission eventually voted 2-1 to pay Regulator Time Company of Manhattan $29,683 to repair the clock’s hands and dials, while replacing its faces and the rotted wood surrounding them.

Rainwater rotting the wood is also leaking into parts of the courthouse.

The commission agreed about the historical value of the clock, but Chairman Randy Dallke questioned where the money would come from, for a clock seldom used for telling time.

“If I saw anybody standing outside to see what time it is, like they used to, I’d understand,” he said.

Commissioner Roger Fleming said maintenance would be required regardless of the decision, suggesting the commission further seek what county residents think.

“This whole building’s a money pit when it comes to it, but it’s historically valuable to Marion County,” he said. “It’d be nice to know the public opinion of having a functioning clock.”

County Clerk Tina Spencer said it has been at least 10 to 12 years since the most recent repair.

Commissioners later held a public hearing to discuss the road closure of a half-mile of road on 180th St. between Upland Rd. and U.S. 77.

Jackie Hett attended, arguing that people still use the road, but commissioners went ahead with passing the closure, because of danger to drivers unfamiliar with the area.

The commission had already given to Leroy Krause, also in attendance, permission to gate the east end of the road.

The commission also:

  • Agreed to pay Wamego-based Pugh Communications $18,264 to replace the courthouse phone system. The current system is about 20 years old.
  • Discussed putting sand on Remington Rd. to help drivers and residents that are having visibility problems because of dust.
  • Entered into a 10-minute closed session with Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene, discussing personnel performance. No action was taken upon re-entering regular session.
  • Conducted interviews for the emergency management director position.
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