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County finances land purchase

Staff writer

Marion County Commission approved a lease-purchase agreement with Peabody State Bank on Monday to finance part of the purchase cost of land east of the courthouse.

Bank representative Annette Voth said the way the agreement works is the county purchases the land and leases it to the bank, which then leases the land back to the county. The bank had worked on a similar arrangement with the City of Peabody, she said.

Annual payments will be $34,813 for three years.

Zoning fees may be increased, consolidated

Commissioners instructed Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards to prepare a proposal to consolidate and increase zoning fees.

Richards presented information about current fees, the costs to conduct the necessary inspections, and fees in other counties. Current fees aren’t nearly enough to cover the costs, she said.

Permits needed for a new home include primary structure, $20; water well, $10; wastewater, $10; and possibly accessory structure, $10. Fees for rezoning and variances are $75. The fee for a conditional use permit is $50.

Richards said the county’s cost for a residential structure permit is $120 plus mileage, while rezones, conditional use, and variances cost $550 plus mileage.

Rezoning, conditional use, and variances cost the county so much because they require publication fees, copies, notifications and postage, plus a lot of time. Richards said those cases typically require 20 hours or more to prepare for hearings.

Richards said increasing fees to the point where the county would break even on the inspections would be too big of an increase.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said the county should weigh fees against property taxes. User fees result in the people using the service bearing the burden, he said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked whether a single fee could be charged, rather than many smaller fees. Richards said that would be possible and preferable. There are cases now where she mails six $10 invoices to one person.

Commissioners instructed Richards to prepare a proposal with a higher, flat fee.

In other business:

  • County Clerk Carol Maggard met with commissioners in closed session for 15 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The county received a refund check for $11,358 from Kansas Workers Risk Cooperative for Counties because the county had lower than expected workers compensation claims in 2010.
  • A cell in Marion County Jail is closed while plumbing issues are addressed and a toilet is replaced, Sheriff Rob Craft said.
  • Federal funding to clean up methamphetamine labs has been discontinued, but some state assistance programs remain, Craft said. On average, a meth lab costs $5,000 to clean up.
  • Craft met with commissioners in closed session for 20 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The county will publish the ballot question proposing a 0.5 percent sales tax to pay for a new jail in all local papers excluding the Marion County Record for informational purposes. The reason for the exclusion of the Marion County Record is because the full legal publication of the ballot question was previously in the paper twice.
  • Marion Reservoir Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy Coordinator Peggy Blackman reviewed activities by the organization in 2010. WRAPS built 73,391 feet of terraces, 20 acres of grassed waterways, converted 29 acres of marginal cropland to grassland, built one concrete structure to prevent erosion, installed one household waste water system, and completed two stream bank projects. Blackman estimated the projects prevented 11,233 tons of sediment from entering Marion Reservoir.
  • WRAPS will have a stakeholder leadership team meeting 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 31 at Main Street Café in Durham.

The next regularly scheduled commission meeting is Monday.

Last modified March 23, 2011

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