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1970s courthouse heat, cooling system is outdated

Replacement could cost $500,000

Staff writer

Replacing Marion County Courthouse’s aging heating and cooling system could cost about $500,000, according to a report from Orazem & Scalora Engineering, P.A., of Manhattan.

Marion County Commissioners discussed the report Monday.

The building uses a boiler system for heat, with hot water warming air that is then blown into offices. A similar chiller system is used to cool air during warm months, County Clerk Carol Maggard said. There is an air handler at both ends of each hall, or six total.

The system was installed in the early 1970s when energy prices were high, she said. The county put in suspended ceilings at the same time to save money.

Replacing the existing system with a more efficient heat pump could cost about $500,000, the report said. Each office would have its own thermostat, Maggard said.

The county can either continue to deal with problems one at a time, or it can invest the money, Commissioner Randy Dallke said. The county could save 10 to 20 percent on energy costs, but it could still take as many as 40 years to recoup the entire cost.

A bond issue for the transfer station is the only outstanding bond issue, and that is exempt from limits on county indebtedness, Maggard said.

Commissioners said they would like to speak with James Scalora, the author of the report.

Richards hired for zoning, sanitation

Tonya Richards accepted the position of Marion County sanitarian and zoning administrator, commissioners announced. The county offered her the position following a Nov. 23 meeting.

Richards has served on an interim basis since Bobbi Strait resigned on Aug. 26. In the intervening time, she has also attended training related to the position.

The commission is learning about the job at the same time as Richards, Commissioner Randy Dallke said.

“I think, as I learn more, I have more questions,” Richards said.

In other business:

  • Sales tax for September sales was $54,073, a little below the 2008 amount. However, tax receipts remain $24,418 ahead of 2008 for the same time period. The total through 11 months of 2009 was $554,741.
  • The county will purchase 100 cases of copy paper from Baker Brothers Printing of Hillsboro for $2,974. Navrat’s, of Emporia, bid $2,970, and Office Plus, of Newton, bid $2,990. Commissioner Bob Hein said he wanted to keep the purchase in Marion County with a price difference that small.
  • Kansas State University Research and Extension Agent Rickey Roberts discussed the possible formation of an extension district with Dickinson County. The commission first heard about the proposal Oct. 19. Commissioners asked Roberts to arrange a meeting with Dickinson County Commission, the local extension board, or a representative from K-State.
  • County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman and Maggard met with commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken afterward.
  • Markley Service of Marion won a bid to supply 13 gallons of Milestone herbicide to Marion County Noxious Weed Department. The company’s bid was $3,759. The next lowest bid was $4,009 from Cooperative Grain and Supply, of Hillsboro. Milestone is used to kill musk thistle, director Rollin Schmidt said.
  • Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene and employee Sherie Moody met with commissioners in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken afterward.
  • Serene and Richards met with commissioners in closed session for 15 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.

Last modified Dec. 3, 2009

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