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Lake leader complains about rent increase

Staff writer

County Commissioners got an earful Monday about an increase in lot rent for a trailer at the county lake.

Mike Crane, president of Friends of Marion County Lake, objected to last week’s decision to increase rent $50 a month for trailer lots west of the lake office.

The friends association includes both homeowners and mobile home owners. Crane and his wife own a mobile home.

“When I bought the trailer, the lease was $1,000,” Crane said. “Then it moved to $1,100.”

Commissioners voted a week ago to raise lot rent from $1,200 a year, set in 2012, to $1,800.

The county pays for electricity, water, and trash services for the trailer park, and trailer owners pay for natural gas.

Crane said the friends group sponsors events that bring money into the county.

“A few of the members of that group, when we have a big storm or something like that, they come help us,” lake superintendent Isaac Hett said.

“This group has adopted Marion County Lake as their second home,” Crane said. “We want to be here. We support the community.”

Although trailer owners don’t say a rent increase might not be in order, Crane clearly disapproved.

“We believe we’re a valued part of Marion,” he said. “We’d like to continue that.”

Commissioner Kent Becker seemed sympathetic to Crane’s claims but said commissioners look only at what the dollars are.

“We don’t have those soft numbers in front of us,” Becker said.

Commission chairman David Mueller said commissioners thought the increase was reasonable in light of the length of time since the last increase. The county has paid for increases in the cost of services and needs to make improvements at the lake.

At the end of his comments, Crane asked commissioners, “What’s the decision?”

Mueller told him the decision had been made last week.

Crane asked again, got the same answer, hastily closed his notebook, and left the room.

“It was one of the most surprising things in the way he presented it in that meeting,” Hett said. “He was just pretending like it wasn’t already voted on and he thought he could change their minds. He was definitely angry and he made that clear when we walked out.”

Commissioners also heard Marion resident Lloyd Meier tell them he’d had to call 911 Nov. 17 because he could not get up after falling.

Technicians had to break in through the door to reach him. After they helped him get up and examined him, he declined to go to a hospital.

They told him that if they had to come help him again, he would be charged.

Commissioners said they would talk to the emergency medical services department. The department formerly had a policy that if a person needed non-medical assistance too many times, the department would charge, but that policy was abandoned a few years ago.

Commissioners also voted to pay up to $8,144 to provide a “destination creation course” for county businesses to learn how to market themselves as go-to destinations and increase business.

Jeremy Ensey, director of Tabor College’s Central Kansas Entrepreneurship Center, talked about the course and made the request for the county to help pay for it.

Commissioners voted in favor but pending approval from county counsel Brad Jantz.

Last modified Nov. 29, 2023

 

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