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Lake residents ask to drive golf cart on lake roads

Staff writer

Marion County Lake residents Ed and Freddie Burnett attended the Marion County commission meeting Thursday to ask permission to drive on Lakeshore Drive and other lake roads using a golf cart.

Freddie Burnett cannot walk after battling cancer; she uses an electronic scooter to get around. She said riding the scooter on the lake streets is jarring and painful.

“We have several grandkids; I would like to enjoy a walk with them when they come over,” Freddie Burnett said.

When the Burnetts drove a golf cart on Lakeshore Drive, Park and Lake Director Steve Hudson told them that driving the cart at the lake was illegal.

Ed Burnett later asked Sheriff Robert Craft what he needed to do to make the vehicle legal. Craft replied to Burnett that because the cart was not constructed as a street-legal vehicle it would never be legal.

The commission was willing to allow golf carts at the lake under a few conditions. Carts are for disabled residents only and must be equipped with a visible handicapped sticker or tag, the driver must be at least 21 years old, and the carts cannot be driven at night.

“We’re concerned about the percentage of people who say, ‘If they can do it, why can’t I?’” Commissioner Randy Dallke said.

The commission refrained from any decision Thursday because Craft was unavailable to discuss the legality of the issue.

Payments

Marion County Commission approved and signed $702,819.45 worth of payments to county employees Thursday.

The county collected $54,028.96 of sales tax with $5,668.76 resulting from compensation use tax.

With commissioners examining expenses from the month, questions were raised about certain costs.

The fee paid to Hannaford Abstract and Title Company was $12,025 this past year, significantly higher than the usual amount around $9,000, clerk Carol Maggard said.

The title company collects information and research on tax sale properties for the county. When property owners do not pay taxes, the county takes control of the property and sells it at an auction to recoup the losses from unpaid taxes.

“If we spend $12,000, are we getting $3,000 on the sale?” Commissioner Roger Fleming asked.

Commissioner Dan Holub said property owners used to buy back property at a depreciated price at auctions because it was less expensive than paying taxes. Under the direction of County Attorney Susan Robson, the commission determined that people with unpaid taxes could not bid on property.

The commission said the fee from Hannaford’s might have increased because of more tax sales this year or because of a rate increase. They asked Robson to investigate the reason for the difference.

Fleming also asked about cell phones, lodging reimbursement, and decals for vehicles but those expenses were determined to not exceed normal costs.

In other business:

  • The commission also talked with Hudson about his duties at Marion County Lake. Commissioners were concerned that Hudson was working too much — about 50 to 60 hours a week. “I don’t think that’s fair to you or the county,” Dallke said. Commissioners proposed the idea of adding another part-time employee at the lake during the summer, but did not make a decision on the issue. “We’re bellow minimum staff,” Holub said.
  • Amendments to the K-work — the county’s worker compensation company — bylaws were approved.
  • Payment of $450 for the commissioners to attend the Kansas County Commissioners Association conference May 4 in Wichita was approved.
  • Road and Bridge director Jim Herzet told the commission that the department had drilled 5-foot deep sections of 330th Road every 900 feet between Tampa and K-15. The core drilling is the first step in the road project. “We’ll know how to stabilize it,” Herzet said.
  • Herzet also told commissioners that leases for three large motor graders end in May. To purchase any one of the large graders, Herzet said it would cost the county between $140,000 and $180,000. The Commission asked Herzet to write up separate options to discuss the graders at a future meeting.

The next commission meeting will be April 11.

Last modified April 7, 2011

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