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Residents want better care of roads

Staff writer

Residents of the northwest corner of Marion County told Marion County Commission about their concerns Monday regarding roads near Roxbury and the McPherson County line.

On many of the gravel roads in the area, large rocks have worked their way up to the surface of the road, where they cause problems such as more frequent flat tires and broken windshields.

A 2-mile segment of an 8-mile stretch of road from K-15 west to the county line had sand worked into the road construction as an experiment, and that stretch of the road is much more drivable, the residents said. They asked why the county prefers using rock instead of sand. Commissioner Dan Holub said rock is generally more available in the county, and roads on clay soil are more likely to have a washboard surface if sand is used.

The group also said county road workers continue to grade the roads in the area when it is unnecessary. With the dry summer, roads didn’t need as much grading. The time and money saved by not grading as often could have been used to make other improvements to the road, such as giving ditches a gentler slope.

They asked about the possibility of chip-sealing roads in the area. Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford said cost is an obstacle to chip-sealing. The list of roads planned for chip-sealing in the near future would cost about $750,000, he said.

The commission said the county will try to get sand on the roads to improve the surface.

State reduced appraisal by more than half

Carl and Juanita Stovall of rural Marion presented information about their property appraisal. They live in a metal building that they converted into living quarters, but the county appraiser’s office compared to ranch style and conventional homes for appraisal.

In 2010 it was appraised at $59,850 by the county. In 2011, the county’s appraised value increased to $98,190. When they took their case to the Court of Tax Appeals, the Stovall’s appraised value was lowered to $40,860, 41.6 percent of what the county appraised it.

Holub said the process was a good example of the checks and balances built into Kansas’ appraisal system.

Commissioner Randy Dallke told the Stovalls he wanted more time to read through the folders of documentation they brought with them. They said that was OK, but they wanted them back in about a week.

In other business:

  • Curt Clausen of Midwest Striping Inc. will paint road striping on Nighthawk Road between U.S. 50 and U.S. 56 for $11,126. The route is 12.9 miles long. The commission asked Crawford to investigate the price of a striping machine.
  • Crawford requested a special meeting to prioritize roads for chip-sealing. He will meet with the commission Monday afternoon.
  • The commission approved paying $46,800 to Lloyd Builders for the first portion of work on the new county jail.
  • The county will apply for a grant from the Heritage Trust Fund for $84,000 to replace windows on the north side of the courthouse. The estimated cost of the project is $134,000.
  • Sondra Mayfield of the Health Department will attend a Safe Kids Worldwide conference Nov. 6 through 9 in Charlotte, N.C. There will be no cost to the county.
  • County Clerk Carol Maggard met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini will seek a bid for a ¾-ton truck to pull a department trailer from Hillsboro Ford, which wasn’t among the bids he presented Monday.
  • A nationwide emergency alert test will be conducted between 1 and 2 p.m. Nov. 9.
  • County Attorney Susan Robson said a forensic lab capable of performing autopsies for the county has been found closer than Kansas City. Parcells Forensic Pathology Group in Topeka is comparable in price and closer than a lab the county considered in Kansas City.
  • Robson met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege. No action was taken on return from open session.
  • Noxious Weed Department will sell online a used 2000 Chevrolet 1-ton pickup truck that was used for weed spraying. Its replacement truck needs a new chemical tank and cradle, which will cost $750.
  • The commission requested Robson draft a letter to the Kansas Attorney General asking for opinions on several questions related to eminent domain and the Keystone Oil Pipeline.

The next commission meeting will be Monday morning.

Last modified Oct. 20, 2011

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