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Tempers flare during commission meeting

Staff writer

Monday’s county commission meeting was like watching an old Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots game.

Commissioner Randy Dallke complained that lake resident Garry Dunnegan had cut a tree and dumped rocks at Marion County Park and Lake, and Dallke wanted the county to press charges against him.

He also had harsh words for commissioner Dianne Novak, saying he’d gotten a text saying Novak allegedly gave Dunnegan permission to do so, without discussing the matter with other commissioners.

Novak denied having given Dunnegan permission to cut a tree and dump rocks. She said she gave permission for him to spread grass seed.

Novak said she believes people who want to beautify the lake should be permitted to do so. Nevertheless, she contended, trees at the lake need attention.

“Those dead trees that are laying in the lake are a menace and nobody is doing anything,” Novak said.

Dallke argued Novak should not have even talked to Dunnegan.

“We come here to do business. Nobody is to be a lone coyote,” Dallke said. “Do you understand the idea of working on a board?”

Novak said commissioners are equals and that Dallke does not get to tell the others what to do.

Still hot, Dallke fired another volley.

“Do we have a code of ethics for this board? I think we should,” he said.

“I think we’re going down a road that we should not go down, and we should have this discussion in private,” county counselor Susan Robson said.

“We can’t do that,” Dallke said. “We need to do it right here.”

Dallke said if charges were not going to be pressed, he would settle for sending Dunnegan a letter about the matter.

Novak said Dallke handles matters directly with county residents instead of talking to the board.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dallke retorted.

Commissioner-elect Kent Becker, who will be seated on county commission April 3, asked if a lake board still exists.

Dallke said the board has disbanded.

“At this time, the Chat and Dine Club is the closest thing to a board and maybe they could come talk to the commission,” Dallke said.

Dallke suggested putting up a fence between Dunnegan’s property and county property.

Novak said that idea seemed spiteful to her.

“I just want you to bring it to the board,” Dallke told her.

“Randy, you do it all the time. Give me a break,” Novak said.

Dallke moved to send Dunnegan a letter, but the motion died for lack of a second.

“It’s a very important thing to me and to my supervisor out there, Mr. Steve Hudson,” Dallke said.

Dallke’s temper flared again when Novak brought up a road closure discussed since June 2016 when a petition to close the road was presented by seven residents.

Novak said the issue of Limestone Rd. needs to be resolved.

“It’s been hanging on and hanging on and hanging on forever,” Novak said. “I’d like to get it open.”

Novak showed photos of crops growing in the county right of way on the road and said farmers with property along the road are gaining about six acres of extra land for crops.

Lalouette said closing the road doesn’t take away the county’s liability, and she’d rather see the road fixed.

“This has already been voted on and taken care of,” Dallke said.

Robson said she would have to find out if a vote to close the road was sufficient without a resolution.

Novak moved to keep the road open have the road and bridge department make needed repairs. Lalouette seconded.

“Motion to override what this commission has already done,” Dallke said. “It’s a sad day.”

Dallke told Lalouette that she wasn’t at commission meeting when he and Holub voted to close the road.

“I don’t know why you always feel you have to degrade her,” Novak told Dallke.

The petition to close Limestone Rd., presented in June by Terril Eberhard, sought the closure of a one-mile section of Limestone Rd. between 80th Rd. and US-50.

At the July 11, 2016 meeting, former commissioner Dan Holub and Dallke voted to pay the cost of publication of intent to close the road and associated postage costs, with landowners to pay for gates and related supplies. Lalouette was absent from the meeting.

A public hearing took place Oct. 17. Shane Rives said during the hearing that Limestone Rd. is the most direct access to his property. Rives said his property value would suffer from a closure, and offered to pay for needed road repairs himself. After Rives left the meeting, Dallke moved two times to close the road but consider reopening it. Both motions died for lack of a second. Dallke ‘s third motion, to close the road in 60 days unless Rives presents an engineering study and agrees to pay for the road repair, passed 2 to 0, with Lalouette absent.

On Dec. 19, 2016, commissioners voted to close the road, but no resolution was ever passed.

The matter arose again at a Dec. 30 meeting because no one had been in contact with Rives about an engineering study, and then at a Feb. 17 meeting during which commissioners agreed to further review information before additional action.

Last modified March 22, 2017

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