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Utilities cost may stall cabin plans

Staff writer

The cost of digging a trench for utility lines could be a barrier to building rental cabins at Marion County Park and Lake, siblings Chris and Tamra Holub told Marion County Commission on Monday.

They, along with sisters Heather and Molly, are proposing building cabins on county-owned land at the west end of the lake. Commissioner Dan Holub, the siblings’ father, recused himself from the discussion.

The cost to extend utilities to the cabins is estimated at $30,000, Chris Holub said. If utility companies have to dig through rock to install lines, that cost could skyrocket to a point they couldn’t complete the project, he said. He asked the commission to consider having the county dig the trench, which could reduce costs considerably. He said the siblings would be willing to pay the county’s expenses for that work.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he wasn’t certain the county has equipment adequate to dig through rock. Additionally, rocking a parking lot has been about the extent of help the commission has offered to others who have proposed building cabins at the lake.

Dallke said he wanted to hear from Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet about the costs involved before making a decision. He said he hoped to have a decision for the Holubs next week.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming asked if they had any planned restrictions on who could rent cabins.

They plan to have an age requirement, provided it meets legal muster, Tamra Holub said. They aren’t interested in having a bunch of high school students have a party in the cabins.

Dallke said he has only heard one constituent opposed to the project: a longtime trailer court tenant.

Lake resident Gordon Pendergraft said another lake resident told him they were concerned that guests might not take as good of care of the lake and surrounding area as residents.

Marion County Planning Commission will address planning requirements in a hearing at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 24. A Thursday hearing was canceled because of a lack of a quorum.

In other business:

  • The county received a $52,752 check from TransCanada to repair damage to Quail Creek Road incurred during Keystone Pipeline construction.
  • County attorney employee Karen Selznick received a longevity pay increase from $2,836 to $2,882 per month for 15 years of service.
  • 911 dispatcher Kenneth Newell received a longevity pay increase from $14.34 to $14.89 per hour for 10 years of service.
  • Road and Bridge Department employee Mark Heiser received a longevity pay increase from $2,261 to $2,355 per month for 10 years of service.
  • Road and Bridge Department sign foreman Dennis Maggard received a longevity pay increase from $2,829 to $2,935 per month for 20 years of service.
  • Road and Bridge Department office manager Beverly Cooper received a longevity pay increase from $2,882 to $2,988 per month for 25 years of service.
  • Herzet will seek bids for a laptop computer. A computer is needed to diagnose problems with Caterpillar equipment. Investing in a computer, programming, and training would save the department on service calls. A recent service call from John Deere cost more than $300 just for the fuel charge, Herzet said.
  • Kansas State Research and Extension Agent Rickey Roberts told commissioners that a Dickinson County commissioner who opposed an extension district of the two counties was involved in discussions of joining an existing district with Saline and Ottawa counties. Dallke and Holub said they were still opposed to forming a district, because they don’t want to create another taxing entity.
  • The commission approved continuing Noxious Weed Department’s chemical cost-share program for 2011. The program allows farmers to purchase herbicides at discounted prices from the department or receive vouchers to use at other suppliers. Commissioners approved a maximum of $10,000 to be spent in the program.
  • Noxious weed reports and management plans were approved to be sent to the state.
  • Noxious Weed Department Director Rollin Schmidt will seek bids for a four-wheel-drive, 1-ton pickup truck for spraying duties. The current spraying truck has problems, but Schmidt said with repairs it could last another year.
  • J&L Iron owner Louis Harrison of Hillsboro received approval to recycle electronic waste at his home, 202 E. F St., Hillsboro. His permit application goes to Kansas Department of Health and Environment next.
  • Marion County Transfer Station sent 7,963 tons of solid waste to Butler County Landfill in 2010. Total landfill fees for the year were $240,332. Butler County raised the fee 50 cents per ton for 2011; the county’s agreement allows Butler County to raise the fee up to $1 per ton each year.
  • McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility is studying the costs of establishing a new landfill. Schmidt said he is watching the development, which could reduce county expenses. Marion County is in the same solid waste regional district as McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility.
  • Gary Diepenbrock of rural Lincolnville received approval to put a 70-by-170-foot farm building in the 10-year neighborhood revitalization plan rather than the new five-year plan. He applied in 2010, when the 10-year plan was in effect.
  • The cities of Hillsboro, Lincolnville, and Lost Springs haven’t opted into the county neighborhood revitalization program, nor have 13 of 24 townships. However, five of the 13 townships haven’t had a tax levy in recent years. Commissioners set a deadline of Monday for entities to opt in.
  • Commissioners will tour county facilities Thursday to familiarize Fleming with them.

The next regular commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2011

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