County looks at different approach for public works

Staff reporter

Since there weren't suitable applicants for the position of Marion County Public Works Director, Marion County Commission discussed options Monday regarding the management of the road and bridge department.

Commissioner Dan Holub suggested restructuring the department, dividing responsibilities among the supervisors.

"I don't want to just fill a position with a body," he said. Holub continued that he knows it's been a struggle for the department but it has survived.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he would like to try a different approach.

"There are professional services we could pay for but we'd have to pay more," he said. "I don't know who to go to investigate this."

Holub said maybe the work load could be divided up "in house."

"I want to work on Marion County roads five or 10 years from now. That's where we're failing," Dallke said. "I know there's an immediate need but I want to look to the future. We need someone in that position to plan the future."

Holub said maybe the county needed someone for the day-to-day operations and another person as a planner.

A work session with acting public works director John Summerville and members of the road and bridge department was scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday in the commission room.

In other business:

— A homeowner who lives near the county shop in Marion asked the county to erect a fence around its property because she found it to be offensive. The commission discussed the possibility of installing a six-foot chain link or wooden fence but when it was noted that the individual's house was for sale, the commission tabled any improvements.

— Assistant city clerk Tina Spencer reported that the appeals for the seasonal solid waste charges have been prepared and will be sent to those who have applied in the past.

The deadline for the appeals to be returned to the county is Aug. 31.

— The commission signed an interlocal agreement with Lehigh regarding assistance with law enforcement and enforcement of nuisance ordinances.

Dallke said he has heard comments that some towns are asking why smaller towns are being given the service when they are paying for a police department.

"They are saying maybe they should do away with their police department and let the county do it," he said.

Holub said the agreement was to help smaller towns with dog and trash ordinances.

— County lake superintendent Steve Hudson reported that the blue grass festival was a success with enough money being raised to pay all expenses.

— Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has donated two floating fish feeders to the county lake.

— Hudson reported that lake regulations for mobile home owners state that dwellers cannot have washers or dryers because it uses a large amount of electricity. He said he was aware of several owners who have the appliances. The commission told Hudson to resolve the issue.