County seeks way to combat CKC

Staff reporter

Marion County Noxious Weed Director Rollin Schmidt reported Monday to Marion County Commission that Central Kansas Conservancy (CKC) had paid for two years' worth of noxious weed spraying on railroad rights-of-way but only because they were delinquent and had been added to the tax roll.

At that time, Schmidt said the CKC paid property taxes for the railroad property and since then landowners are responsible for all property taxes.

After further review and thought, Schmidt said he would be opposed to any type of contract between the county and CKC regarding noxious weed control because the organization no longer pays the taxes and the ultimate responsibility would fall on the landowners.

Representatives of the CKC had met with the commission at the April 7 meeting, which continued to convolute the issue of a walking trail across Marion County. At that meeting, Schmidt had stated that the CKC was in arrears with the county. Since that meeting, Schmidt had researched the situation and found that the delinquent bill had been paid through the treasurer's office and was not aware of the payment.

However, the noxious weed responsibility issue remains, and the organization's seemingly disinterest in following federal and state statutes in maintaining the rights-of-way continues to frustrate the county.

Commissioner Dan Holub suggested CKC hire its own contractor to spray the weeds.

Holub continued that CKC seems to be cooperating in McPherson County because there is an established bike trail.

"They don't have any investment in Marion County," Holub said.

City of Marion Administrator David Mayfield had been contacted and asked by Holub if there was a contract between the CKC and the city as CKC attorney Mike Mills had stated at the previous commission meeting. Mayfield responded there was no agreement.

The commission, albeit commissioner Randy Dallke who was absent, determined it was time to explore options in dealing with CKC. County attorney Susan Robson will be asked to attend the April 30 meeting to discuss those options.

"We've got people from Sedgwick County (who own trailers at the county lake trailer park) who are upset about their view at the county lake and are against development there, and now we've got people from McPherson County trying to control 200 acres in Marion County," Holub said. He continued that the county needs to take a stand against CKC and protect county landowners.

In other business:

— Acting county public works director John Summerville reported that the price of road rock had increased 25 cents, the second increase in less than six months. The price per ton now is $7.25.

— Recycling programs and road projects will be discussed at the next commission meeting when all commissioners are in attendance.

— Acting county public works director John Summerville was instructed to send a $450 bill to a sub-contractor after employees of that company damaged 340th Road, west of Quail Creek. Summerville reported that a company truck had driven on the mud road to pick up electric poles that were left after the last ice storm and damaged the road to the point of needing more rock.

— The commission signed a fencing agreement with Marlin Bartel regarding the construction of a waterway fence through a county right-of-way.