More rock needed for roads in northern part of county

Staff reporter

Power outages have not only taken a toll on residents but on graveled roads.

With dozens of heavy, utility vehicles using county roads these past couple of weeks to repair electrical lines, more rock will be needed on those roads, reported acting Marion County Public Works Director John Summerville.

He told Marion County Commission Monday that the Florence rock quarry was out of rock but Martin Marietta at Marion could provide the needed supply.

A request was made by resident Ricky Hanschu to rock a mile of road on 370th Road, north of Ramona. Summerville said the road used to be rocked. Traffic related to Hanschu's cattle operation has made it necessary to improve the road with additional rock. Semis, loaded with feed, have been using the road, becoming stuck, and having to be pulled out. It may be necessary to reconstruct the road at a later date.

The road also could be used as an alternate route to and from Ramona when a train blocks access to the town.

In other business:

— The commission reviewed costs and benefits related to the county's neighborhood revitalization plan that reimburses taxpayers a specific percentage of increased taxes when improvements or new constructions are completed.

County appraiser Cindy Magill informed the commission that one misconception of some applicants is that all taxing entities are participating in the program which is not true.

Magill said Marion County Hospital District #1 (St. Luke Hospital), Marion City Library, the City of Hillsboro, the City of Durham, and the state are not participating in the program.

Applicants living within these taxing districts will not receive a full 90 percent rebate on the increased tax amount.

Another concern expressed by Magill and county treasurer Jeannine Bateman was whether there should be limitations on the number of projects one property owner can have in the rebate program.

Magill suggested there be only one project per year and before another project could be approved, the first project has to be completed.

Additional language needs to be added to the conditions of the program to allow for natural disasters. If property owners receive funding following a natural disaster, such as a tornado, then they cannot qualify for the program.

Research also has indicated that the county cannot require applicants to purchase materials locally.

Currently the application fee is $25 for the 10-year program. Magill suggested the fee increase to $100 per application. The administration fee would stay the same at five percent.

As part of the program, homeowners have to make a $5,000 investments and the property has to increase five percent in order to receive a rebate.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he would be in favor of increasing application fees but only to cover actual expenses.

Magill explained that her department is required to check the property twice a year, summer and fall. Commission chairman Randy Dallke asked if the employees were checking the property only for the program or for other reasons. Magill responded it was valuation purposes.

Dallke said he thought the appraiser's department could decrease the trips to one to save time and money.

Magill continued that a new position may have to be created if multiple projects are allowed.

The commission will further discuss the issue in the future.

The next commission meeting is at 9 a.m. Dec. 31 at the courthouse.

Blood drive planned for Dec. 31

The Marion blood drive will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 31 at Eastmoor United Methodist Church, 105 Eastmoor.

Call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543) to schedule an appointment.

Free Red Cross T-shirts will be given to all who come to donate.