Tree trimming method does not meet approval

Staff reporter

Rural Peabody resident Marilyn Jones sent a letter of complaint to Marion County Commission regarding the way the county road crews trimmed trees.

During Monday's Marion County Commission meeting, the letter was shown to acting public works director John Summerville.

Summerville responded that the county had two options.

"We can leave them (the trees) alone or raise taxes," Summerville said.

He continued that the county does not have the necessary equipment to properly trim the trees. A worker could trim trees with a chain saw from the bucket truck but didn't want to authorize it. Summerville contended it would take his crews all summer to trim trees by using that method.

"By fall you won't notice it," Summerville said. He agreed that the trees weren't attractive but the trimming was beneficial to the roads by allowing the moisture to dissipate and improve visibility for motorists.

In other department business:

The county decided it does not want a state-owned bridge by Florence. Joe Palic of Kansas Department of Transportation had asked the commission to consider assuming ownership of the newer bridge structure which was built before U.S.-77 recently was re-constructed.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he didn't understand why the county should take the bridge since KDOT had rebuilt it several times.

Summerville said, even though the county won't have to replace it for decades, he still didn't want the county to be responsible for the maintenance and inspections, and eventual reconstruction. He continued that a verbal agreement had been made between a former county employee and the state. The commission agreed that future agreements should be made at the commission meeting with the commission instead of verbal agreements with employees.

The Lumberyard of Hillsboro had the low bid for wooden fence posts. The bid was $8.89 each for 100, 4x4x12-foot posts and $10.37 each for 50, 4x4x12-foot posts. Kropf Lumber of Hesston presented a bid of $9.96 and $10.71, respectively.

The commission agreed to provide dirt work if Alexanderwohl Church, near Goessel, paid for a culvert at a church parking lot entrance.

Summerville said church officials had asked the county to provide a culvert for one of the entrances. There are six driveways on the property, and one without a culvert is causing flooding in the church's cemetery. Significant dirt work in the ditch will be required with the culvert, Summerville said.

Commission chairman Bob Hein asked if the culvert would help with the drainage issue. Summerville said it would if dirt work also was completed in the ditch.

The commission and Summerville discussed chip and seal projects for this summer. It was determined that about 16 miles of roads will be chip sealed at an approximate cost of $24,500 per mile. Blacktop costs are approximately $80,000 per mile.

Summerville announced that Brandon Wyss had been hired as an equipment operator I at $1,779 per month.