County refunds part of zoning fee

News editor

Marion County Commission voted Monday to refund part of a fee the City of Marion had paid for a permit application.

County Planning and Zoning Director Richards told the commission she had received a letter from the City of Marion withdrawing an application for a conditional use permit and requesting a refund of any “unused” portion of the $200 application fee.

Richards said there had been several material costs already incurred processing the application, as well as a lot of time spent. She calculated the unused portion of the fee, without charging for county employee time, was $71.94. Commissioner Randy Dallke said he was OK with refunding the entire $200 fee, despite the county having to pay the full fee for a radio tower permit to the city after earlier paying for a permit for the new jail.

“We are big enough to step in and take a look at it,” Dallke said.

The commission voted 2-1 to give the $71.94 refund. Dallke was opposed.

Permit fee for small sheds slashed

The commission voted to reduce the county building permit fee for structures 120 square feet or smaller from $50 to $10.

Richards said she had received several complaints about charging the $50 fee for small structures, such as garden sheds, particularly from residents at Marion County Lake and Eastshore. Before the change Monday, all accessory structures had a $50 fee.

Commissioners discussed several possible ways to differentiate between structures that need to pay the higher fee and those that qualify for a lower fee before settling on a 120-square foot maximum. At first, they discussed a 200-square foot maximum, then commissioner Roger Fleming suggested the difference could be whether the structure has a permanent foundation, but the commission settled on square footage being the determining factor.

Work should improve communications to Peabody, Florence

The commission approved spending $2,933 for repairs on communications equipment in Peabody that connects dispatch to Peabody Fire Department and ambulance. Equipment had degraded, Emergency Communications Interim Director Linda Klenda said.

The commission delayed approval of $3,613 for similar work in Florence. The commission wants to know if moving the location of the radio repeater will improve the connection in Florence before approving expense to repair equipment.

In other business:

  • Commissioners met with structural engineer Don McMican to discuss work that may be needed on the courthouse. McMican has done a study of Douglas County Courthouse in Lawrence, which is similar. After examining the courthouse Monday, he said most of the stonework is in relatively good condition, although some stones will need replaced. He also said the pointing on the building was done with too hard of mortar, which has trapped moisture and caused some problems.
  • The Appraiser’s Department will pay $4,600 for a map layer showing the location of oil and gas wells — active, abandoned, and plugged — to be created for the county’s geographic information system. Appraiser Cindy Magill said the map would be useful for emergency management.
  • Magill met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The commission met in closed session for 35 minutes to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Marion Country Club’s Class B club license was renewed, effective Jan. 1.
  • The county clerk’s office will purchase two new computer workstations from GHA for $1,382 each. Great Plains Computers & Networking in Marion bid $1,572 or $1,424, and CDWG big $1,161. The winning bid was chosen because the computers from GHA had twice the hard drive space of the other choices.
  • Storm spotter training will be at 6:30 p.m. March 4 at USD 408 Performing Arts Center in Marion.
  • Marion County will have to pay $1 per ton more to send garbage to Butler County Landfill starting July 1. That will raise the cost to $35 per ton.
  • The transfer station will purchase four skid steer tires from Setco Tire for $1,064 each. Other bids included $766 or $900 each from Rod’s Tire in Hillsboro or $1,020 from Cross Midwest Tire, but the solid rubber tires are hoped to last longer, Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said.
  • The commission instructed Schmidt to seek a quote for a new spraying rig for the Noxious Weed Department’s spraying truck. A motor on the current sprayer unit has gone out, and parts aren’t available for it. The current sprayer was purchased 16 years ago, Schmidt said.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 27.

 

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