observer Joan Strickler
All Commissioners present, Kearns presiding.
Bruce McMillan, architect for the Law Enforcement Center, reported the full cost of purchasing and installing a camera to cover the blind spot in the exercise area of the LEC would amount to $5,646. The Commissioners voted to approve the expenditure.
Commissioners discussed the lack of available parking options near the Courthouse for staff, courts and the general public. It was decided that the parking area in front of the Courthouse should be restricted to one hour.
Joe Knopp, an attorney representing a developer, made a request to purchase the County owned parking lot at 5th and Humboldt. County Counselor Clancy Holeman explained that Kansas law requires that counties give public notice of any intent to sell property worth $50,000 or more. Bidding must be open to the public. Commissioner McCulloh noted the limited availability of parking space currently available. In response to Mr. Knopp’s suggestion that the bid be limited in such a way as to restrict it for a special purpose, Commissioner Kearns said he would not be comfortable with any effort to restrict public input into such a matter.
Clancy Holeman introduced Marion County Commissioner, Dan Holub. Holub spoke of a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline now under construction in Kansas. The goal is to pipe oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. There are six counties in Kansas affected by the project; Marion, Dickinson, Butler, Clay, Washington and Cowley. The counties did not find out until 2008 that they will be unable to collect property taxes on the Keystone pipeline project for 10 years due to a tax exemption voted by the Legislature in 2006. Marion County would receive $3,823,923 in tax revenue without that exemption. Holub said Kansas is the only state to grant such an exemption of the multiple states involved. He understands that Rep. Carl Holmes was responsible for granting the exemption. Rep. Holmes is chair of the energy and utilities committee, not the committee on taxation.
Commissioner Kearns noted Riley County is pushing for a review of all tax exemptions and agreed to talk to the local legislative delegation about the situation. Holub said Marion County will support the request for the review.