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County commissioners agree to clean up 'nuisance'





Ellis County Commissioners, taking a firm stance on a nuisance property in Munjor, are hoping other residents in unincorporated Ellis County communities will understand they are serious about seeing nuisance properties cleaned up.

Commissioners at Monday night's regular meeting voted 2-0 to seek bids for clean up of Jon Jacob's property at 886 280th Ave., Munjor.

Efforts to prompt Jon Jacobs to clean up his property were initiated in May when Ellis County Health Administrator Butch Schyler sent a letter to Jacobs, telling him his property was not in compliance with the county's nuisance resolution code.

After receiving no response from the letter, Schyler reinspected the property June 5, finding no efforts had been made to mow the property or clean up the three "junk" vehicles and solid waste present throughout the property.

The abatement resolution was published in the paper, and delivered to Jacobs by the County Sheriff's Department. In addition, the resolution was posted on Jacob's property June 19, Schlyer said.

"I was out there this morning and nothing has been done," he said. "The situation has really worsened because of the weed growth, 2 or 3 feet high.

"It's a fire hazard."

The question as to what to do with the abated vehicles and solid waste once clean-up of the property gets underway, was debated by commissioners.

Storing the vehicles at the Ellis County Public Works Department, a suggestion offered by County Administrator Greg Sund, would work in the short run but not be a long-term solution, he said.

"Because this is the tip of the iceberg," he said. "When we start down this road, we'll have other ones to clean up, too.

"If the county moves forward with this, it will get people's attention. If we do nothing, it will get attention, too."

Commissioners decided to store the abated property at the county landfill rather than at the public works department. Commissioner Dean Haselhorst said the public works department potentially could look like a salvage yard if abated vehicles are stored there.

"I think we need to lead by example," he said.

In other business, commissioners:

* Approved tenant user liability insurance policy coverage for 2012. The county will put $2,000 toward paying the insurance, then reimburse itself with fees collected from those who rent fairgrounds facilities.

* Heard 2013 formal budget request from County Treasurer Mickey Billinger.

* Voted 2-0 to approve establishment of an archery range at the Ellis County Fairgrounds by Joe Heimann contingent on insurance coverage.

* Were given a report from Sund saying he had received an architectural proposal for remodeling the Commerce Bank building.

* Authorized Sund to seek a contract for financial services from a public finance consultant or attorney for financing a portion of the purchase of the Commerce Bank building and 55th Street radio tower.

* Heard a report from Sund on success of the Kansas Legislative Policy Group in resurrecting a bill to transfer the state's oil and gas depletion trust balance to the benefited counties, including Ellis County, which was vetoed by Gov. Sam Brownback. Because of KLPG's efforts, Sund said Ellis County will receive a check for $848,952.69 and another check for about half that amount in October.

* Commission Chairman Swede Holmgren was absent.