The Marion County Commission Monday approved new county jail tours open to the public from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.
Sheriff Rob Craft said he hopes logistical problems such as completing telephone hookups in the jail are complete by then to enable his office to begin moving jail prisoners into the new jail as soon as possible after the tours.
Because 911 emergency communications won’t be able to move to the new facility at the same time as the sheriff’s office because of the lack of a communications tower, Craft said he will look at options for uninterrupted service until the emergency communications tower is approved and built. The tower is pending an appeals process in the city of Marion.
Craft said sheriff’s officers are dependent on emergency communications in many cases, and it would be impractical for the two departments to be totally separated.
The problem also involves security logistics, Craft said, on how to handle backup officers if a jailer has to go into the prisoners’ area.
In a separate emergency communications issue, the commissioners said they will arrange meetings Thursday with the Dickinson Commission, and in September with the Herington city officials to discuss handling future 911 calls such as occurred this month when a Marion County ambulance was called to an accident in Marion County south of Herington, when emergency personnel in Dickinson County and in neighboring communities might have been closer.
Acting Communications Director Linda Klenda said it is active protocol for dispatchers to call the ambulance service primarily designated as responsible for the area in an accident, although she acknowledged that other emergency providers might be closer to the scene.
Following a suggestion from Lincolnville Ambulance Director Lester Kaiser and Klenda, the commissioners said they wanted a system developed for nearby ambulance services simply to announce, “We’re available,” without any further interference.
Commissioner Roger Fleming said, “It shouldn’t be a situation where dispatch asks someone to respond if they know another unit is closer.”
Commissioner Randy Dallke said there already is a system in the south part of the county for Marion County units to respond to Harvey County calls if they are closer to the scene until Harvey County units can come, if necessary, to take over.
Such arrangements should be made with all neighboring counties, he said.
Carrie Smith and Stephanie Berry of Herington said cooperation between the counties is vital as exemplified by an accident involving young people this month.
The commissioners approved Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt moving a recyclable waste Dumpster not being used to capacity from Ramona to Goessel.
Schmidt said that as handling of recyclable wastes continues to become more profitable, he expects existing recycling companies to eventually take over such functions from the counties.
Jack Chappelle of Engineering Solutions and Design, consultant to the county on the landfill closure southwest of Marion, said that with pending completion of the new landfill northeast of McPherson, he would expect a three-way cooperation in the future where McPherson County takes care of solid municipal waste, Harvey County takes care of recyclables, and Marion County takes care of construction and demolition waste.
The commissioners accepted Chappelle’s directions for reducing Kansas Department of Health and Environment inspection requirements at the closed landfill by approving purchase of an MX4 detector for monitoring of methane released.
Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford said he has been notified by Kirkham Michael Company consulting engineers that new road materials for overlays will be made from a Newton plant Sept. 17.
Crawford said his department will put a 3-inch casing for installation of a 1.5-inch water service line for Gray Hamm near 140th and Timber.
Richard Nickel of The Insurance Center in Hillsboro, presented the county a check for $11,061 as its share among a group of counties for insurance reimbursement due to good safety records.
The commissioners asked companies bidding for fence construction at Marion County Lake to resubmit bids Friday because original bidding didn’t include insurance specifications as required by the state.
Due to recent rain, the commissioners decided not to extend a burn ban in the county.
The commissioners called an executive session to discuss business details in regard to the reported sale of the former Arlie’s body shop by the city of Marion.
The commissioners asked Health Administrator Director Diedre Serene to delay acceptance of a $14,528 KDHE grant until late this week to see if it would require increased county employee hours paid for by the county if the grant was discontinued.
Serene said the same grant was accepted last year for a lower amount of $13,859.
The commissioners also met in executive sessions for personnel for 10 minutes with Crawford and for 15 minutes with Schmidt.