County workers must meet same requirements for flu shots

You may not be able to walk into the Marion County Health Department to get a flu shot this year.

Diedre Serene, health department administrator, reported to the Marion County Commission Monday that her office has enough flu vaccine for 1,500 injections.

The health department will likely be the only source for flu shots in the county because of a national shortage of vaccine. At-risk people will have priority. (See Page 1.)

Eighty-three county employees received flu shots at the county’s own clinic last year. But Serene said although county employees can gather at their clinic next week, they still will be screened to see if they meet criteria for a shot like everyone else.

Commissioner Howard Collett asked Serene if the virus this year is expected to be above average in virulence.

She said, “It’s expected to be a very bad year.”

The county health department and all the other health providers in the county will go on a waiting list to receive more vaccinations in a state distribution, Serene said.

Delinquent taxes

County Clerk Carol Maggard provided commissioners with a list of property owners who, together, owe $24,326 in 2003 delinquent taxes, including extra charges for interest and publication expense.

She affirmed Collett’s question as to whether the list could include personal property such as mobile homes and boats.

Statue lighting

The commissioners approved lighting of the new 28th Civilian Conservation Corps statue at Marion County Lake with installation of line and light to be tied into the flag pole lighting by a statue committee at their expense. Electricity will be paid for by the county.

Collett said the additional lighting would be a minor cost for the county because the existing bill for street lighting around the lake runs about $1,000 a month.

Dale Snelling, park superintendent at the lake, said the new electrical line through a conduit pipe would run less than 20 feet with the light probably mounted on a “cement box.” He guessed the project would cost the committee less than $100.

He suggested that the commission in the next two years might want to consider the addition of a handicapped-access sidewalk around the statue, perhaps with a flower bed to enhance the site.

Although an inquiry seems to indicate county insurance will cover the statue, Collett suggested lighting may help by inhibiting vandalism.

He said the county already has to deal with things such as vehicle and paint damage to signs.

Other business

Snelling said he has received notice from the state that dam inspection at the lake will need to be completed by April.

Commissioner Bob Hein said the county should keep the same engineer previously employed with the dam on the subject of flood plain damage control by mitigating possibilities of structure failure.

The commissioners appointed Hein as county delegate for state workman’s compensation insurance meetings.

They awarded a bid for $1,937.60 to Dick’s Business Machines of Emporia for 80 cases of 8.5×11 copy paper over competitive bids from Navrat’s of Emporia, McCune Paper Co. of Salina, Sunflower Office Products of Newton, and Baker Bros. Printing of Hillsboro.

The commissioners approved a single bid from Fleming Seamless Guttering of Newton for $1,159 to clean and repair courthouse eaves guttering, and replace jail guttering with leaf covers to be installed.

Maggard said that when Fleming inspected courthouse guttering for bid, its representative took the time to remove broken shingles and “wadded” sheet metal that were keeping water from draining.

The commissioners approved raising Emergency Medical Services Director Darryl Thiesen’s pay as agreed to after one year, but declined to raise pay further to align with other county pay increases until ambulance billings are current.

The commissioners approved an idea from Acting Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet presented by Transfer Station Manager David Brazil that he be allowed, at his discretion on practicality, to remove metal from the old landfill southwest of Marion to be sold through the transfer station.

The commissioners considered using county tractors rather than renting ones for mowing at the landfill to avoid liability for damage from hitting junk. They noted that road and bridge personnel doing the work will need to be careful to avoid tire punctures.

The commissioners voted to allow transfer station work to begin on a “pyramid-shaped” concrete-filled trash compactor.

They signed off on a Neosho River Watershed Basin agreement provided by Brazil, in his functions as county sanitarian, and planning and zoning director, that might provide funding to help water and soil conservation measures.

Brazil provided commissioners with copies of planning and zoning regulations that were approved after a Sept. 23 hearing with only minor changes in wording.

Maggard presented a treasurer’s report that showed the county’s cash position Sept. 30 at $5,779,293 with $104,680 in checking accounts, $2,137,104 in money market accounts, and $3,525,000 in certificates of deposit.

The report showed interest earned by the county this year has averaged $5,946 monthly with $53,514 accumulated as of June 30.

Thiesen reported 95 ambulance calls for September, 31 from Hillsboro, 40 from Marion, 21 from Peabody and three from Tampa.

They included 18 transfers, 12 cardiacs, 23 medical emergencies, six stand-bys, 11 vehicle accidents, 15 no transfers and four rescue truck.

First-responder calls included two from Goessel, three from Lincolnville and one from Burns.

Thiesen said he has had an “overwhelming” response from county employees who want to take a county-sponsored CPR class, enough for more than one session with perhaps a separate day for just road and bridge personnel.

He said aircraft accident rescue training for EMTs had proven valuable last week with instructions “where not to cut” outlining fuel line routes to propellers.

The commissioners signed papers to enable receipt of funds from the state for the EMT class training at Peabody. Thiesen said members of that class are going on ambulance runs.

The commissioners approved a bid of $77.02 a gallon for 100 gallons of tordon herbicide for the noxious weed department from Ag Service of Hillsboro over a bid of $79.95 a gallon from Markley Service at Marion.

Milton Lowmaster of the engineering firm of Cooke, Flatt and Strobel, reported to commissioners that, in inspections this year, 63 Marion County bridges rated in the “good” range of 80 to 100 percent sufficiency, 20 in the “fair” range of 50 to 80 percent sufficiency, and three in the “poor” range of 50 percent or less sufficiency.

Lowmaster said the insufficient bridges to be scheduled for replacement include two built in the 1940s and one built in the 1930s.

He said Kansas has 19,702 county bridges with 14,000 of them rated in the “good” category.

Collett asked Lowmaster to study how many Marion County bridges at replacement time could be replaced with two 10-foot culvert boxes as an alternative to more expensive bridges.

The commissioners signed an updated county agreement for road maintenance with the Kansas Department of Transportation for revising terms from previous agreements signed in 1951 and 1975.

They closed the session after a five-minute executive session with Herzet for personnel with no action afterward.

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