ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
A variety of county officials came to the Marion County Commission Monday with projected budget carryovers to take into the new year.
But none of them seemed more delighted than the folks from Emergency Medical Services who said that by Dec. 31 they may have $200,000 more than budget expectations, leaving funds available for buying long-needed equipment.
EMT Director Darryl Thiesen and his chief aide, Woody Crawshaw, said their department will have additional funds because of their endurance with new computer technology and budget consultants’ help in collecting three years’ worth of overdue ambulance-call invoices.
The commissioners told Thiesen and Crawford to push ahead with getting bids and making plans for equipment. But they also cautioned them to remember that some funding that enabled the surplus came from other parts of the county budget when the ambulance department was down, and it won’t happen every year.
Thiesen said much of the equipment-such as back-up items that sometimes have to be borrowed, stair-chairs to enable easier loading of patients, and radios-should have been purchased perhaps years earlier.
County Clerk Carol Maggard said carryovers usually are meant to fund departments through January until new money comes in.
Regarding the mail-in county vote on whether to allow casino gambling in the county, Maggard said the first ballots have begun to arrive well before the election’s Dec. 22 closing date.
Maggard said the ballots were mailed to registered voters Friday. She said that any person who didn’t receive a ballot and thinks they should have received one, needs to come to the county clerk’s office as soon as possible.
Such persons usually have forgotten to do something-such as file a change-of-address for voting. Maggard said the voter in this case likely will not be able to vote on the casino question because the deadline to register was Dec. 7. But they will be assisted in filling in updated information to enable them to vote in the next election.
Maggard cautioned voters to remember to sign the outside of the return envelope as is stated in directions because she has to be able to scan the signature for the vote to count.
Thiesen reported 85 ambulance runs for November. Seven came from Florence, 34 from Hillsboro, 26 from Marion, four from Marion backup, 13 from Peabody and one from Tampa.
Those calls included 12 transfers, 13 for cardiac cases, 27 medical emergencies, one standby, 10 motor vehicle accidents, four falls, 17 no-transports and one other.
Five first-response runs came from Goessel.
Thiesen said he continues to work on projects such as getting defibrillators into all schools and national incident management services.
Maggard reported the county’s cash-on-hand position as of Nov. 30 at $6,913,043 with $882,443 in the county general fund and $951,948 in road and bridge.
The commissioners approved a list of Burlington-Northern railroad and road intersections for signals and crossbars by signing an agreement for county provision and maintenance of approach signs as presented by Road and Bridge Supervisor Jim Herzet.
Intersections identified in the south part of the county were Pawnee and 60th and Mustang and 50th.
Herzet said the county agreed to such an arrangement already with Union Pacific in the northern parts of the county. He said the project will be federally funded.
The commissioners approved of Herzet getting bids for materials two bridges, one at Indigo and 250th and the other at Clover and 240th.
The commissioners approved a bid of $6,300 for insulated garage doors with steel on both sides for the county garage and the county noxious weeds building from Eldon’s Door Co. of Newton.
The commissioners welcomed the opportunity as representing a welcome economic development to sign the liquor certificate for Kingfisher’s Restaurant at Marion County Lake. Maggard will collect a $100 county fee for the licensing.
Commissioner Randy Dallke noted that Kingfisher’s is the only business to be certified under county jurisdiction just as in a related alcoholic beverage licensing, Canada Bait is the only business under county jurisdiction to receive a cereal malt beverage license.
Dallke said all other establishments in the county where alcoholic beverages are sold are under jurisdictions of cities.
The commissioners discussed which courthouse windows ought to be replaced first under a Heritage Fund grant. Commissioner Dan Holub suggested the north windows because offices on that end of the building are too cold in winter.
Maggard told the commissioners of an inquiry from Dave Arteberry of George Baum Co. about putting together bond sales to finance a new correctional facility.
Holub said, with seeming agreement from the other commissioners, that there probably will be a future vote on whether to build a correctional facility.
But, with recent announcements that Sedgwick County will build a new jail, and some indication that Saline County will also, the question will have to be reconsidered because part of the customer base for Marion County to be paid keeping other counties’ prisoners may have disappeared.
Commission Chairman Bob Hein’s reappointment of Ervin Ediger of Hillsboro and Dallke’s reappointment of Glen Unrau of Peabody to the planning commission were approved 3-0.
David Brazil, director of all three offices, reported planning and zoning at 92 percent of budget for the year, environmental health at 89 percent, and the transfer station at 73 percent.
Dallke asked Brazil to join him in investigating the possibility of changing taking Marion County waste to another landfill next year if it could be done more cheaply than it is now.
After a 15-minute executive session to discuss appointment of a noxious weed director, Hein announced that a decision has been reached, and if the person accepts the appointment, the name will be announced next week.
The commissioners met again in executive session with employees of the noxious weed department with an announcement that a part-time office worker there won’t work again until after the first of the year.
Members of the public who call will have to leave messages on an answering machine, they said.