Weekend rain showers don’t douse burn ban

Weekend rain showers were not sufficient to end the threat of rural fires.

Acting Monday on the unanimous recommendation of county fire department chiefs, the Marion County Board of Commissioners extended the county-wide burn ban for at least another week.

If anything, said Darryl Thiessen, director of Marion County Emergency Medical Services, the light rain may have made it more difficult to fight rural fires because the top layer of soil is soft and slick while the grass itself is still dry and vulnerable.

Vehicle purchase

The three commissioners, responding to bids for two new patrol cars for the sheriff’s offices from the three Hillsboro auto dealers, opted to set aside its low-bid policy to compare the quality of the cars the three dealers presented for county review.

Irv Schroeder County Motors had submitted the low bid of $19,491 for a 2006 Impala. Hillsboro Ford’s bid of $21,185 was for a 2006 Crown Victoria and Wright’s Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep’s bid of $24,186 2006 Dodge Charger.

The commissioners, noting that a previously Impala will be delivered shortly, voted 2-0 to pay one car from Hillsboro Ford and one from Wright’s as a way to see how each of the three models hold up.

Commissioners Dan Holub and Randy Dallke voted in favor of the split purchase while Commissioner Bob Hein, who is a salesman for Irv Schroeder Country Motors, abstained from the vote but said, “When you bid, you take the low bid because of tax money.”

Prior to the vote, Doug Wright, owner of Wright’s Chrysler, Plymouth Dodge Jeep, said he was “shocked” the other two dealers hadn’t sent a representative to speak for their products.

He read off an account of the repairs done over the past two years on sheriff’s department vehicles purchased from the other two Hillsboro dealers and suggested the Charger he was offering, although more costly, could prove to be more economical over the long haul.

“You’re going to spend more money now, but the money you’re going to spend on repairs will be less,” Wright said.

Sheriff Lee Becker, comparing Wright’s proposal to the justice center being proposed by the county, said cheapest may not always be the best.

“We were asking Doug to believe in the the judicial center (proposal) even though it wasn’t the ‘cheapest,'” Becker said. “I feel I need to listen to him, too, when it comes to his proposal.”

Holub said he had some reservation about not following the commission’s low-bid practice, but noted that all three dealers were from Marion County. He seconded Dallke’s motion to split the purchase with the two higher bidders, noting the “ideal opportunity” to test the three models concurrently.

Dallke added his support for the three-car comparison. “We’re not spending bottom-dollar for taxes, but I’m hoping we can justify this in the future,” he said.

EMS report

Thiessen said the EMS department made 77 ambulance runs during February. Hillsboro had the most with 36, followed by Marion with 21, Florence eight, Peabody seven and Tampa five.

Goessel first responders made four runs, Lincolnville two and Durham one. Rescue trucks in both Florence and Marion each made one run.

Thiessen, noting that seven of the eight standby runs made by ambulance crews last month occurred in Hillsboro, said he would check whether policy dictates that the city of Hillsboro covers the cost of expenses for standby runs it requires each time the fire department is called to respond.

Thiesen said the Centre school district will soon be receiving the portable resuscitation device each of the other school districts in the county already have on site. He said he will be training Centre staff to use the device later this month.

Other business

In other matters, the commission:

following a prolonged discussion, approved resolutions formalizing two components of the county zoning regulations while deferring another component back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration.

The components approve deal with regulations about building homes on existing home sites. The two sent back for further review involve road assessment fees and flood-zone restrictions.

authorized David Brazil, director of planning, zoning, environmental health and the transfer station, to seek bids for a high-pressure washer and new garage doors at the transfer station.

agreed to talk with Dale Snelling, Marion County Park & Lake director, about an inquiry from lake residents that they be represented on the six-member board that oversees the operation of the lake and park.

Currently, two members of the board are selected from each of the three districts within the county; the lake director is a non-voting member.

accepted a bid of $41,825 from Krause Welding of Hillsboro for steel required for two bridge projects. Only one bid was submitted.

heard William Anderson had been hired recently as a bridge specialist for the Road & Bridge Department.

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