Commissioners approve funding for child advocacy work in county

The Marion County Com?mission heeded a call for help Monday from Suzanne Robinson, county attorney legal secretary, during a time of fiscal shortage by giving $250 to Child Advocacy Legal Services for cases involving physical, mental and child development.

The commissioners, voting 3-0 to allocate the money, said they want Robinson to return if the agency?s deficit, created because of declines in state funding, continues to hamper its function.

CALS is serving 84 children in Marion County, Robinson said.

County Attorney Susan Robson joined Robinson in describing the program, which removes children from dangerous situations to give them help through the legal system.

Robinson said it gives children a secure situation for questioning where they can talk to a representative while relaxing with coloring books and stuffed animals while being watched and listened to through a one-way window glass by other officials.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said commissioners had little advance knowledge of the program, and they want to be kept aware of needs.

Commissioner Dan Holub said, ?We need to get it on our budget for next year.?

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the commissioners need to consider sources of funding after Robson replied ?no? to his question on whether the commission would be free to use confiscated illegal drug money.

The commissioners met with Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman to discuss how her program might be revised with economic changes over time to promote businesses that are already here.

Dallke said the logic that created Huffman?s program a decade ago under a former commission reflected an era ?when there appeared to be a lot of gold out there? in regard to companies that might move to Marion County.

He said times have changed with more reluctance to build endeavors in new areas.

Communities such as Hillsboro, Marion and Pea?body already have their own economic directors, Dallke said, but the county also needs to ask what it can do to help businesses in smaller communities. He cited Donahue Trailers at Dur?ham as an example..

The commissioners also discussed the advance of information technology and a possible need to hire someone to keep departments current with programming.

They agreed there is a need to see how other counties handle it.

Fleming asked County Clerk Tina Spencer to help identify counties that might be able to counsel Marion County on how to proceed with a such a staff person.

The commissioners approved the purchase of a basic mapping computer program for the Waste Manage?ment, Planning and Zoning office and director Tonya Richards.

The program, which costs $1,300 for multi-department use, would be capable of locating geologic sites, wells, waste systems, lateral fields and other features.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency formerly only approved purchase of a $7,900 system, but then determined that a county with smaller needs can do so with a smaller system, Richards said.

The commissioners approved Sheriff Rob Craft raising hourly wages for four part-time officers to $12 an hour.

Acting Emergency Medical Services Director Joan Knak reported 104 ambulance runs during August. They included 23 runs from Peabody, five from Florence, 35 from Marion, 35 from Hillsboro and six from Tampa. She also reported two first-responder runs from Tampa, one from Burns and two from Goessel.

The road and bridge department received approval to use its track-hoe to install rock, purchased by the city of Peabody, behind a retaining wall on Spring Creek south of the city where it was washed out.

The commissioners also voted to the department to install stop signs on 310th by Centre High School, at the southwest corner of 180th and Falcon, and at the northeast corner of 180th and Falcon.

Commissioners are considering gravel surfacing to allow all-weather school bus transportation for on 210th a half mile west of Kansas Highway 15.

The commissioners decided to hold $205,299 allocated to road and bridge by FEMA for damages during August 2013 flooding. The commissioners noted they are free to allocate the funds to uses other than road and bridge if they need to.

The commissioners received a petition from Strassburg Baptist Church asking that the mile of road fronting the church be hard surfaced. They agreed that such a consideration may need to be held until next year.