Commissioners frustrated with radio-tower delay

Delays in installing a 90-foot-plus emergency communications tower at the new Marion County jail may cost the county many thousands of dollars, plus interfere with law enforcement and emergency efficiency, county officials are saying.

County commissioners at their weekly meeting Monday said they are upset and frustrated with the four citizens with an attorney who have been allowed to delay the installation.

In spite of their frustration, the commissioners were pleased that about 500 citizens came out for tours of the new jail last weekend with many pleased remarks.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he is dismayed the county can be forced to keep the emergency communications center in the old jail open an extra year.

Dan Holub, commission chair, said he is concerned that Marion City Administrator Doug Kjellin has been ?taking a beating? from the public as well as from some members of the Marion City Council for trying to help expedite installation through executive decision.

?Doug did nothing wrong,? Holub said. ?He was just trying to help, and now he?s being trashed. ?We are sitting on a $3 million project, and these people are just trying to make us eat it.?

Commissioner Roger Fleming said he agreed with everything the other two commissioners said about the city and the project.

The three commissioners reiterated findings that if the tower was to be damaged to the point of collapse, it would be all but certain to fall entirely on jail property, making it less hazardous than most power lines.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers is making a detailed study of computer damage after a direct lightning strike to the courthouse Friday that caused nearly freakish displays of power.

Maggard said county employees reported such phenomena afterward as seeing flashes of fire around vents, being shocked by the mouse of a computer and having crackling hair.

She said nobody was injured.

The commissioners discussed locating a storage building on lots not used by the new jail, but said they liked a suggestion by Maggard better, that they locate such a building on the road and bridge maintenance grounds in eastern Marion.

Linda Ogden and Ashlee Gann, on behalf of Families and Communities Together, said receipt of a new U.S. 1st Congressional District $28,273 grant Oct. 1 to be used with $7,500 county matching money will help to reduce alcohol abuse in students in grades seven to 12, with 35 percent of them from low-income families.

Ogden said such a program in Marion County has paid in the past with verified alcohol abuse reduction of at least 5 percent accompanied by automobile accident reductions.

Communications Director Dan D?Albini said ham radio operators representative Russel Grove has been invited to speak to the commissioners about ham radio operators? help in reporting tornado activity.

Emergency personnel and commissioners all reported great cooperation from Dickinson County and the city of Herington in establishing procedures for cooperating on ambulance responses.

Dallke added that residents in the south end of the county have also grown accustomed to cooperation with Harvey County.

The commissioners approved locating a 300-foot telecommunications tower by Excel Towers LLC for ATT that will include multiple antenna transmissions for local use at 320th and Kansas Highway 15 upon recommendation of Planning Director Tonya Richards and the planning commission.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $28,379 for 5,500 gallons of diesel and 2,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline from Cardie Oil of Tampa with no competitive bid due to usual bidder Cooperative Grain of Hillsboro being in annual audit.

Emergency Management Director Steve Smith reported 99 ambulance calls for August including 14 from Peabody, three from Florence, six backup, 38 from Marion, 26 from Hillsboro and 12 from Tampa.

The calls included 15 transfers, seven cardiac, 29 medical emergency, eight standby, eight motor vehicle accidents, 11 falls, 20 no transports and one 0-22.

Three first response calls came from Goessel, one from Durham, six from Lincolnville and one from Florence.

The commissioners met in executive sessions for personnel for five minutes with Richards, and for 10 minutes with Health Administrator Diedre Serene.

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