Marion County commissioners decided Monday that county emergency medical services should have the ability to take credit-card payments to avoid collection problems.
Steve Smith, EMS director, said people using ambulance services frequently phone to try to pay their bill by credit card, then fail to mail in payment when they can?t use the card.
In addition, Smith said, the federal government has given notice on its budget cuts that Medicare payments will decline 2 percent, and that frequently is the only way county ambulance bills get paid from the elderly.
To compound problems, Smith said Marion County is facing a renewed shortage of EMT volunteers to be trained as ambulance drivers and attendants.
He said although EMTs don?t receive much financial compensation, they do earn ambulance emergency benefits for themselves and their families.
Smith reported 86 ambulance runs for February, including 23 transfer, two cardiac, 30 medical emergency, one motor vehicle accident, 11 falls and 19 no-transfers. Twenty-nine calls came from Peabody, three from Flor?ence, 23 from Marion, 26 from Hillsboro and five from Tampa. Two first-response calls came from Goessel and one from Lincoln?ville.
On another matter, Kansas Secretary of Transportation Mike King replied to an inquiry from the county commission that the state cannot provide up to $1 million to help the county upgrade the Pilsen Road in the light of increased traffic flow to visit Father Emil Kapaun?s home church.
An effort is under way within the Catholic Church to have Kapaun canonized as a saint.
In addition to the tourist traffic, Keystone oil pipeline traffic has been contributing to the deterioration of the road surface.
Commissioner Dan Holub said the county has a balance of only $130,000 in the Federal Aid Fund Exchange Program that it could draw from for the Pilsen Road project. But given the project?s size, ?that will not provide much help.?
The commissioners asked Randy Crawford, road and bridge director, to consider applying screening rock material to county-owned lots south of the new jail for possible use as a base for a new metal county office building.
Crawford reported that road and bridge crew members started tree trimming Monday.
County Clerk Tina Spencer said the treasurer?s office has agreed to handle public business for the clerk?s office for three hours Thursday while her workers attend a regional meeting for county clerks at the Elgin Hotel in Marion.
Holub told Rollin Schmidt, noxious weed director, that he would like to see more herbicide on new road construction shoulders to promote more bromegrass growth with less initial broadleaf growth, such as cockleburs and sunflowers.
Schmidt said a more cost-effective way may be to combine 2, 4-D with a more expensive herbicide.
The commissioners voted 2-1, with Roger Fleming opposed, to allow members of the Vinduska family, on land under the name of William Vinduska, to place new home and outbuilding construction under the county?s reduced tax revitalization program, even though it was done late. It was delayed by Federal Emergency Management Agency flood-plain consideration.
Fleming said he was against it because adequate paperwork hadn?t been initiated when the project began, but he acknowledged, ?I do love seeing stuff like this go up in the county.?
County Appraiser Cindy Magill said far below normal commentary from the public has been generated by the latest property tax appraisal. She reminded property owners they only have two more weeks to challenge appraised values.
The commissioners met in multiple executive sessions for personnel, including 10 minutes with Spencer, 10 minutes by themselves, 10 minutes with Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman and Environ?mental Health Director Tonya Richards and 10 minutes with Crawford.