County to lease St. Luke facility

The Marion County Com??mission voted 2-1 Monday to lease St. Luke Clinic in Marion at a cost of $15,000 annually to house the county health department?s clinic and offices.

Jeremy Ensey, St. Luke CEO, agreed to a reduction in the price, which includes utilities, if investigation shows the county would save money by paying for utilities independently.

The commissioners seemed to agree that the finding would be that utility costs would be more moderate by including it in the lease price.

Commissioner Randy Dallke was the lone dissenting vote. Dallke said the health department?s current downtown facility rents for only $4,000 annually. He said the county should wait for badly needed additional and better designed space until a new facility can be built in the courthouse square.

Commissioner Dan Holub disagreed, saying the need for better designed and adequate space is immediate. He said the county also would be faced with buying a larger backup generator if the department is kept where it is.

Holub and Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said that needs are too pressing to wait without doing something first for a new building to be erected.

They pointed out that on days when children are being examined and treated, the children frequently enter department areas they shouldn?t be allowed.

Health Administrator Diedre Serene said she agreed with the commissioners voting for leasing St. Luke because the needs are too pressing to wait.

Ensey agreed to help the county by having only an annual lease, in case of a changing situation.

Other business

Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards reviewed several properties with the commissioners for determining final outcomes on zoning and nuisance issues.

Regarding 24 Rock Road at Marion County Lake, they discussed allowing residents to close a dead-end road because of a child playing on it. Dallke said he might prefer continuing to make the road a through road with public right-of-way available at one end, but commissioners also had to consider the existing road lies on private property.

Regarding whether a county resident could run a private water line under the road to his property on the other side, it was discussed whether he ought to be required to put up a sign for workers to know the line was there, but acknowledged the sign would probably deteriorate in 10 years.

Commissioners went into executive session with Richards for five minutes to consider real estate acquisition.

The commissioners postponed a road tour work session with road and bridge until next week because of muddy road conditions.

They went into a 10-minute executive session for personnel with Emergency Medical Services Director Brandy McCarty.

McCarty reported 989 ambulance calls for the county through November, which she said gives the department an unlikely shot at beating the record set last year of 1,119 calls.

Eighty-three calls were recorded for November, including 17 from Peabody, seven from Florence, nine back-up, 12 from Marion, 31 from Hillsboro and seven from Tampa.Florence had one first-response call, Goessel made two.

The commissioners approved an offer from Morris County to blacktop one mile of 340th to U.S. Highway 77 from the county line since Morris County will already have equipment on the road black topping in its own area.

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