Debesis named director for county EMS

Emergency Medical Services Interim Director Ed Debesis was named EMS director Monday by the Marion County Commis?sion following a 15-minute executive session.

County Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said Debesis has accepted an annual salary of $65,000 plus $2,500 one-time moving allowance.

Debesis has been attempting to upgrade and coordinate the county?s services located in diverse communities.

Ted David, an EMS consultant hired by the county to help develop a better ambulance service, applauded the selection of Debesis, and recommended the county hire a full-time highly qualified assistant as soon as possible.

David said his study shows that St. Luke Medical Center in Marion has been modernized into a high-quality ?cutting edge? hospital.

The hospitals both at Marion and Hillsboro and the ambulance service need to meet to better coordinate their relationship, he said.

Among other things his study revealed, David said that by moving on its problems, Marion County ?has placed itself ahead of the curve? among communities responding to multiple situations such as decline in population, higher percentage senior citizen population, and high competition for quality personnel.

The county will need to ?lean more? to obtain more full-time professional EMTs, he said.

At the same time, David said the county needs to coordinate its EMT services, develop a culture of regular all-county training, identifying with the county rather than as five separate communities.

David said the state board that regulates ambulance service in Topeka indicated Marion County is ?making great strides in the right direction? and easing up regarding state mandates.

The commissioners told Diana Williams and Gary Klose that they will have to work with Natural Resource Conservation Service representatives with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Marion to solve backyard flooding at their residences in Canada because of fill-dirt washed in from farm land across the road.

The commissioners voted to continue a cost-share service for herbicide treatment of weeds by farmers even though only two or three farmers used it. Dallke said next year may be the time to discontinue the service.

The commissioners unanimously renewed health insurance coverage for employees through Blue Cross Blue Shield.

More eco-devo feedback

Chris Hernandez, financial adviser for Edward Jones, drew agreement from other participants reviewing needs discussed in a Febru?ary county-wide meeting.

He said the points draw too much on looking back at the past.

What the county needs, Hernandez said, is a team that can look forward.

Participants agreed with his contention that businesses in other cities should be contacted directly and invited to look at Marion County.

Jim Hefley, president of Marion National Bank. agreed that such a move is needed.

Dallke read his final summation points that came from the February meeting after reading the first 15 last week:

16. Negativity should be eliminated, especially in the written media.

17. For promotions, the city of Florence has great water. We have great sausage makers.

18. Small town living is very desirable.

19. Business in the county won?t be successful without the support of the whole county, not just the community in which the business is located.

20. Housing developments at the County and at Eastshore should be encouraged to increase the county?s tax base.

21. Open a hunting area near the County Lake.

22. Agri-tourism should continue to be pursued, but we also need to focus on community and business development.

23. More accountability is needed within the Marion County Economic Development Department.

24. Economic Development staff in the municipalities should have a list of businesses that are needed countywide.

25.We need a way to reach students in Marion County to let them know about job opportunities within the county.

26. We should be sure we are not duplicating economic development services between communities.

27. Jobs are needed to attract people to the area. One job per family is not enough.

28. People will come to the area for job opportunities, but will stay because of the quality of life and the schools.

29. Should a countywide Chamber of Commerce be formed? The Hillsboro chamber will accept members from all communities.

30. To recruit people, advertising is needed in outside areas.

31. There needs to be a better method to exchange information.

32. More people are working remotely from home. There needs to be adequate Internet service to allow this.

33. Affordable, attractive housing is needed.

34. The county should set goals for economic development. They should be written, manageable and measurable.

35. All communities within the county should be included and supported.

36. Conversation is good, but action is needed in order to achieve change.