EMS will hire two technicians

Emergency Medical Services Director Ed Debesis was given permission by the Marion County Board of Commissioners during a May 31 payday session to hire two full-time paid medical technicians for the currently all-volunteer ambulance service.

The commissioners specified that current volunteers be given first chance at the paid positions. The decision was made following a 15-minute executive session for personnel.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to allow Debesis to contract with OMNI Billing for ambulance services in a further effort to upgrade the operation, he said.

County Clerk Tina Spen­cer announced regular sales tax received at the end of May from the state for March transactions was $57,853. She said the special sales tax to pay for the jail bond was $50,581.

The total payday payout for the month of May was $886,446, Spencer said, with $429,718 of that amount designated for payroll.

Road and Bridge Super­intendent Jesse Hamm said his crew is trying to repair roads throughout the county damaged by recent flooding.

Commission Chair Randy Dallke suggested that over time members of the road and bridge crew learn to track storm damage by computer to ease reporting for emergency funds from the Federal Emergency Manage­ment Agency.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge area fuel bid of $8,539.35 for 5,300 gallons of diesel from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro over a competitive bid of $8,640.90 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa.

A salary sheet was signed by the commissioners for new Election Clerk Lindsey Buckbee at $2,021 a month.

The salary for Emma Tajchman, new planning, zoning and environmental health director, was set at $3,1210 a month, effective May 23. The commissioners approved paying $3,000 to Geary County to help with Tajchman’s education and beginning service.

The commissioners were in executive session for personnel for five minutes after which they granted an employee a medical leave.

After receiving a firm injunction from the State Historic Preservation Office that it won’t tolerate any alteration in restoring courthouse windows under its historic structure rules, the commissioners voted to replace windows in line with engineering specifications for historic grants.

The commissioners noted they may remain open to choices like restoring interior windows, but adding storm windows in an attempt to make the courthouse more energy efficient with less air leakage.

Dallke said he wanted to make a statement reminding all elected officials that they should perform their duties to the best of their ability regardless of whether they are seeking another term.

Bud Druse, director of noxious weed, transfer station and recycling, met with commissioners in executive session for 15 minutes to discuss acquisition of property.

The commissioners named Chris Hernandez as temporary chairman for one meeting to open a new economic development committee served by volunteers to direct future economic development efforts.

Commissioner Dan Holub said the committee should have a rule of conduct that no person in the group should be allowed to ridicule the views of another person.

Holub said this is a critical time to help develop lasting economic thrusts for the county’s future, and that no committee member should be allowed to dwell on past wishes or failures.

Julie Govert Walter, executive director of the North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging, asked commissioners to budget $18,562 for the agency for 2017 because of state cuts after years of the county funding in a range of just over $4,500 annually.

The commissioners said that given the diversity of senior citizen programs in the county and the inability to raise funding, they may be forced to resort to reductions in services, such as daily noon meals at senior centers for seniors to three days a week.

Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator of the county’s Depart­ment on Aging, said some services such as home delivery meals for seniors able to stay at home can be vital when they don’t wish to go to nursing homes.

Many times, she said, these seniors won’t eat well if they aren’t helped because they don’t want their families to force their decisions.