Commissioners discuss nursing homes and other topics

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met on Wednesday, Sept 30 for their regular meeting as well as payday business. They then met again on Monday, Oct. 5.

In administrative business, the commissioners learned that the sales tax for the month of July was $69,070.56.

The grand total for the payday was $1,977,146.34 (including payroll at $545,247.73). It was approved by all commissioners.

County Clerk Tina Spencer reported that she had applied for a $5,000.00 grant and it had been awarded to Marion County from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to assist with COVID-19 expenses pertaining to elections. Spencer stated that the money would help cover some of the sanitizing extra supplies that have had to be purchased as well as the extra labor for cleaning.

“It won’t begin to cover everything, but it will make a dent. Every little bit helps, right?” said Spencer.

Becker thanked her for doing the work to get the grant.

The Commissioners heard an update from health department administrator Diedre Serene and representatives from several of the long term care facilities in Marion County. New guidance from CMS regarding visitors to nursing homes was discussed.

There are several issues that are a worry for all on top of the mental health concerns already raised, such as lack of staff, lack of testing supplies, and financial concerns.

The facilities discussed their policies regarding visitors and how visits are managed.

Serene brought up the SPARK funding and stated that the facilities should be prioritized to receive it.

Spencer reminded the commissioners that they have the ability to direct the task force to change the allocation structure if needed. No decisions were made.

In Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Randy Dallke brought up a concern about a road and bridges employee’s response to Director Brice Goebel regarding a road concern. Dallke expressed his concern about quality control and the need to take care of their equipment.and deal kindly with the public.

“I agree. It doesn’t matter who calls in. We need to be professional,” said Goebel.

Both meetings held multiple executive sessions to discuss pending litigation, potential litigation, hiring and employee performances. No action was taken in any of the sessions.