County collaborates with cities on recycling, EMS

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met for their regular meeting on Monday morning and then had a work session virtually with some of the Hillsboro leadership in the afternoon.

The morning session started out with administrative business and then moved on to the rest of the agenda.

EMS Director, Travis Parmley reported that call volume was down for May most likely due to people being worried about going to the hospital due to COVID. Parmley reported that this means that revenue is down since there have not been as many needs for transports, but there have also been fewer costs for fuel and supplies.

County Engineer Brice Goebel reported that he spoke with a man from Great Bend who comes to Marion to get his rock. He has sand and is sending Goebel a list of the sand that he has. Goebel is wondering if they could make a deal with him for sand that he could bring it when he comes to get rock.

The morning meeting closed with a time of public comments and commissioner comments. There were no public comments.

Commissioner Dianne Novak complained about comments from those participating electronically being hidden from her. Gehring and County Clerk Tina Spencer both attempted to explain to her that the comment are public record and can be read by all by logging on, but Novak repeatedly cut them off.

“I just think there needs to be transparency,” said Novak.

Spencer again attempted to explain the comments to her but Novak again interrupted.

“I’m just trying to represent the people,” said Novak.

“We can put the comments on the screen rather than reading them out loud,” said Spencer. “But they will be very small and hard to read.”

“Well, then I can bring some binoculars,” said Novak.

Novak also brought up her desire to have a work session for the roads.

Afternoon work session

For the work session, the commissioners discussed recycling with Hillsboro Mayor Lou Thurston and Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Paine as well as Marion City Administrator Roger Holter. Both Hillsboro men expressed that Hillsboro will be continuing recycling as well as the fact that more than just Hillsboro participates in the recycling that is collected in Hillsboro.

Commissioners Kent Becker and Chair Jonah Goering expressed their belief of the importance of continuing recycling in the county even if it means some cost. The other commissioners expressed concern at the cost.

Fort Riley is still closed to taking recycling so there is an issue of where to take recycling and how much it costs.

Gehring suggested each town just paying for their own share of $82 per ton.

“We would look favorably at the $82 a ton,” said Paine.

Holter stated he would need to ask his council first before he could commit to anything.

Previously, Commissioner Dallke had moved that if the City of Hillsboro provided a piece of ground with at least a 40 year (renewable) lease that is large enough to build a 40’x 80′ building and a parking area that the county set aside $125,000 from the 2020 budget and $150,000 from the 2021 budget and build a building in 2021 for the Hillsboro Ambulance Station. The motion had passed with only Commissioner Novak abstaining.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • heard the 2021 budget presentation from Emergency Director Randy Frank
  • held executive session with County Attorney Brad Jantz to discuss potential litigation
  • held executive session to discuss employee performance.
  • discussed the bait shop at the Marion County Lake; Superintendent Isaac Hett is checking into details and will report back