County votes to keep health department in Marion



The Marion County Board of Commissioners met for their regular weekly meeting on Monday and discussed using the location of 1220 E. Main in Marion, the former site of the Marion Food Bank, as the new location for the Marion County Health Department.

The property was sold to the county for $1 to use for the new location of the health department. While the existing building was not exactly what Director Krista Schneider had hoped for, she stated that it would work and could be adapted for the needs that they had drawn up.

The department is in need of a new location due to needing more space. They rent their current location from St. Luke Hospital and Living Center.

After a difficult start in which there were pointed disagreements, Chairman Dave Mueller directed the commissioners to focus in and discuss if the county wanted to move forward with the location before deciding about the existing property for the health department.

“We need to have a motion about the location before we decide anything else,” he reminded the board several times.

Both Jonah Gehring and Kent Becker wanted the health department to be located in the Hillsboro area, where a higher amount of the county population resides, while Dave Crofoot stated that the health department should remain in Marion, since it is the county seat.

After much discussion, the board voted on whether to use the property as the location of the health department. The motion passed 3-2, with Gehring and Becker against. Another motion to do a survey of the property passed 3-2, with Gehring and Becker against.

The board began discussing some possible options for making the property fit the needs of the health department, but no final decisions were made.

Schneider told the board that May 6 will be Safe Kids Day, and it will be held in Marion.

The board also proclaimed the week of May 7 through 13 as National Correctional Officers and Employees Week in Marion County and encouraged all citizens to join in honoring and recognizing county detention officers and employees who have dedicated their service to the community. The proclamation also encourages citizens to remember those correctional professionals who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as to honor those who continue to face the daily dangers and challenges in our nation’s jails and prisons.

The board discussed that National Correctional Officers Week was first proclaimed on May 5, 1984, by President Ronald Reagan, when he signed Proclamation 5187, to recognize the men and women who work in jails, prisons and community corrections across the country. In 1996, the U.S. Senate officially changed the name to National Correctional Officers and Employees Week.

Correctional officers (also known as detention officers) are dedicated to safeguarding residents in Marion County and ensuring public safety, and these dedicated men and women daily put their lives on the line and perform very difficult tasks that can be dangerous as well as frustrating. Correctional and detention officers are responsible for supervising inmate conduct and behavior to maintain security within the facility while promoting positive behavior, attitudes and skills within the inmate population to reduce recidivism and promote successful reentry into the community.

The board also discussed that correctional officers and detention officers deserve a show of support and an increase in public awareness about their vital role in the community as they strive to maintain a safe working and living environment inside the facility, often in the face of significant challenges and dangers. They reminded the community to recognize the important work and sacrifices that corrections and detention officers make each day to protect the citizens of Marion County and pointed out that this week has been set aside to recognize correctional and detention officers for their professionalism, hard work, dedication and efforts to protect those in their custody and the public’s safety.

In other business, the board:

•heard a complaint regarding cattle continuously getting out and onto a neighbor’s property. After much discussion, the board decided to go out and view the area in question and instructed the property owner to call the sheriff whenever there is an issue. The board members available will go out and view the fence that is not holding in the cattle at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, at 70th and Remington.

•received a road and bridge update from County Engineer Brice Goebel that the rebuild at 80th and Goldenrod is finished except for sand in a few weeks; 180th and Goldenrod is also finished; currently working on one mile of Limestone from 130th to 140th (dirt); installed a tanker car culvert south of 280th on Bluestem—more work to follow when they get more dirt and equipment and then moving to 260th and Bluestem bridge; working on final plans for the 1240 Commercial building; lots of equipment break downs lately; 350th bridge is ready for concrete, probably Tuesday; should finish stump grinding at Peabody—Thursday at the latest; grinder broke down; materials are showing up for Kanza project this week (on site).

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