Health Department Discusses Renovations To New EMS Building

By William Crow

The Marion County Board of Commissioners met on Monday to discuss the progression of the new property they recently acquired that they will be turning into the new location of the Marion County Health Department. The property is located out on Commercial Drive right off of Highway 56 and used to house Silk Salon Spa Boutique.

Health Department Director, Krista Schneider spoke with the board about the new building and how the department can transition to the new location in the most efficient way.

Schneider discussed with commissioners the need for water accessibility and drainage in highly important areas of the building.

Before staff can move into the new building, information technology software will need to be looked at and approved to maintain a smooth transition.

One question raised by commissioners was if Emergency Management and Health Department staff would both be operating under the same roof in the building.

“I think it would be a good idea,” Schneider said.

Schneider had no definitive answer to the question of if EM and Health Department staff could work in the new building. Schneider and the board discussed the renovations and work that will need to be done. It is not yet clear when the Health Department will be able to move over to the new facility.

The board approved the most recent current payment due for the project of $3,040.08.

The Health Department is also working to prepare for influenza vaccinations as young students get ready to return to school. Schneider expressed the importance of delivering flu vaccines at an appropriate time and misconceptions about when residents should take an influenza vaccine.

In October the Health Department will participate in Red Ribbon week, said Schneider. During that time, department staff will help to organize events to raise awareness of substance abuse to middle and high school students in the area.

County Engineer, Brice Goebel spoke with the commissioners about the Indigo Road overlay project. The project still had a payment due for the amount of $796,709.97. Construction of the project will begin as early as Wednesday, Goebel said.

After the board’s approval for the current payment, Goebel brought to the attention of the board concerning the addition of a caterpillar excavator assisting in the construction of the project.

“It’s the heaviest duty we could find,” he said.

The addition of the excavator would cost $40,000, Goebel said.

Chairman David Mueller wanted to know more details about Goebel’s request. Mueller and the board were open to learning more about the implementation of the caterpillar excavator, specifically about the manpower and operation of the equipment.

“Do we have someone who can operate it day in and day out?” Mueller asked.

Goebel said he had no current construction staff that has operated that exact equipment before but assured commissioners that the county has worked with similar equipment in the past.

Commissioner Kent Becker asked Goebel for other updates on the project. Previously, commissioners were aware of the construction team laying down a layer of sand for the Indigo Road project.

So far the project has experienced no setbacks, Goebel said.

In other business, commissioners were asked to select a payment option for the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Ultimately the board decided on a premium package at $499. This package sends an email message and is posted for 30 days, highlighting the post in search results.

The board met in executive session with EMS Interim Director, Chuck Kenney to discuss pay information.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Friday, July 29.

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