Bonds issued, transfers debated
Marion County will borrow $5 million without having an election on the borrowing.
Commissioners signed a resolution Monday issuing the bonds for road work.
Ordinarily, counties and cities must submit borrowing plans to voters before, but David Arteberry of Stifel, Nicolaus told commissioners last month resolutions rather than elections could be used to issue bonds for secondary arterial highways as long as the bonds did not exceed 2% of the county’s assessed valuation.
Arteberry and Mitch Walker with Gilmore and Bell presented paperwork for the bonds and reviewed the scenario with the commission Monday.
The $5 million would not cover an estimated $7,555,825 in upcoming road work.
Other county revenue will have to bridge the shortfall.
Also on Monday, commissioners for a third time discussed ambulance transfers to larger hospitals.
On May 18, emergency medical services director Travis Parmley discussed a complaint made on social media by a woman who said a relative had not been transferred in a timely way.
Last week, St. Luke Hospital chief executive Jeremy Ensey presented the hospital’s side of the issue.
He said EMS policies were written in 2019, and “this is not 2019.”
In an exchange that was sometimes heated, commissioner Kent Becker said he had heard from a physician concerned about availability of county ambulances to transfer patients.
“His opinion is that when an attending physician and a hospital have an agreement to transfer, that needs to happen,” Becker said. “My own personal opinion is if we have a patient that needs transferred, we should do it.”
Parmley said he agreed when the patient was in critical condition, he or she should immediately be transferred by ambulance.
“The reality is, when I’m seeing a critical transfer, we do it,” Parmley said. “If they’re going into a cath lab or a trauma surgeon, I’ll send them out. If it’s necessary, I will send all four trucks out — if it’s necessary.”
Less urgent transfers, however, may be delayed if ambulances are tied up on other calls and at least one remains available to handle unexpected emergencies.
Becker said if an attending physician said the patient needed to go and the receiving hospital said the patients should be there quickly, the patient should be transferred.
Parmley said if the department had a supervisor position, it might be easier to cover the county when ambulances are tied up with transfers.
“After listening to everybody and listening to the professionals, I don’t want a patient lying in the emergency room and needing to go to Wichita or somewhere,” Becker said. “Some of the perception is, if we still have an ambulance or two in Marion, why can’t we put a paramedic in it?”
Commissioner Randy Dallke told Becker that the current dispute arose when Parmley made a decision not to immediately transport a patient whose condition wasn’t critical because the county would have been left without a paramedic-staffed ambulance for a lengthy time during the transfer and was criticized.
“That’s what started this whole thing,” Dallke said.
“I would trust most of the doctors in this county to know if they need a transport or not,” Becker said.
Parmley replied: “The reality is that we do our best.”
He said the department had no obligation to provide transport to another hospital, only to take people to the nearest hospital.
In other matters, commissioners signed a new memorandum of understanding with Quails Forever and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for the groups to oversee the former county landfill near Aulne.
Jeff Rue with the department talked to commissioners about the condition of the former landfill.
“That place, if you haven’t been by, is becoming a forest,” Rue said.
He said county firefighters would use the area for fire training.
Commissioners agreed to sell five gallons of weed killer to be used at the former landfill.
In other business, they also agreed to permit a fireworks display at the county lake July 2.
Ty Wheeler from Kansas Legal Services asked commissioners to give his firm, which provides services to county residents, $4,500 for next year’s budget. Last year’s request was $4,000. Commissioners took no action.
Commissioners also agreed to allow former owners of the Silk Salon building the county is purchasing through July 31 to remove their possessions. Sale of the building will close June 21.