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County commissioners consider a new county building

Health Department building too expensive to fix entirely, they say

Staff writer

Marion County Commissioners discussed whether the county should renovate the Health Department building or build a new structure.

The Health Department building needs extensive repairs, Director Diedre Serene said Monday. The county is having drywall replaced to get rid of mold, but without replacing windows, the mold is likely to return, she said.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he preferred constructing a new building. The county could spend a lot of money on repairs, and the county would still have an old building, with all the problems. He said he wanted to aggressively pursue a new building on land the county already owns.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said he mostly agreed with Holub. He differed on where to place a new building, saying it would be best to keep it near the courthouse.

They will try to determine what the county needs in a new building before approaching an architect. Both commissioners said it should include storage and record-keeping space.

The department would also need rooms for clinics and a waiting room. Serene said she has a floor plan of the McPherson County Health Department.

The county would need to determine which departments would be housed in a new building, Dallke said. The Planning and Zoning and Environmental Health departments share the current Health Department building. Dallke urged moving the Department on Aging to any new building.

Commissioners took no action on the issue Monday.

EMS collects part of outstanding bill

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith requested a five-minute closed session to discuss confidential financial information of another party.

Commissioners asked to double-check whether such a session was needed and legal. Smith said the matter could be discussed without using names.

A former patient had been billed $935 for services, but the bill was outstanding for more than a year without any collection. The patient’s lawyer offered $247.78, the same percent the person was able to offer to other creditors.

Commissioners decided it was better to collect a little bit than nothing, and accepted the offer.

In other business:

  • County Appraiser Cindy Magill, County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman, and County Attorney Susan Robson met with commissioners to discuss the neighborhood revitalization plan. Commissioners took no action.
  • Commissioners approved extensions for property owners applying to the neighborhood revitalization plan.
  • CDW-G will provide three computers for the Health Department at a cost of $1,355 each. Great Plains Computers and Networking, of Marion, bid $1,779, and Dell bid $1,787. Funds for the computers will come from federal grants.
  • Communications and Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott reported the state is extending the current 911 statute another year with only slight changes. Previously she told commissioners about the issues the county would have faced with a proposed new statute.
  • 911 Systems Operator Sandra Mille was promoted to 911 systems foreman, increasing her pay from $12.99 to $14.84 per hour. The decision was made following a 10-minute closed session between Abbott and commissioners.
  • Family medical leave was approved for a county employee for six weeks beginning May 28. During family medical leave, an employee continues to receive insurance and his or her job is guaranteed.
  • Commissioners gave a property owner a Sept. 1 deadline to clean up an illegal dump near a waterway at 1333 Kanza Road.
  • Barbara Edmonds was hired as a personal property coordinator in the appraiser’s office at a salary of $1,907 per month. The decision was made following a 15-minute closed session with Magill.
  • The transfer station received 737 tons of solid waste in April, including 646 tons of municipal solid waste, 90 tons of construction and demolition debris, and 1 ton of tires.
  • Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt told commissioners that people in Burns and Florence using the county recycling program favor a single-stream system.
  • Commissioners sent a reminder to department heads that county employees can use vacation or compensatory time to go home early in cases of severe weather.
  • June 4 and 5 will be a local appreciation weekend at Marion County Park and Lake. County residents will be eligible for free tent camping or discounted hookup camping. It is the same weekend as Kansas free fishing weekend, when anyone can fish without a license, Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said.
  • Part-time Road and Bridge Department employee Jay Klassen will earn $9.50 per hour.
  • Welborn Sales, Inc., will provide steel posts to the county for $6,424. D.C. Wholesale bid $7,220, National Sign Company bid $6,810, and J&A Traffic Products bid $7,140.
  • Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet met with commissioners in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.

The next commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified May 13, 2010

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