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County split on health building

Staff writer

Where to build a new health department building and what it needs to have were disputed Monday by county commissioners.

Commission chairman Dave Mueller said he wanted to know whether commissioners wanted to build at the site of the former county food bank. Commissioners purchased that site for $1 March 27 from Marion Advancement Campaign.

When the purchase was made, the plan was to decide whether a new health department building could be designed to fit the space.

Commissioner Randy Dallke voiced dissatisfaction with a concept plan for a building in that space because cars leaving its parking lot would have to drive on neighboring property of the Marion school district.

“I would not do that, and neither would any of us sitting in here,” Dallke said.

Dallke said he’d rather see a smaller building that didn’t require exiting the parking lot that way.

“If you need my vote for the building and go out on somebody else’s property, I’m not going to vote for it,” Dallke said. “It’s going to be a no vote.”

He also said garages were not needed.

“I think we need to go through and put some Xs on the plan with red ink,” Dallke said.

Mueller said commissioners needed to “have a long, hard talk about location” and then have a talk about design.

“The site is good from my viewpoint, but I think we need another plan,” Dallke said.

Health department director Krista Schneider told commissioners the plan being reviewed was merely a concept, not a final plan.

Commissioners cast a split vote to approve the location. Kent Becker and Jonah Gehring voted against it because they wanted the health department in Hillsboro and Mueller, Dallke, and Dave Crofoot voted in favor.

Further discussion of the building is scheduled for Monday.

In other business, commissioners hired Luretta Turk, Marion, as director of the department on aging. She will replace Gayla Ratzlaff, who retires April 28.

Last modified April 19, 2023

 

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