County approves end-of-year spending

Staff reporter

Marion County Commission gave the OK to Michele Abbott-Becker Monday to obtain bids for a new vehicle for the emergency management and communications departments.

Abbott-Becker said she will have sufficient funds to encumber $15,000 from each department's budget to be used to purchase a vehicle.

Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker also is planning to purchase another patrol vehicle in the coming month and ordering the two vehicles together may be a savings to the county.

Commission chairman Randy Dallke said fuel economy is a serious consideration in purchasing a vehicle. Becker said durability also was important and said full-size vehicles have "held up better" than mid-sized.

Abbott-Becker said she was impressed with the storage capacity of a new Dodge Durango recently purchased for the sheriff's department. The vehicle also needs to be able to tow the emergency management response trailer.

With that, the commission instructed Abbott-Becker to seek bids.

Abbott-Becker asked if unused emergency management funds could be used to purchase generators.

Currently the county has a generator that came with the county bus, a generator on a trailer, two small ones for the communication repeaters, and a generator purchased by the health department.

Dallke said he would be in favor of one but not numerous. Commissioner Bob Hein said he would like to see two purchased. Cost estimates were $1,000 each.

Abbott-Becker suggested two be purchased — one mobile and one stationary.

Becker reported he was going to purchase two cameras for the sheriff's office. Only one bid was received by his office, from LinCo of Marion.

The commission approved the purchase of an in-car camera. A seven-year-old camera was being replaced with a camera that has a hard drive that constantly records whether it is activated. The cost of the camera is $5,000. Becker also asked to encumber $7,500 for a dog and training. The department's dog is getting old and a new dog is needed. The dog would perform drug and people searches, and assist with investigations.

Funds also may be encumbered to purchase stingers for deputies. Stingers are less expensive than tasers, costing $400 vs. $800, and have a similar effect.