The Mitchell County Commissioners had a fairly short agenda this morning. Perhaps the most significant item they discussed concerned a conversation between Commissioner Mike Cooper and Ed Debesis, EMS Director who have been brainstorming about ways to economically be able to set up equipment for water rescue missions without a lot of extra expense.
Cooper and Debesis made the suggestion to Chairman Tom Claussen and Commissioner Virgil Palen that the county could keep the MC2 Ambulance, which is the oldest unit the county owns, instead of trading it in when they receive the new ambulance that will be delivered in January of 2013. The trade-in price on the 2002 Ford Diesel unit would only be $10,000 and could be made into a water rescue unit much cheaper than purchasing a new unit outright. If room for more equipment was needed a small trailer could be attached to the ambulance to be able to haul it at the same time, Cooper said.
Chairman Claussen mentioned there is a haz-mat equipped ambulance stored at Asherville that should be available any time they need it if they have a method to haul it. Debesis said that would work and he was sure Fire Chief, Larry Heidrick, would agree to let them use it but it would be out of their way to go to Asherville to get it if they had an emergency at Waconda Lake. They all agreed that putting a trailer hitch on the MC2 unit would be the most economical way to obtain a vehicle for that use. Debesis said they have a bay to store it in the EMS Building at the present time.
The commissioners voted to move ahead with this plan. Debesis is to contact Osage Emergency Services Co. of Wichita and advise them of this change in their lease agreement. Debesis said he talked to Osage about the new truck last week and they had to revise some of their specifications and work out a better match for the outside paint color coordinates. Debesis asked for a five-minute executive meeting with the commissioners. Chairman Claussen announced there were no decisions made during the meeting.
Debesis presented his Monthly Report for August. The total amount of user fee charged was $35,867 with $29,037.81 cash total collected. This gave them a 24.53 percent collection fee and a 10.40 percent write-off. They had a total of 47 ambulance runs for August and 374 runs for the year to date which was 18 less runs for that same month last year at this time. However, this figure will change a lot with football season starting and stand-by units being sent to Beloit Trojan field and the St. John's field. They send stand-bys to football games and wrestling tournaments.
Debesis has been working a lot with the Mitchell County Attorney's office and are sending out a lot of collection notices. They are also going forth with judgments and tax collection notices. They have hired a new employee to take he place of the person who quit. This is a female EMC who lives in Cloud County and she will start this new job September 25. No name was given.
The Commissioners had a conference call with David Thornton, working in Neosho County. Kitty Wagner of the County Assessors office was present to answer any questions. This call concerned some Orion computer software for working with personal property statements. Mitchell County would be splitting the cost of the software with Neosho County. This county's cost would be $15,123 plus a $752 annual maintenance fee.
The hope is that this will eliminate one employee in the Assessors office through attrition when an employee retires. There will be cross training of the remaining employees in the office The online instruction would start on October 1, and run for four days so the training should be completed by the middle of the month. Commissioner Palen asked where the county would go if they have a problem with the software. Thornton said there wouldn't be any problem with working with the vendor. He said Johnson County is using this program and is very pleased with the results. The commissioners approved the purchase of the Orion software program to be used in doing personal property tax work.
Chairman Claussen reminded the public they are starting the Mitchell County Bridge Inspections. Therefore, the causeway bridge over Waconda Lake will be partially closed during daylight hours from approximately 2 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, September 11 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12.
The State will be paying for this inspection but the county will have to pay for the inspections every two years after this at a cost of $30,000, Clausen said. He will be attending a Flood Plain Mapping meeting in Concordia on Thursday.
Claussen ask County Clerk, Chris Treaster, if the county has ever been reimbursed for the plumbing bill at the Law Enforcement Center. She informed him they have not. Claussen plans to visit face to face with Harbin Construction while he is in Salina next week. This has been going on for eight months now and B&B plumbing needs to get this taken care of since this was a construction flaw and should have been under warranty.
In the absence of Larry Emerson, Public Works, Chairman Claussen reported on the bridge construction work on Jasmine Trail. They have 13 beams running parallel to the floor of the bridge and 5 beams running across the floor of the bridge. The Commissioners commented they are doing a good job and the bridge should last a good many years.
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