Along with celebrating the grand opening of the new ambulance station in Humboldt, commissioners discussed grant monies, emergency resolutions and new policies for Iola Seniors, Inc.
At the christening of Humboldt’s new ambulance station, commissioner Bill King spoke to the need for new facilities.
“If you ever visited the old ambulance stations, you’ll see why we needed to do this,” he said.
King gave Commissioner Jerry Daniels the credit for initiating the new building projects.
“When [people] are working 24-48 hour [shifts], having a nice, clean, modern facility is really important,” he said.
“It creates better morale, better work environment, … an opportunity to attract new people.”
“I really couldn’t have expected a nicer facility,” he said.
During the regular commission meeting, Lisse Regehr, Thrive Allen County CEO, said that the spending plan for CARES Act/SPARK funds developed by a local task force had been approved by the state.
These funds are designed for county-wide COVID-19 relief and preparation.
Regehr also noted that some Kansas counties have not yet been approved given strict requirements regarding spending plans.
“We’re doing really well with where we stand,” she said.
Regehr also reminded commissioners that new funding opportunities would soon be available to local businesses and nonprofits based on SPARK.
The window for applying for assistance is Sept. 13-25, so interested parties should act quickly.
Appropriate paperwork can be found on the Thrive and Allen County websites, and Thrive is happy to help local entities with their applications.
Communications director Angie Murphy discussed with commissioners how CARES Act/SPARK monies would be spent on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the county and other entities.
She said that her office had significant funds to spend by the end of December, and noted that in order to do so in time, she’d need permission to increase her spending limit.
Murphy therefore requested a credit boost to $25,000 for the “sole purpose” of buying PPE.
Commissioners approved the request, and said that when it comes to making COVID-based expenditures in a timely manner, she was empowered to use her discretion to meet deadlines.
“Do what you think you need to do,” said Daniels.
Commissioners also officially signed off on Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for the entities that will be receiving SPARK funds.
Another discussion linked to COVID-19 relief regarded Gov. Laura Kelly’s decision to support continuation of the state’s emergency resolution.
Murphy told commissioners that Allen County’s own emergency resolution would stay in place regardless of what happened at the state level until commissioners took action to the contrary.
“Regardless of what the state decides, we’re gold,” said commissioner Bruce Symes.
Emergency resolutions of this kind are important for recouping expenses during periods of disaster and hardship.
Joyce Adair of Iola Seniors, Inc. discussed with commissioners a plan to limit access to the facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The plan states:
—Hours of operation will be changed to 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
—Only three customers will be allowed in at one time, and may only visit once per day.
—Customers are limited to 30 minutes of shopping time, and must sign their names for the purpose of potential contact tracing.
—Both masks and gloves are now required for entry.
—No children will be allowed in the building.
—Doors will remain locked at all times, so please call ahead and knock on arrival.
Public works director Mitch Garner said that work on the Elsmore/Savonburg road was progressing nicely, and that its completion was “the main thing right now” in terms of projects.
He also mentioned that crews had cleaned up a fallen tree on Hawaii Road.
“Looked like a beaver chewed it and it fell across the road,” he said.
Garner also noted that crews were continuing to mow, and that this fall Nevada and Nebraska Roads were scheduled for chip-and-seal repairs.
Commissioners gave House and Grounds director Ron Holman the green light to purchase permanent protective COVID-19 barriers for county offices.
Holman was unsure whether to make the purchases, but Daniels said “I think we should go ahead and get them,” especially with the availability of SPARK funds designed for this purpose.
Commissioners also officially approved the county’s 2021 budget, and can now move forward with a spending plan.
County Clerk Sherrie Riebel is on vacation this week, but the Clerk’s office continues to operate normally.