Commission lays out ambulance timeline

Allen County commissioners could award an ambulance contract by the end of the month or soon after.

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July 7, 2021 - 10:16 AM

Commissioners Jerry Daniels, left, and David Lee discuss the timeline for the county’s ambulance contract. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Allen County’s ambulance contract could be awarded by the end of the month or soon after.

“Obviously, with the selection, it’s the sooner the better, with respect to both our budget and the city’s,” said commissioner Jerry Daniels at Tuesday’s meeting

“I think we originally decided by the end of August, but we would prefer by the end of July,” he added.

“We’ve got several meetings set up in the next 10 days, with both applicants,” Daniels said. The city of Iola currently provides ambulance services. Also vying for the contract is American Medical Response. Linn County currently uses AMR, a nationwide company.

Commissioner David Lee added, “I know the employees right now, the ones I’ve spoken to, are very anxious to get this behind them, so that they know the direction.”

Terry Call talks about upcoming repairs at the Prairie Queen Wind Farm, such as replacing blades. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

IN OTHER news, Terry Call, planning and zoning administrator, said he’d received an inquiry regarding the replacement of certain blades at the Prairie Queen Wind Farm.

“It’ll probably be some time this week, and be about two months worth of work,” he said.

“It’s a huge crane they’re bringing in,” he added, though it was unclear how many blades were being replaced or for what reason.

“They were just wanting to make sure that there weren’t any special permits needed for the roads,” Call noted. Call also provided the repair company a map of which roads to drive, in connection with the Road Use Agreement between the county and wind farm.

REGARDING the timeline for budget decisions for fiscal year 2022, commissioner Bruce Symes said he’d like to have allocations finalized by the latter part of the month.

Several local agencies that the county assists, along with various county departments, must submit yearly budget requests to the commission.

“We’ve heard from most, but not all, of our department heads and our outside agencies that we fund,” Symes observed.

“But anybody with an increase of more than 2-3 percent, I’d like to hear the justification for it.”

That is, any increases beyond those for yearly salary/cost of living increases.

ANOTHER money-related question involved what is known as the Revenue Neutral Rate, and whether or not to have a public hearing on the matter.

According to clerk Sherri Riebel, “if you do not have a hearing, you can’t levy for anything more than you did in 2021, monetary-wise.”

In response, Daniels recalled the good news that Allen County’s valuation had increased $6 million in the past year (from $146 to $152 million).

“Basically the county is worth $6 million more, where we’ve expanded or grown our assets,” Daniels observed.

“A lot of our assets in the county or property have become more valuable. That’s a testament to the hard work being done in the county,” he added.

In short, a greater valuation means a greater chance of remaining revenue neutral without making budgetary sacrifices.

Daniels mentioned that he was reappointed to the state’s 911 council, for which he’d just received confirmation from Gov. Laura Kelly.

Daniels’s term lasts three years.

Commissioners also signed a memorandum of understanding between the county and K-State’s Southwind Extension District regarding their new building on North State Street in Iola.

According to the agreement, the county will assist Southwind with building and other maintenance such as mowing and roof repairs.

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