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County OKs building projects





The wheels have been set in motion for new county building projects as Ellis County commissioners approved moving ahead with several architectural proposals at Monday night's regular meeting.

Working with estimated costs for building a joint EMS and rural fire department building, renovating the Commerce Bank building and the Ellis County Courthouse, the total architectural costs are estimated at $83,250.

"We're going to have to do this," said Commissioner Glenn Diehl. "If we want to have something ready to go by April, we have to get moving."

A jail consultant proposal also was accepted by commissioners at a cost of $25,000.

The building projects likely will end up as ballot issues in 2013, as commissioners envision raising funds through a half-cent sales tax. The city of Hays' half-cent sales tax for Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex is set to expire in March.

When questioned by Commissioner Dean Haselhorst as to whether the city of Hays plans to renew the sales tax, County Administrator Greg Sund said there were no plans in the works at this time.

"However, if we take two or three years to come up with a proposal and put an election on the table, somebody probably will," Sund said. "And it may not be the city, it could be an interest group that wants something.

"You just never know."

In other business:

* Commissioners approved the Ellis County primary election results following a canvass of votes..

* Linda Beech, Ellis County Extension agent, reported to commissioners regarding summer programs and an upcoming education series.

* Holly Dickman, Ellis County horticulture agent, updated commissioners on pine wilt in the county.

* Commissioners approved publication of a 2012 budget amendment. A public hearing on the amendment will be at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 4.