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County OKs plan for new EMS, fire building

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Ellis County commissioners met twice Monday in a special meeting in the afternoon at the Law Enforcement Center, and again in the evening in their regularly scheduled meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.

In the special meeting, commissioners approved by a 3-0 vote a plan for a new Ellis County Emergency Medical Services/Rural Fire Department building. The proposed building would be located at the intersection of 22nd Street and General Hays Road.

Among three plans to choose from, commissioners favored Option A, which entails 8,355 square feet of main office floor space, a 14,160-square foot garage and an 8,228-square foot basement, which includes a training room to accommodate 32 people in a classroom setting.

The cost of the plan chosen will be either $3.8 million or $3.5 million, depending on whether commissioners opt to go with precast concrete garages or metal garages.

"I think the commission is in agreement Option A is the way to go," said Commission Chairman Swede Holmgren.

Commissioners have discussed the potential of a half-cent sales tax to fund the new building project. That measure could go before Ellis County voters in 2013.

In their regularly scheduled meeting, commissioners approved a motion to select and negotiate fees with financial consultant Piper Jaffray to provide financial consultant or underwriter services on debt service issues for a road/bridge project, to reimburse the county for a portion of the cost of purchasing the Commerce Bank building, and possibly to pay the cost of renovations to the Commerce Bank building.

The commission also awarded L & M Contractors Inc. the bid for the rehab project for Bridge 80. The Great Bend firm had the low bid of $89,367 for the project.

Work will start Jan. 7, or as soon as possible, with completion in 120 days. The engineer's estimate for the project was $166,830.

Commissioners also approved a motion to contract with Treanor Architects for design services for the jail renovation/expansion project, with the understanding if the proposed sales tax is not approved by voters, the project will not be completed.

In other business, commissioners:

* Discussed highway and bridge project priority matrix with Public Works Director Mike Graf. The purpose is to ascertain and prioritize needs by rating roads and bridges in the county.

* Extended to Jan. 7 the lease of the former Public Works shop in Ellis. Ellis Industrial Development Corp. has shown interest in the building.

* Reviewed a draft for a road maintenance agreement for the Fort Hays State University energy project.

* Approved Barbara Wolf as Ellis Township Trustee, Randy Augustine as Ellis Township Treasurer and Vicky Sauer as Lookout Township Treasurer.

* Authorized destruction of election materials, including ballots from the 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011 elections, and city/school ballots from 2009 and Ellis city ballots from 2012.

* Approved and authorized signatures on the voter abstract for the Nov. 6 election.

* Approved and authorized signatures on the KANSTEP grant contract with Kansas Department of Commerce for a grant to benefit Ellis County Rural Water District 1C.

* Approved and authorized signatures on the contract with the Kansas Rural Water Association to perform inspection services for the water main extension project to be conducted by Ellis Rural Water District 1C with assistance of a KANSTEP grant.

* Approved an amended computer use policy.

* Discussed priority-based budgeting for the county.

* Approved and authorized signatures on the KCAMP insurance application.

* Discussed possible relocation of health services from 601 Main.

* Recognized George Korobka, who retired last month, for his 18 years of service to Ellis County.

* Commissioners met in executive session for attorney/client consultation about a non-elected employee issue. After resuming the meeting, no action was taken.