In other business Monday morning, the commission:
• Approved transferring the county’s mobile command vehicle from Communications to the Sheriff’s Office. Approximately five years ago, the county purchased an ambulance from the City of Hoisington. At that time, the process to outfit it as a MCV was started. Doug Hubbard, 911 director, has found that portable radios and other equipment are easier to deploy in the event of an incident, but he vehicle would be well suited for the needs of the Sheriff’s Office. The current crime scene vehicle is an International Fleetstar. The same services can be provided utilizing the MCV, which will be more economical to maintain and operate, said Sheriff Brian Bellendir.
• Approved the purchase of a new 2014 Ford Focus from Marmie Ford at a cost of $11,750 after trade for the Health Department. It replaces a 2006 Chevrolet Impala with over 62,500 miles. Per the specifications, the vehicles was to have less than 12,000 miles, get 25 miles per gallon or more, have four doors and be equipped with front wheel drive, said Lily Akings, Health Director.
The department maintains a fleet of four vehicles used for home visits, shared services with other counties and travel to conferences, and a staff of 20 who use those vehicles, Akings said. The cars are on a 10-year replacement plan.
The commission was split 2-2 on the purchase. Those opposed thought it was too soon to trade off the Impala since it has such low mileage. Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer broke the tie by supporting the motion, but added that he, too, questioned the action.
Health Department officials said there had been problems with the Impala’s electric door locks and they feared more serious problems might arise. That is why the considered shopping around.
• Heard an update on departmental activities from Boeckman.
The Barton County Commission Monday morning heard an update on the engravings project for the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial.
Earlier this year, the county announced that it would need to sale 1,040 lines to go ahead with the next phase of the Veterans’ Memorial– the two-sided stones engraved with the names of local veterans. Since that time, the county has sold engravings to 120 people, using 177 lines, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman who gave an update on the engravings project.
This has brought in just over $7,500.
“We are a long way from 1,040,” Boeckman said. But, “we are making progress.”
People interested in having names on the monument are coming to the County Administrator’s Office on a regular basis, some with very interesting stories. Among these are a father-son combination, a husband-wife combination, a veteran with five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, and the name of a Civil War soldier.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in this,” Boeckman said. Many of theses stories are being posted on the county’s Facebook page.
So, the county continues to accept engraving applications for the memorial. The center stone, featuring seals of all US military branches, has been set and was dedicated during a ceremony the Sunday before Memorial Day.
In order to be eligible for an engraving, the veteran must have lived in Barton County at some point and be honorably discharged from the military. Those currently serving are also eligible, as are those who did not see wartime service.
The project is not limited to one conflict nor to any one branch of the service. All Barton County veterans are welcome to apply for an engraving.
There is a $45 line charge (21 character spaces), two line maximum. It is anticipated that 500 to 700 more applications will be accepted.
There may also be money from the donations to help residents cover the cost of the engravings.
It is great to live in a county that has this much compassion for its veterans, said Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer. “The people have really gotten behind this project.”
He also commended the Barton County Memorial Parks Committee for its efforts in promoting the memorial.
On a related note earlier in the meeting, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3111 Senior Vice-Commander Dan Zimmerschied, a Vietnam veteran, presented a $2,500 donation to the commission for the memorial. He said he and his fellow veterans gave the contribution with pride.
Also present were fellow VFW members Larry Johnson and Ryan Van Pelt.
For information about the monument, contact the Barton County Administrator’s Office at 620-793-1800.