Fire chiefs, Florence citizens come to understanding

Staff reporter

Communication between Florence Labor Day Committee and Marion County Fire Chief Association resulted in the two groups coming to an understanding of working together for future events.

The controversy arose when the firefighters decided to expand their Aug. 31 event to include live entertainment which some thought would conflict with the Florence Labor Day concert of Michael Martin Murphey to be held the same evening.

Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee reported Friday to Marion County Commission that the two groups came to a "tentative consensus" and both groups plan to move forward with their Labor Day plans.

It was clarified that the fire chiefs were not asking the county to pay for the $1 million liability insurance policy as required by entertainer Candy Coburn, but were wanting information about the county's coverage where a rider could be attached, at the association's expense.

The commission approved the request by the fire chiefs' association to use the county lake facilities for the Aug. 31 event. Commissioner Randy Dallke said it appeared that there had been groundwork set for better communication. Commissioner Dan Holub said he was grateful to the two groups for their professionalism.

"Instead of drawing lines and getting nothing, they were able to work through it," Holub said.

In other business:

— The commission was notified by Kansas Development Finance Authority regarding a beginning farmer's application for funds.

David and Catarina Rziha have applied for and will receive an estimated $153,592 to $250,000, or less, as farmers who are just beginning operation. The funding is provided through state-issued agriculture development revenue bonds.

— County sales tax revenues remained steady in March with $44,516 collected.

— Joshua Bryant was hired as a part-time reserve sheriff's officer at $10.20 per hour. Lori Bebermeyer, secretary at the county health department, received a $100 per month raise going from $1,637 per month to $1,737.

— A letter was reviewed from Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding property at 709 E. Nickerson, Marion. KDHE had sent a second notice to owner Wayne Johnston regarding the removal of trash from that property.

— Numerous executive sessions were requested and taken. They included a 10-minute session to discuss non-elected personnel, requested by county attorney Susan Robson that included clerk Maggard. There were no decisions.

County department for elderly coordinator Gayla Ratzlaff requested and received a five-minute session to discuss personnel with no action taken when the meeting was opened to the public.

County appraiser Cindy Magill asked for a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel with no decisions from that session.

County emergency medical services director Steven Smith was granted a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel. When the commission returned to open session, the commission approved the authorization to correct the payment of checks to a Peabody ambulance crew.

Robson and sheriff Lee Becker requested a five-minute executive session for attorney-client privilege. A second five-minute session for the same purpose then was held without Becker in attendance. There were no decisions from either of the sessions.