Quorum Court meets in Charleston
By Connie Las Schneider
The Franklin County Quorum Court met at the Charleston Courthouse Thursday, so most of the discussions centered on South Franklin County business. Justice got updates on Charleston’s new repeater tower, a report on insurance coverage for winter storm damage at the Charleston Courthouse and a progress report on the new gazebo to be built there.
A feasibility study on contracting health care services at the county jail and a request to reimburse a county Constable for his purchase of a digital radio for emergency use was also discussed and three appropriation ordinances passed 8/0. All Justices were present except Paul Shaffer.
Before the meeting, Justices were treated to tea and cookies provided by the County Cooperative Extension Service.
Franklin County EMS Coordinator Randy Boren gave an update on the Charleston repeater tower. Boren reported that the Charleston area repeater tower went on-line Wednesday at 10 am and was working well. Boren thanked the Quorum court, Charleston city council and "everybody past and present who worked so hard to get this repeater up and running. Together we made it happen!"
With this repeater tower operational, Boren suggested the county start researching an additional repeater tower on the north side of Franklin County and also look into solving repeater communication problems in Altus.
An update was given on repairs to the Charleston County Courthouse which was damaged during a winter storm. According to County Judge Janet Powell, the county’s insurance company has agreed to cover the cost of "beam damage" but would not cover roof damage.
Design plans for a new grant-funded gazebo at Charleston have been submitted by Gary Reed for review by engineer Larry Schmalz. Once these plans are approved, the building can be started. Powell’s Administrative Assistant Shae Johnson gathered the information on this project.
Regarding the proposed hiring of a private firm to handle health care service at the county jail, County Attorney Jim Mainard said that a committee had been formed to research possible health care service providers and sent out a letter to quorum court members suggesting the county send out for bids. "It is better to err on the side of caution before moving ahead with this," said Mainard.
Justice Mary Jane Cains who heads the health care service committee, said the committee is still searching to find out if any other provider offers these services. Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen suggested the committee speak with a representative of a nearby County who now uses a health care service and said he would try to set up a meeting with the administrator of that county’s program.
Three Appropriation Ordinances passed unanimously without discussion.
Ordinance 2013-05 approves $8,668 for electronic dispatching as a back- up system to the current radio page system used by off duty EMS and Medical First Responders.
Ordinance 2013-06 appropriates $4.500 from 2012 to the 2013 budget for improvements on the north driveway at the county jail. The improvements will be done by Cass Job Corps.
Ordinance 2013-07 appropriates $6,000 in compensation for employees who completed classes through APCO Public Safety Telecommunications to become Certified Tele-Communicators. Class covered all aspects of emergency dispatching such as fire, EMS and law enforcement.
Sheriff Anthony Boen asked the Court to consider doing an Appropriation Ordinance to use grant money in the Sheriff’s budget to reimburse Scott McKenna, Constable of Prairie Township, for a $900 digital radio he purchased that conforms to upcoming digital requirements. McKenna would be reimbursed for his purchase, but the radio would still be owned by Franklin County, Boen added.
The next monthly Quorum Court meeting will be in Ozark on May 9th.