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Hillsboro rejects joint EMS facility

Staff writer

Hillsboro has changed course on its proposal of a combined emergency medical service station for Hillsboro and Marion County.

The idea has been discussed between Hillsboro and county commissioners for months, but the city has decided lease discussions are not going to be successful.

City administrator Matt Stiles told council members Tuesday he and mayor Lou Thurston sent a letter to county commissioners with a different proposal.

“After a lot of discussion between lawyers for the city and the county, it’s become obvious a joint building would not be simple to do,” Stiles said.

“While the city believes there are many benefits to a shared facility, adjacent facilities can provide many of the same benefits for all the residents of Marion County,” the letter said.

“Due to the time and effort needed to negotiate the outstanding points of a lease, it would not be productive to proceed if there is not a commitment from both parties to move forward.”

The letter proposes a 40-year lease for the county at $1 a year for property north of the corner of Ash and 3rd St., south of the Hillsboro Police Department.

Hillsboro would provide utility and site work. Marion County EMS would be responsible for construction of the county’s building.

Hillsboro firefighters will see a slight pay increase, bringing the volunteer fire department in line with average pay offered in comparable towns.

City council members Tuesday approved a $2.50 per run increase for firefighters and a $2.64 increase for the fire chief and assistant chief.

Firefighters will now be paid $15 for a run and the chief and assistant chief will be paid $20 per run.

City administrator Matt Stiles said $15 a run is an average rate for Kansas towns with volunteer fire departments, but urged council members to avoid seeing an increase as “staying competitive.”

“Don’t feel like it’s about being competitive, think of it as the right thing to do,” Stiles said. “We’ve been blessed with having great people.”

Hillsboro is discontinuing picking up recycling Fridays, but trash routes are not being changed.

Councilmen will take up whether to extend a mask ordinance set to expire at the end of the month at their next meeting.

Thurston said that most people seem to be complying with the ordinance, COVID cases in the county are not going down.

“I think it’s something we definitely need to look at and have on our agenda next meeting,” Thurston said.

Last modified Jan. 6, 2021

 

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