Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

County emergency services still at the forefront


The Kimball County Board of Commissioners met last Tuesday to discuss zoning amendments, back-up generators and the Kimball County Ambulance Service.

Carla Goranson, County Ambulance Director, presented the December 2016 and January 2017 statistical and financial reports to the board.

According to Goranson, and supported by the data report, both months had the same number of calls, 35 each month, a slight decrease from November but overall above average months for Kimball County. December showed seven falls on ice while January only had one, however falls in general were slightly on the rise for both months.

Although there was a reporting error on the financial report for the month of December, January’s charges were the highest of the year, reaching $73,198.19. Both deposits and expenditures remained relatively the same as previous months, around $13,000 and $24,000 respectively.

The board then discussed the future of the 2003 Ford ambulance. Kimball County Clerk Cathy Sibal stated that she had received two inquires about the vehicle.

Legal council for the board, Matt Turman asked what the estimated worth of the vehicle was, because if it was more than $5,000 it would legally need to be sold through sealed bids. Commissioner Nolting explained that because of the bad turbo and catalytic converters, it was estimated to be worth no more than $3,000.

Board chairman Larry Engstrom suggested that it might be a good fit for Bushnell as they no longer have an ambulance. Currently the Bushnell First Responders have no where to keep a patient while waiting on the Kimball ambulance service to arrive.

He added that if the weather is bad, there is no way to protect the patient. With the donation of the 2003 ambulance to the Village of Bushnell volunteers, even with a blown turbo and no interior equipment, it is still an improvement to what they currently have.

The board moved to offer the 2003 Ford ambulance to the Village of Bushnell, subject to their acceptance.

A brief discussion was made concerning the rates for 2017. No changes were made and current rates were carried forward.

Commissioner Nolting then requested to “address the recent firestorm that has occurred due to my KNEB interview.”

“I want to caution you, as it is not on the agenda,” interjected Turman, “make the comment, but we can’t have any commissioner discussion.”

Nolting addressed Goranson, “I understand there is a couple derogatory emails or posts that I was excluded from but they were addressed to me, one from you and one from a Miss Spicer. I know you made an effort to make sure that no one I knew, knew about it, but some got through, so I’ve seen them, I’ve read them.”

Goranson spoke up, “Oh, sure, they are on Facebook, they are public.”

Nolting continued, “There is an extreme misunderstanding, no one even, especially me, indicated that there were any lack of professionalism or expertise on the ambulance crew. The brief three sentence news item discussed the partnership, Kimball County, Kimball Health Services and Regional West, that’s the transition that we are making. I didn’t say anything at all about people who work on the crew, the volunteers that we have. No one, myself or the board has ever said anything disparaging against the emergency responders. The EMS Assessment that was done by the Paramedic Association within their recommendations, they made two recommendations, one was that the Kimball County Commissioners divest themselves of the responsibility of the ambulance and put it in the hands of a board of directors or an organization that manages medical services and two, that we should probably consider the proposal that was made to us by Regional West Medical Services. We did that.

I do not believe that what I said was any disparaging remark on the EMT services or the personnel. The qualified medical field that I was talking about was a board of directors, Regional West Medical Services and Kimball Health. I do not believe that those statements warrant my resignation nor my recall. And if either you or Miss Spicer have any questions I would appreciate that you address me directly rather than disparage my name on Facebook, so we can do this face to face.”

He concluded, “The transition will probably occur the first of next month.”

“March?” asked Goranson.

Nolting said nothing, but nodded his head.

Goranson asked Turman if she was allowed to respond

“Um...,” he began.

“Never mind,” she said.

Turman said, “I don’t want to start any discussion Carla, but what I encourage you to do is that you and Tim discuss after the meeting.”

“There’s no sense, because I didn’t say anything. I didn’t even know about the KNEB article until someone from Scottsbluff told me about it and then there already comments being made,” said Goranson just before leaving.

The board also heard a request from Sheila Newell, Kimball County Zoning Administrator, regarding amendments to the Kimball County Zoning Regulation text following questions that were brought up during an October 2016 public hearing of the planning commission.

According to Newell, much discussion ensued after that public hearing and the planning commission felt obligated to enlist the legal help of Kimball County Attorney, David Wilson.

With the help of Wilson, the planning commission changed some definitions and wording, mostly in regards to sections referring to “mining”. Newell presented the proposed amendments with the commissioners, explaining that the zoning board had “legitimate questions” concerning the previous zoning regulation text, and that these changes gave clarification.

Commissioner Daria Anderson-Faden asked if these changes would impact any of the current sand and gravel excavation businesses in the county and Newell answered that these changes would not, but she went on to say that Wilson had told her that these changes would actually help in the future.

The board unanimously approved to set public hearing on March 7 at 10 a.m. to receive comments for or against the proposed amendments to the Kimball County Zoning Regulation text.

Linda Williams, County Communications Supervisor also addressed the board, voicing her concerns about the two back-up generators.

Sheriff Harry Gillway explained that the one out by the water tower was owned by the State of Nebraska, who is charged with maintaining it.

“However, twice now in the last year I’ve had to go out there when it’s failed to get it started and the last time I could not get it started.” After contacting the state, Sheriff Gillway said that they did come out and fix it.

Gillway told the board that they did not know if the generator at the courthouse was being maintained and asked the board if they knew who or when it had been last serviced. After extensive discussion the board agreed that they would look into who, if anyone, was currently maintaining the backup generator and would work to find reliable and scheduled maintenance for it.

Jim Calvin, County Building and Grounds Superintendent updated the board on the building and grounds and presented bids for the shower at the Annex building that Kimball Health Services was requesting for the ambulance crew.

Although only two of the three requested bids had been received at the time of the meeting, board members commented that bids were surprisingly high for a shower, plumbing and hot water heater. The lowest bid came in at just over $8,000 and the highest bid just under $12,000.

Chairman Engstrom said, “Are we sure we need to do this?”

“Lets talk to Ken, I didn’t expect it to be ten grand,” said Nolting.

Other items before the board:

• Calvin was asked to bring bids for insulation and repairs for the High Point Welcome Center to the board as soon as possible.

• The board then approved and authorized Chairman, Larry Engstrom’s signature to several documents for the county communications department.

• The board unanimously voted to appoint Commissioner Tim Nolting as the contact for Kimball County Human Resources Department.

• Dave Hottell, County Highway Superintendent addressed the board regarding the roads in need of repair south and north of Dix, the request of bids to replace the Bushnell road shop roof and the Nebraska Department of Roads Bridge Match Program.

One of the last items for the meeting included discussion for Nebraska’s 150th birthday celebration that will take place at 2 p.m. at the Kimball County courthouse. Cake, coffee and Kool-Aid will be served, the Potter-Dix 4th grade will sing Happy Birthday and 150 gold coins will be handed out to the first 150 people in attendance.


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