Lyon County Planning and Zoning Director Sam Seeley speaks with the Lyon County Commission Thursday morning at the courthouse.

Lyon County commissioners agreed their appropriation for Flint Hills Technical College at Thursday morning’s meeting was an investment in the community.

The $50,000 will go toward equipment in the Health and Human Services Division at FHTC; namely for students in the practical nursing program.

FHTC Vice President of Instructional Services Steve Loewen and President Dean Hollenbeck initially met with the commission in June, when they requested an appropriation of $58,460. At that time, they were interested in adding or updating digital vital sign machines, CPR monitor manikins, hospital beds and more.

County commissioners declined to make the appropriation in June, stating they would revisit the request after the New Year.

“I’m looking at it as an investment in our community, with the new nurses coming out of that program and working here,” said County Controller Dan Williams, who made the request on behalf of FHTC.

During the June meeting, Loewen said 55 percent of health care program students come from Lyon County, and many stay after graduation.

The commissioners agreed to make a $50,000 appropriation, with funds coming out of the sales tax fund. They also clarified that the approval was for this year only. FHTC will have to make another request for such funds in the future.

“That’s the way we do all appropriations,” Commission Chair Rollie Martin said. “Everyone has to come in and be accountable.”

“This is not an entitlement they’ll get every year,” commissioner Scott Briggs added.

In this year’s budget, the county has $250,000 and $50,000 appropriated toward scholarships at ESU and FHTC, respectively. Martin said this is the first time he could remember granting this type of request from the tech college.

“When we talk about developing a workforce, this is a piece of that puzzle,” Briggs said.

FHCHC update

Representatives from Flint Hills Community Health Center were also on hand at Thursday’s meeting to go over their quarterly report and inform commissioners on what was happening at the health center.

FHCHC CEO Renee Hively told commissioners she and others from the center held a meeting this week with community partners to go over response strategies if someone who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus was found in Lyon County.

“As the county health officer, I have to make sure everyone knows what to do,” Hively said.

“The risk to the US is low, but we are doing our due diligence.”

The commissioners — acting as the county board of health — along with the county attorney’s office would have to make a decision if a patient were found and refused to self-quarantine.

She said if Newman Regional Health, for example, would take in a patient who was possibly exposed to the virus, they would contact Hively at the same time it notified the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

FHCHC reported having done 15 school inspections during the fourth quarter, including collaborating with USD 253 Superintendent of Business Rob Scheib to give him a better understanding of the process.

The clinic conducted 577 flu vaccinations during the fourth quarter, which was down slightly from 612 during the same time period in 2018.

Briggs also congratulated the representatives from FHCHC on ending 2019 in the black financially. Hively said it was the first time in 18 years that had been achieved.

In other business, commissioners:

Heard year-end updates from CrossWinds Counseling and Wellness along with Emporia State University.

Appointed Deanne Korcek as a non-lawyer member of the 5th Judicial District Nominating Committee. She will serve a 4-year-term that will end on March 21, 2024.

Gave Lyon County Zoning and Planning Director Sam Seeley the go-ahead to apply for recertification with a national flood insurance program that will give those who live in a floodplain discounts on their premiums.

Approved a $19,482 purchase out of the multi-year fund for the Road and Bridge Department’s request to buy a trailer from D&L Trailer Sales of Topeka. The trailer will be used for hauling the department’s backhoe, which County Engineer Chip Woods said is too big for any of the county’s current equipment.

The Lyon County Commission will meet again at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Lyon County Courthouse. A period is scheduled at 9:45 a.m. for public comment.

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