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Council asks, 'Who's the boss?' at 4-H Park

December 21, 2011
The Crawford County Council, at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, was confronted, and then confounded over "who's the boss?"

The question arose when Glenn Crecelius and Jim Elliott, two of the founders of Community Fest, an event featuring antique tractors, cars, motorcycles and other equipment, came to the meeting wishing to make improvements to some of the water lines at the Crawford County 4-H Community Park along S.R. 66 south of Marengo. The men wanted to volunteer to do the work but were unsure of who could give them the go-ahead to work on the project.

"The 2011 Community Fest was a success," Crecelius told the council. "We had over 135 vendors on 150 sites. We came out just short of breaking even. Water pressure was an issue in the pavilion building, but we are more than willing to install and pay for additional water lines. We found room for improvements, like the electric transformers and only 110 volt plugs at the campsites that should have had 220 volts."

"We got some donations of fire hydrants," Elliott added. "We want to get the park built up to where it ought to be. Is there still a park board? Has it dissolved? Who do we need to ask to get the OK to do the work?"

After a bit of head scratching, the council still wasn't sure how the park is managed. Some remembered an old agreement that gave authority over the park to the Crawford County 4-H Council Inc. for two weeks a year, then the park board would be in charge for the other 50 weeks a year. And some believed it may be a commissioners' issue.

"I believe we need to find the documentation and see what we have there first," District 1 Commissioner Dan Crecelius, who attended the meeting, said.

Most of the council agreed, and Marcus Burgher IV, council attorney, went through his records dating back to the time the park was developed, more than 10 years ago, but could not come up with a final draft of an agreement that had been signed by the board.

Some of the council members discussed appointing someone to have the final say in the decision-making at the park. Others stood by the belief that the county commissioners should take the initiative and either find or develop a new agreement to oversee the facility.

"But who do we talk to in order to get going on the work this spring?" Elliott asked.

"The commissioners," Dan Crecelius added.

"Well, somebody needs to be in charge," Jerry Brewer, council president, said.

"If we get going early this spring, we can make some much-needed improvements," Elliott insisted.

The council decided to research the original documentation and see if an actual agreement had been reached, who decided it and what has happened since.

In other business, the council heard from John Gott, the county EMS director, about a new ambulance that has been ordered. Gott said the new vehicle would be gasoline-powered instead of by diesel. He also mentioned that the new ambulance would be equipped with electronic-controlled tire chains, similar to those used by many highway departments when roads are slick.

County Highway Department superintendent Perry Leonard, who was at the meeting, said the cost of the chains should be about $1,950 per set.

Gott also updated the council on a new schedule for EMTs that would reduce overtime hours. He said that those who used to make $1,320 every two weeks were now down to $906.52 under the new schedule.

"There has been no reduction of salaries," Gott assured the board. "Only a reduction of overtime."

He also told the council that new full-time EMTs would start at $9 per hour, and that he was now getting part-time EMTs from other counties coming to work in Crawford County to earn extra money.

Council members suggested that Crawford County EMTs could do the same, go to other counties and work part time to replace the lost overtime.

The council congratulated Gott on his ability to tighten the agency's belt and still be effective.

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Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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