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County opts to collect insurance proceeds in disasters





After weeks of discussion, the Ellis County Commission voted 2-1 to approve a resolution regarding insurance proceeds in rural residential areas of the county.

Commissioner Swede Holmgren voted against the resolution in Monday's regular meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.

If a building or other structure is destroyed by fire, wind or explosion, the resolution authorizes the county to receive a portion of the insurance proceeds when the damage exceeds 75 percent of face value. The resolution would affect areas such as Prairie Acres or Munjor, and not an isolated farm that is not near any neighbors. The portion held back to ensure cleanup after a disaster would not exceed 15 percent and would be returned within 30 days.

"I will say once again this is a very minute tool that we can use, and it wouldn't happen very often," Chairwoman Barbara Wasinger said.

Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund planned to travel to Topeka today to give testimony concerning a bill which would allow counties to enforce nuisance regulations in rural areas.

"The better solution would be to have that bill passed through the entire Legislature, where we would ask people to get nuisances cleaned up," Wasinger said.

"As people expect us to be able to do," Sund said.

"Correct," Wasinger said, "and we're not able to; we have no tools."

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of two trips involving a commissioner.

Commissioners opted not to send a commissioner on a trip to China being proposed by the city of Hays.

"It's hard to gauge what you get in return for something like this," Holmgren said. "I'm not sure I would be in favor of this."

Commissioners were split on a proposal by Commissioner Dean Haselhorst for the county to pay half of his expenses for a conference in Las Vegas that would have heavy machinery on display. Haselhorst's company would pay the other half.

The county is looking at purchasing a new solid waste compactor, and the Public Works Department will have a representative at the conference.

Wasinger was against the county paying half of the expenses, estimated by Haselhorst to be $700. Holmgren was in favor of Haselhorst's request. Even though no vote was taken on a requested motion in the commissioners' meeting packet, it was Sund's understanding the county would go ahead and pay half of Haselhorst's expenses.

"They didn't actually vote, but the majority supported it," Sund said.