By Rich Wicks | Times Vedette

The Guthrie County Board of Supervisors met in regular session on Jan. 30. Jotham Arber provided a summary of the budgetary numbers for Public Health, Environmental Health, and the Transfer Station.

Brenda Dudley addressed the supervisors, giving an annual update on services provided by Midwest Partnership. She asked the supervisors to consider providing annual funding of $35,127, which she said is the same amount the county contributed the previous year.

“In the two county area (Guthrie and Adair), surprisingly, we’ve had 20 new businesses start this last year. That just amazes me. I can’t take credit for any of them, but a couple of them I have helped with financing, revolving loan funds. I led them to Region 12,” said Dudley.

The supervisors also heard budgetary summaries from the County Attorney and Secondary Roads departments. The supervisors approved a liquor license renewal request from The Links. The 2024 County Substance Abuse Prevention semi-annual report was also approved.

The supervisors met again on Thursday, Feb. 1 for a Fiscal Year 2025 budget work session. The main topic of discussion was the ongoing efforts to reach an agreement regarding EMS services in the county. Supervisor Mike Dickson summarized the efforts so far, as the cities and county have not been able to compromise on an overall plan.

“Another subcommittee formed. I happened to be on that, and a few of us on the (advisory) council  met with the city council representatives,” he said. “Out of that, I don’t know if there is the opportunity to still come together or not. So then I put together three different options. Well, just two, really. The third option is just for the county to have their own. And at the meeting the other night, those options were taken off the table.”

Asked to summarize the first two options, Dickson said the first would involve a countywide tax, if approved, and the county would then contract with the two entities in the county that currently provide EMS services (Stuart and Panora). A coordinator would be hired to oversee the countywide services.

The second option, as described by Dickson, would be “combined forces.”

“Everybody can keep their own identities, but working together, sharing employees if we need to,” Dickson said.

Supervisor Steve Smith shared his opinion that compromises need to be sought so that each entity can get their concerns addressed.

“I’m trying to figure out why this has so many lines drawn in the sand, and we can’t cross over and get it so that we can move forward. It just stays in the same place,” Smith said. “It just feels clunky. It feels that it’s taking forever to do something that I don’t think should take this long.”

Smith said he feels that rather than just a yes or no response, there needs to be work on tweaking proposed options as needed to find something workable.

“You don’t have five years to get this right, or six months to get this right. Get it right,” Smith said.

Dickson asked for clear direction of which general option the supervisors prefer. Brian Johnson asked for more time to consider that. No board decision was made at this time.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. Attendees may participate in person or by calling 323-792-6123 and inputting conference ID 547029216#.