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Van Buren Commission approves $18K electric cot
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During regular business at last week’s meeting of the Van Buren County Commission, $18,000 was unanimously approved for the purchase of an electric cot for patient transport with the new ambulance provided to county EMS services.

According to Finance Committee chair Will Maxwell, only one bid for purchase was obtained because of the uniqueness of the item, and limited suppliers of such equipment. The statement was verbally verified by EMS director Tiwanna Bricker. 

Information regarding a grant presented to the county Health Department was shared. The money would be utilized to provide playground equipment as a healthy addition to the Piney and Fall Creek Falls walking tracks. 

A split item on the docket was the topic of allowing a deferment regarding the solid waste fee for churches and community organization groups. When a divided vote was made regarding such deferment, a decision was presented to postpone the item until the next meeting to allow for further review. 

Commission members agreed to sell several items owned by the county.

Long Branch land lots owned by the county would be put up for sale with a minimum bid of $50,000.

Scales at the BDS site would be put up for sale on Governmentdeals.com with a minimum bid of $20,000. 

Sale of the Mack solid waste truck no longer used by the county was approved. The decision was to sell with a minimum bid of $10,000, also to be placed on Governmentdeals.com. 

A Hawks Bluff property located in Phase 2 near Rocky River Road will also be auctioned with a minimum bid of $500. This property was overlooked during a previous tax sale by the county. 

In new business, an application for a block grant will be made for improvements on homes throughout the county.  Approval of the county application will provide for $500,000 to be allocated to update aging homes in need of structural repair. According to County Mayor Greg Wilson, this money could also be utilized to improve energy efficiency and access for persons with special needs equipment.  

The city of Spencer has also applied for a similar grant for improving homes within the city limits. If both grants are approved, the total would be $750,000 shared between the two entities. 

If the county is provided the funding, approximately 20 houses will be eligible for assistance, provided based on household income and property ownership. “We are looking to make the quality of life better for some,” said Wilson. 

Wilson shared a plan which would be funded by a $450,000 diabetes grant received this year. It would provide for construction of an indoor walking track with exercise equipment available in the inner part of the track.