Pottawatomie County Commissioners Monday approved purchase of a new ambulance for 2020, but balked at buying a second ambulance, as requested by the director of Emergency Medical Services.

EMS Director Hal Bumgarner said he had budgeted for two ambulances this fiscal year, bringing the EMS fleet to eight ambulances at the county’s five stations.

Bumgarner said his management plan was to get to eight ambulances, the industry standard, and then begin an annual rotation to maintain a modern fleet.

“It’ll be expensive up-front, but we’ll save money in the long run,” Bumgarner told commissioners.

“Well my plan is to start saving a little money here,” Commissioner Pat Weixelman replied. “The last few years all we’ve been doing is buying and buying.”

“If eight seems like an excessive number, then we can go with seven, but I’d still like to buy one new truck for 2020,” Bumgarner said.

Commissioners authorized purchase of one new truck, and to retain one lower-mileage ambulance rather than using it as a trade-in.

Larger Type 1 ambulances cost around $205,000, and take about 10 months for delivery, according to Bumgarner.

In other business Monday:

• The commission approved a $300 contribution toward the annual Havensville Living History Day scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 3, at the Havensville Community Center.

The theme of the 36th annual event is “2020 Vision Westward,” and will focus on life during the westward expansion of the United States, according to Julie Gomez, a member of the organizing committee.

New to this year’s outdoor display will be an authentic covered wagon, Gomez said. Other exhibits will include Native American drummers, the Ft. Riley Mounted Cavalry, a mountain man display, candle making and rope making.

“I think it’s a very worthwhile event,” said Weixelman.

• Health Director Lisa Kenworthy said there have been no cases of the coronavirus diagnosed in Kansas, although regular strains of influenza continue to be prevalent.

“It’s widespread in Kansas as well as other parts of the United States,” Kenworthy said.

As of February 15, there had been 55 mortalities in Kansas resulting from the flu, and 3,500 patients with flu-related symptoms.

• Commissioner Dee McKee, during a review of the county’s sign regulations, appealed to citizens to display house numbers so they are visible from the road in both directions.

Proper display of house numbers is important for emergency services, she said.

“It is a problem,” Bumgarner acknowledged. “We’d like everyone to be aware of that.”

• Nancy McCarter, election officer, said the county would soon be receiving stand-alone PCs dedicated to election security.

The PCs will be for voter database storage and will be made available to all 105 counties at a cost of $8 million authorized by the Kansas Legislature.

The new PCs are to be in place in time for the August primary election, McCarter said.

• Doug Kern, during the public comments portion of the agenda, endorsed both the 100-foot width originally proposed for the new fleet maintenance facility, as well as incorporating radiant floor heating.

The commission, at its Feb. 10 meeting, accepted the low bid of $1.13 million from Schultz Construction to build the facility.

The commission also approved increasing the building width from 80 feet to 90 feet that costs between $110,000 and $125,000, as well as an added design fee of $24,000. It also approved increasing the concrete slab from six to eight inches at a cost of $10,000, and use of metal liners at a cost of between $25,000 and $30,000.

The commission decided against painting the interior ceiling and structural members, saving $23,000, and rejected radiant floor heating, expected to add about $70,000 to the cost.