Wayne White | Managing Editor
LYNDON—To provide better fire protection and emergency services,
Agency Township and the city of Quenemo have proposed combining
resources into one fire district. Two township board members and
a Quenemo councilman presented the idea Monday to the Osage County
Commission, and requested assistance in forming a new fire district.
Quenemo City Council Member Randy Chenoweth, and Agency Township
board members Roy Habegger and Larry Yockey told commissioners that
the two entities have considered that both are in need of more equipment
to effectively fight fires in the area.
“We’ve both got our own equipment,” Habegger said,
“but we can pool our resources and materials and just operate
as one fire department. I think it would be better for all the citizens
that live in town and out.”
Habegger said with the recent revision of flood plain maps in the
county, both entities need new fire stations.
“Both of our fire stations, under the revised flood plain,
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are in a flood zone,” Habegger said.
“The city council’s on board,” Chenoweth said.
“This is something that probably should have been done years
He described the service ability of both fire departments as inadequate.
“Right now at this point in time, truth be told, we’re
going to save the foundation, that’s all we have the capabilities
to do,” Chenoweth said. “We can’t even really
give mutual aid anymore. If we have a structure fire, the very first
thing that happens is Lyndon and Melvern gets called. They don’t
even call us because they’ll have the fire out by the time
we get there.”
He said Quenemo officials are worried the city could lose its accreditation
for the fire department.
“We want a fire department down there that is functional that
can do the job,” Habegger said. “If we got a decent
fire department down there, our insurance ought to go down in Quenemo
and the surrounding area.”
Chenoweth said the city had consulted the League of Kansas Municipalities.
“The League said this is where we’d get started,”
he said. “You guys have to bless the thing.”
County counselor Delton Gilliland said that if a fire district was
formed, county commissioners would serve as its governing body,
but would appoint members of a board to oversee the fire department.
Three to nine members would be needed for a fire district board,
Habegger said both township and city residents would be needed on
the board to offer fair representation.
“We’d like to bear down and get something started,”
Yockey said, saying the new fire district could be eligible to apply
for needed grants.
“With the situation we’re in down here, we ought to
move to the head of the line on grants,” he said. “Face
it guys, we can’t sustain what we need on a $17,000 budget.”
“The cooperation between township and city is there, we just
need some help,” Yockey said.
With Osage County Commissioner Ken Kuykendall ready to offer a motion
to direct Gilliland “to proceed in helping with the legal
part of this,” Gilliland offered to research statutes and
report to the commission next week.
Commissioners agreed to meet with interested parties to discuss
the situation further at 9 a.m. Monday, at which time Gilliland
is to report his findings.
In other discussion, commissioners briefly discussed shooting activities
in Vassar that was brought to their attention last week. Several
Vassar residents had voiced concerns to the commissioners about
someone target shooting in a residential area, and asked for assistance.
Osage County Land Use Coordinator Sheila Dale reported to commissioners
that if a shooting range has been established, it is possible that
zoning regulations might apply and a conditional use permit is needed,
depending on whether it is a private range or commercial operation.
In discussion with Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn Monday, commissioners
inquired if she had investigated the situation.
“I haven’t found a law yet that said he couldn’t
do it,” Dunn said.
With commissioners pointing out possible zoning regulations, Dunn
asked, “Are you going to have to zone everybody who wants
to go out and pop off a couple rounds?”
In other business, the commissioners:
• met with Mike Peroo, CPA, about his request that the county
consider his company to conduct the county’s audit and budget
development. Commissioners agreed to consider the company when making
future decisions regarding audit firms.
• approved publication of a proposed budget for next year.
A public budget hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 7.