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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

County set to expand training

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BENTON -- Scott County will expand its Community Emergency Response Training to include the next generation.

During the regular Scott County Commission meeting Tuesday, Joe Burton, emergency management director for Scott County, reported on an emergency preparedness workshop he conducted Monday for Scott City school teachers.

"We had about 60 teachers attend the workshop," Burton reported. "It was a real good workshop and they enjoyed it, said they learned a lot."

The emergency preparedness material constitutes the first part of the CERT course, Burton said. About 30 teachers will continue with courses for the full CERT program, he said.

After preparedness, subjects covered for CERT include basic first aid, rescue and triage skills, using fire extinguishers and other skills to help citizens take care of their families and neighbors in the event of an emergency.

Burton said Scott City's schools will also be adding CERT courses for junior and seniors at the high school.

He said when students are assigned to discuss emergency preparedness with their parents, most of them are met with skepticism from their parents regarding the possibility of an earthquake.

"Now the major objective is just convincing the citizens it's going to happen," Burton said. "We are going to have an earthquake and it is going to be a major earthquake. We've got to start training these kids for the future."

Burton said it is a similar situation to that in pre-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans: "The people down there weren't prepared."

Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel said it would be terrible to lose a family member to bleeding from a piece of glass just because of a lack of basic first aid skills.

"You've got to know about it beforehand," Priggel said.

In other business Tuesday:

* Commissioners have begun the preparation process for the county's 2006 operating budget.

Budget requests from county officers were due Sunday as required by state statutes.

"I do have them all - they've all submitted budgets," said County Clerk Rita Milam, although she added that not all the budget requests are ready for review by commissioners yet. "I haven't even compiled all the numbers yet," she said.

One item which may be included in the 2006 budget is a record preservation system as requested by the county prosecutor, according to Commissioner Jamie Burger.

"We're going to try to put a number in the budget, an estimate," Burger said.

Burger said 40,000 pounds of paper records were shredded during the renovation of the courthouse and he would like to see it not build up like that again.

"We're looking into some sort of microfilming," Burger said, which should help county offices deal with the "onslaught of paper."

Commissioners are asking office holders to research and advise them regarding which records must be kept and for how long.

Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said they hope to keep the cost down by not scanning in documents that aren't needed.

County officials are working with the local records department of the Secretary of State's office. "They're going to come do an assessment of the needs," said Milam.

* While sales tax revenue for the county was up almost 3 percent for 2005 as compared with 2004, commissioners are concerned about revenue being lost to Internet sales.

"I think we're losing some," Priggel said.

As one of the problems facing those in favor of an Internet sales tax is the varying tax rates in different cities and states, Priggel suggested implementing a flat tax of about 2 or 3 cents. "That would do a lot," he said.

* The county is up for its regular audit by the State Auditor's Office this year.

The state audit is required by statutes once every term for county officials, which works out to once every four years now.