Fire calls were down to 68 this year as opposed to last year’s 124.

The Geary County Commission heard this from Rural Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Garry Berges at its regular Monday meeting, according to Vice Chair Keith Ascher.

“For the month of July alone, they had 10 calls and none of those were actually for fire calls,” Ascher said.

Also in July, the Geary County Rural Fire Department had a FEMA applicant briefing, according to Berges’ report.

Ascher said this was due to the high amount of moisture in the area this season tamping down grass fires before they had a chance to start.

On the subject of moisture, the county has contended with flooding this summer.

This briefing was related to FEMA funding to help with recovery from recent flooding.

Flooding is still taking place in parts of Geary County.

Both the county and the City of Milford are involved in this process, according to Ascher.

“Right now, it looks like there’s a possibility of getting some money back, probably, from the federal government — 75 to 80 percent reimbursement,” Ascher said. “There’s still water over some roads and Milford’s got water, so they’re just — that’s where they’re at right now.”

According to Berges’ report, the GCRFD also recently selected several new firefighters. There were 15 applicants of which 12 were hired, according to Ascher.

“They were pretty pleased with that,” Ascher said.

The county also heard from CEO of Geary Community Hospital Dr. Joe Stratton, who told them that the seclusion room was officially open for use at the hospital’s ER. Ascher said commissioners “didn’t really ask” Startton if the room had seen much use.

“He just said that it was up and running,” Ascher said.

Commissioners also voted to send the county’s budget for the coming fiscal year for publication in The Junction City Union.

The proposed budget is up by a miniscule amount over last year.

“It’s virtually the same,” Ascher said. “Last year, it was 70.47, this year is 70.7. And it was a long, drug out effort on everybody’s part to do this.”

A public budget hearing will take place at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 19 to discuss the budget for the coming year. Anyone is welcome to attend. The budget is expected to be finalized by Aug. 26.

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