GIRARD — Last week's ice storm took a hefty toll on the county. But with a simple move, county officials hope to get a little of that toll back.
At the Christmas Eve meeting of the Crawford County commission, commissioners declared the county a disaster area in light of the ice storm.
"The state wanted us to declare a disaster in case the feds declare an emergency," said Eldon Bedene, county emergency management director. "If we get federal money, it get sand and salt, and all the time on the roads 85 percent recovered."
That said, Bedene was unsure of whether or not the federal government would declare a disaster area. Working in the county's favor is the fact that the ice storm affected multiple states.
Further, it could affect co-ops like Heartland Electric and Craw-Kan.
"They can apply for reimbursement, but Westar can't, because they're a private company. Farmers could also get paid for the crops they lost," Bedene said.
In other action, the county heard from Mark Dulek, Crawford County Historical Society director. Dulek came with a 2014 funding request for the Crawford County Historical Museum. The request is up compared to past years, and that's for good reason, Dulek said.
"The building itself and the outuildings are needing more repairs than before. The roof is constantly being repaired for leaks," Dulek said. "The two outbuildings and steam shovel need work, too. The lumber on the steam shovel is disintegrating rapidly. The grocery store and one-room schoolhouse need work."
Dulek said that that even the estimates he gave were fairly conservative, but are necessary to protect the artifacts. In particular, there are two air conditioning units that don't work. In the summer, Dulek warned that could lead to damage for the artfacts.
"My hope is that we can repair the two air conditioners, and that will mean we can run the utilities more, which is going to cost us money, too," Dulek said. "I don't expect the county to make all that possible."
Commissioner Carl Wood asked if the county could send a maintenance crew to the building to try to get the air conditioning units working again.
"Our goal is to preserve the history of Crawford County. This falls in that category," Dulek said. "We want to keep these in storage not just the next 10 years, but for 200 years from now."
The county also heard back from a potential lobbyist on attempts to reduce the potential cost of advocating for the county. However, given the rates provided, commissioners decided that they would not need a lobbyist unless a particular issue affecting the county were to arise.