By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
Ellis County commissioners laid out their budget priorities for 2015 at a special meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Among the items the commissioners identified were economic development and zoning in an effort to expand business opportunities in the county, and public safety.
Public safety also was discussed, focusing on Interstate 70 traffic.
“With Hays PD and our Ellis County Sheriff’s Department, I think we are very fortunate to live in Ellis County. I think they do a good job,” said Commissioner Dean Haselhorst.
All three commissioners agreed that how paid time off in certain departments is handled will be a major issue this year.
The commissioners also agreed water was one of the biggest issues facing Ellis County in the future.
“We can talk lots and lots of things as a body, but the No. 1 influence on what we are going to do in Ellis County is water,” Commissioner Swede Holmgren said. “We need to be creative about saving water but also improved use and distribution of water.”
Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said it would be a good idea for the county to take some of the ideas the city of Hays and offer certain incentives for replacing showerheads and toilets with more water-efficient appliances.
Holmgren added the commission do not want the water situation to deter people from moving to and building businesses in the community.