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DSNWK seeks more aid





Ellis County commissioners, facing a nearly $75,000 increase in funding requests from outside agencies for 2013, heard from seven agencies seeking funding subsidies at Monday evening's regular meeting.

Funding of outside agencies has increased consistently for the last several years, up approximately $6,000 in 2012 and $5,000 in 2011.

Preliminary work on the county's 2013 budget, according to County Administrator Greg Sund, is showing a $1.1 million revenue shortfall.

Jerry Michaud, president of Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, requesting approximately 5 percent more in 2013 than in 2012, outlined for commissioners the economic effect his organization has on Ellis County.

Employing approximately 463 individuals throughout western Kansas, Michaud said he was not happy to share the reality of the agency's inability to pay a "reasonable and adequate wage."

"It's a sobering point when you look at individuals, maybe a single parent, and you look at the wages we're able to pay," he said. "They're either at or bumping the poverty level for the state of Kansas.

"That's not a good statistic. ... But it's a reality."

An increased funding request from Access Transportation, which receives federal and state funding along with matching dollars from the city of Hays, Ellis County, Safe Ride, Tiger Route and DSNWK, would provide for replacement of two buses.

"We do everything we can to keep them (Access buses) on the road," said Anna Findley, Access Transportation manager. "They go well over 100,000 miles. ... Lots of wear and tear."

In other business, commissioners:

* Recognized the service of Sheri Barber, who will retire Monday after 36 years working in the Ellis County Treasurer's office.

* Were informed by Rural Fire Chief Dick Klaus of his recommendation not to allow fireworks to be discharged in the county due to dry conditions.

* Agreed with Public Works Director Mike Graf regarding a preference of selecting BG Consultants for upcoming county road and bridge projects.

* Reviewed a request from Thomas Larson to move a county road located west of Pfeifer Avenue approximately 35 feet.

* Discussed renewing RPM Speedway's contract. However, County Administrator Greg Sund said he believes the contract is in effect until 2015.

* Approved 3-0 an easement with Commerce Bank to allow signage for a drive-up facility on county-owned property. Approval of the easement will allow for closing on the Commerce Bank building to occur today.

* Were provided, by Sund, two maps indicating redistricting of the county.

* Appointed Dean Gottschalk to the Joint Planning Commission by a 2-1 vote.

* Received a report about insurance coverage for Ellis County Fairgrounds from Sund, who said insurance obtained through KCAMP provides the county with general liability and premises insurance.

* Approved a scrap metal dealer's license for Ken Pfeifer.

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Agencies making requests at Monday's meeting included:

* Ellis County Conservation District, $76,091 a $966 increase.

* Ellis County Historical Society, $125,000, a $4,900 increase.

* Ellis County Junior Free Fair, $3,250, same amount as last year.

* Humane Society of the High Plains, $5,000, same amount as last year.

* Hays Arts Council, $5,000, a $1,500 increase.

* DSNWK, $249,195, a $11,095 increase.

* Access Transportation $93,009, a $21,009 increase.

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