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DSNWK ups funding request from county commissioners

By RANDY GONZALES
rgonzales@dailynews.net
Jerry Michaud, president of Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, came before Ellis County commissioners with his organization’s funding request for 2014 at Monday’s regular meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.
“I have to be honest with you commissioners, when we put this request together, I didn’t want to ask for any more,” he said.
Michaud said federal and state funding has remained flat in recent years.
“So, it is with the request, we come to Ellis County asking for an increase,” Michaud said. “Any consideration you can do as commissioners, (we’re) deeply appreciative of that.”
DSNWK received $244,100 in funding from Ellis County in 2013 and is asking for a 5-percent increase in 2014, to $256,305.
In 2012, DNWK provided services to 171 individuals from Ellis County. Local funds needed that year was $523,194, and the county provided $238,100.
DSNWK, which employs 299 individuals in Ellis County, has several offices and centers in Hays as part of the 18-county service area.
Michaud said DSNWK’s economic impact is approximately $6.685 million.
“We’re glad that we’re here, that we’re very much a part of the community,” Michaud said.
Ellis County Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said she was appreciative of DSNWK’s service to the county but added money is tight.
“I will tell you, just like I told other people, you’re short of money, we’re short of money,” she said.
“There is a limit to how much we can dip into taxpayers, so we can’t make any promises. … We will give thoughtful consideration, obviously, and try not to cut anybody out of what they’re asking for.”
Later in the meeting, commissioners decided to have another special meeting July 15 to discuss the 2014 budget. They also will have another budget meeting later in the month.
Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund estimated there is approximately a $900,000 shortfall in revenue to cover requested expenditures in the budget, which now stands at $21.8 million for 2014.
In other business, commissioners:
• Approved the city of Victoria’s request for assistance for a project to chip seal some of its city’s streets. Under state law, counties are obligated to assist cities with population of less than 5,000 with road maintenance projects.
• Told Public Works Director Mike Graf to proceed seeking grants for a bridge project and a road project.
• Decided to advertise for the positions of county sanitarian and planning and zoning superintendent due to the retirement of Dale Wing, who served both positions. Until the positions are filled, Graf’s department can fill the void, he said.
• Approved a resolution to declare the property at 718 Main a condominium. The purpose is to divide the building into taxable and tax-exempt areas.
• Appointed John Schulte, Victoria, and Gene Stramel, Antonino, to fill two of four vacant positions on the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission. The two other vacant positions will be filled at a later meeting.
• Authorized upgrading 10 EF Johnson radios, at a cost of $7,750, to digital so they would work with the county’s system that went live June 27.
• Authorized the purchase of three Motorola XTS 2500 portable radios, at a cost not to exceed $10,000.
• Approved the Employee Recognition Policy as proposed.
• Due to the absence of Commissioner Swede Holmgren from Monday’s meeting, the commission tabled until the July 15 meeting a resolution concerning the permanent ban of the purchase and discharge of fireworks in rural areas of Ellis County.
• Acting as the Public Building Commission, commissioners approved a resolution for annual reorganization and also a resolution to waive the state requirement for Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures.