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DHDC funding scrutinized





Hays city commissioners reviewed the 2015 budget's proposed subsidies to outside agencies during Thursday night's work session at city hall.

Commissioner Ron Mellick said he would support keeping the allocations at the 2014 level. He also suggested scrutinizing the $53,655 designated for Downtown Hays Development Corp. at a work session with all five commissioners in attendance.

"We can discuss how we're going to spend that money," Mellick said. "Whether it is distributed to the DHDC or if we decide to spend that in other directions, probably for downtown."

Musil seconded the idea for having a conversation about DHDC's purpose.

"I've been asked a lot this week what exactly do they do," Musil said. "To be honest with you, I've been involved with some of the stuff they do downtown, but I couldn't give them a legitimate answer what you do. I know you've done a lot for downtown. ... It'd be nice to have what are they going to do, what do we expect them to do."

Stacey Smith, president of DHDC's board of directors, said the nonprofit is open to suggestions and welcomes the opportunity to share its future initiatives.

"I would like to say that DHDC is comprised of a passionate, dedicated group of individuals in the community who have worked very hard for a very long time to improve and grow downtown Hays," she said.

Smith said the group's efforts in nearly 14 years have contributed to the district's rise in sales tax collections from approximately $300,000 to $1.2 million.

Steward said the commission should keep the $2,050 raise in the Hays Sister Cities Advisory Board's subsidy for a total level of $5,050.

Representatives from the Ellis County Historical Society asked their request for an additional $379 be kept to raise their total award to $12,000.

The subsidy issues will be revisited at a work session to be determined later.