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  • Charlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission approves letter protesting state CDBG changes

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

MOUND CITY – The Linn County commissioners voted to send a letter to a Community Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce asking that new policy changes concerning grant applications for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program not be implemented.

Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower told the commissioners that the state was in the process of changing the rules for the CDBG grant. She said the change is concerning to the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission (SEKRPC) who serves the area of Linn County.

Hightower, who sits on the board of SEKRPC, said that the regional commission has requested that the county submit the letter to the division of the Commerce Department that is handling those changes.

That division has removed some of the programming that the 12-county southeastern Kansas area relies on heavily, including storm sewers and infrastructure. In addition, the division is changing its focus to childcare centers, which the CDBG program has offered before and it has not been successful for them.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said that the division also wants to eliminate the cycle of funding and make it open funding at any time of the year. He said that is a disadvantage to smaller cities and counties that have already put funding into the engineering for specific cycles.

Hightower said that the programs that CDBG now funds are multiyear programs that cities spend years gearing up to apply for the funding. This will throw them off for several years if these changes occur.

Hightower told the commissioners that the SEKRPC has asked all 12 counties that they represent to send a letter to the division asking that they do not make these changes.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Approved reduced dumping fees for a property owned by Amanda Johnson at 115 East Kansas Street in Blue Mound.

  • Approved change order for River City Construction for more than $84,000. The order includes changes to the mezzanine revisions, changes in door hardware required by the fire marshal, trash compactor area change, parking lot remediation, and a change in location of duress button alarms in the offices.

  • Appointed Todd Schneider to the Sixth Judicial District nominating committee to replace Al Hurt, who resigned.

  • Approved the annual maintenance fee for the program used by the county mapping department in the amount of $27,500.

  • Learned that the dust control program should begin the end of May.

  • Learned that the road grader that was in accident has been repaired and the cost to the county was the $1,000 insurance deductible

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