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Funds exchange gives county more flexibility

Although, state making changes to program

POSTED February 12, 2018 4:54 p.m.

 The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a supplement to the county’s federal-aid fund exchange master agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation. The agreement allows the exchange of the county’s annual allotment of federal road and bridge funds for state funds. 

Under this program, in short, federal funds are funneled through KDOT which will keep 25 percent of the money and releases the rest to the county, said County Engineer Barry McManaman. By doing this, there are fewer strings attached to the funding allowing the county more flexibility in how they are spent.

“It is easier to use the money on project we want to use it on,” he said.

But, McManaman said, there are changes this year. 

First, beginning in the current federal fiscal year, KDOT will no longer allow for funds to be banked with the agency. This allowed for the county to build up what amounted to a savings account with the state so larger projects could be tackled.

However, he said once the money is released to the county, the county can set it aside for future use. It just must be used for road and bridge work.

Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz liked this idea. “I trust us with our money more than I trust the state with our money.”

In addition, the county can be reimbursed by the state for work done within the same year and use that reimbursement on another project, McManaman said.

Secondly, the exchange rate will be reviewed and established annually. This is what portion of the federal money KDOT will hold back.

The rate had been 10 percent of the money in years past. Now, it is at 25.

The County Commission approved the most recent federal-aid fund exchange master agreement on April 25, 2016. The county has participated in this program for several years.


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