The Barton County Commission meeting at a glance
Here’s a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:
• Approved a resolution setting a new policy for the reimbursement of overpayments to the County Treasurer’s Office.
• Renewed the county’s membership in the Kansas County Commissioners Association.
• County attended the annual Township Meeting at the Great Bend Knights of Columbus Hall following the meeting.
Citing the importance of interactions with county commissioners from across the state, the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved renewing the county’s membership in the Kansas County Commissioners Association at a cost of $700.
Tied closely to the Kansas Association of Counties, this organization is comprised of the commissioners serving the 105 counties in Kansas. Education, training, partnering and seeking strategic alliances that benefit the interests of county government and its citizens are its core goals, said Operations Director Phil Hathcock. “It is the only organization focusing solely on county commissioners.”
Although the membership ultimately garnered unanimous approval, commissioners discussed the value of the renewal. Barton County belonged last year, but not the year before that.
“Sometimes we join and sometimes we don’t,” commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz said. “I don’t think we notice a difference.”
The county also belongs to the Kansas Association of Counties with annual dues of over $6,000 and the Kansas Legislative Policy Group with dues of over $4,000.
Schartz said the KAC and the KLPG (which consists of mostly western Kansas counties) better represent Barton County. “I think the KCCA represents eastern Kansas more than us.”
“I don’t know what we get out of it,” she said. She supported dropping the KCCA membership, a notion supported by Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg.
“I have to disagree,” Commissioner Alicia Straub said, adding she believes it is important to hang with colleagues from the east. “We still need to belong to make our voices heard.”
Straub said the KCCA presents a good opportunity to partner with other counties, if only to maintain awareness of the needs of western Kansans. “We all need to stick together. I think it is $700 well spent. You get out of it what you put into it.”
“I think we get our $700 worth,” Commissioner Kenny Schremmer said. “I think its a good thing.”
Schremmer said commissioners owe it to the taxpayers to belong and take advantage of the networking opportunities, especially with the uncertainties presented by the Legislature. “We have to get together and do things as a group.”
“I still don’t think they listen to us,” Commissioner Don Davis said.
Barton County is in stronger shape than many western counties, Straub said, and perhaps it needs to be at the table to press the needs of the region. “We can be the voice of our western Kansas neighbors.”
The KCCA next meets in May. Commissioners will hold a study session in preparation to ready agenda items.