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Funds exchange gives county more flexibility
Although, state making changes to program
new Deh county commisison 2-13-18 pic web
Pictured is the Barton County Office Building at 12th and Kansas in Great Bend. Repairs have been made to the building after a pipe burst last year, causing flood damage. - photo by Tribune file photo

Here is a quick glimpse of what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Approved payments related to repairs at the Barton County Office Building, 12th and Kansas. The building was flooded in 2017 after a pipe burst. Following that event, several repairs have been made, including the installation of new sheet vinyl in two bathrooms by Kern Floor Service at a cost of $2,036. This work will be reimbursed by the county’s insurance company. While Kern was working in the building, vinyl was replaced in three additional bathrooms. This work also totals $2,036, Operations Director Phil Hathcock said.

• Approved an update of the 2018 authorized positions listing. The schedule was adopted on July 31, 2017 in concert with the adoption of the 2018 Operating Budget. Since that time, it was suggested that a motor vehicle clerk be added to the Treasurer’s Office, that facilities be moved under operations, and an IT position be added in the Solid Waste Department, Finance Officer Matt Patzner.

Of the three changes, only the two new position impact the county’s budget.

• Approved contracting with Mail Services LLC. to create county valuation notices, mailing labels and envelopes for the County Appraiser’s Office at a cost of $7,352. 

• Approved the federal-aid fund exchange master agreement supplemental agreement. The County Commission approved the federal-aid fund exchange master agreement on April 25, 2016. The agreement allows the exchange of the county’s annual allotment of federal road and bridge funds for state funds. 

 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.