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County re-ups with eco devo group
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 Noting that the money brought into the county and the jobs created by through its efforts, it was an easy call for the Barton County Commission to re-up with Great Plains Development.

The commission Monday morning approved paying the $6,877.25 to dues to the economic development organization. The cost is based on 25 cents per resident in GPD’s 28-county region of southwest Kansas.

“There are neat things going on with Great Plains Development,” said GPD Codirector Bob Wetmore. Barton County has been a member of the Dodge City-based organization since its inception 30 years ago.

The commission was updated on recent programs, new CDBG information on the county and cities and future changes, including the streamlining of the application process. New targeted and simplified planning services, known as Strategic Doing, available from GPDI were also mentioned. 

Basically, GPD assists member counties and cities, with Small Business Administration loan applications, community development block grant writing and economic development revolving loans, Wetmore said. It does not hold the money in accounts, it just counsels applicants on where and how to get it.

 Other services include working visits with members and handling the accounting and reporting requirements that track the use of the funds. This includes keeping up with regulatory changes at the state and national levels.

The loans and grants are available for economic development projects, fire trucks and ambulances, sewers, streets and bridges, libraries and handicapped accessibility.

Since 1983, GPD has had a hand in bringing over $54 million to the county, creating 1,113 jobs and retaining 1,420 others.

 It is one of 12 similar agencies across Kansas that were created by the state Legislature. Not all are based on the same dues structure, with some being funded by a mill levy or other means.