Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2007

County Oks $100,000 for historical centers

Commissioners convince chairman not to dedicate part of mill levy to museum requests

May 16, 2007

The Leavenworth County Commission established a $100,000 line-item Monday in the 2008 budget to fund cultural and historical centers in the county.

Museums previously receiving funding from the county will now apply for grants out of this fixed-dollar amount instead of requesting funds from money that had been provided to the Leavenworth County Historical Society.

In 2006, the Leavenworth County Historical Society made a $46,000 budget request, County Clerk Linda Scheer said, which "got the ball rolling" on five other agencies coming forward with funding request.

In total, $96,000 was allocated to county museums for the 2007 budget. In addition to the $46,000 made available to the historical society housed in the Carroll Mansion in Leavenworth, $25,000 went to the First City Museum, $10,000 to the Richard Allen Cultural Center, and $5,000 each to the historical museums in Lansing, Tonganoxie and Basehor.

At first, Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson recommended setting aside a portion of a mill for museums but was persuaded by commissioners Clyde Graeber and Dean Oroke to limit funding with a specific dollar amount instead.

Scheer said the majority of the $46,000 allocated to the Carroll Mansion had been used for the director's salary, with some money coming back to the county to cover insurance benefits.

Tellefson questioned whether it was the county's duty to fund what he called a "privately owned and operated" entity.

The Carroll Mansion, 1128 Fifth Ave., Leavenworth, is a repository for historical documents and information in the county and houses the Leavenworth County Historical Society. Each organization has its own board of directors.

Oroke noted the county does not own the property there, and Tellefson said it provides no oversight for either board.

"It's my personal opinion that it's not the county's responsibility to prop up any program," Tellefson said. "If they can't provide for themselves, we need to look at their viability."

County Counselor-at-Large, Keyta Kelly, who will serve as the county's point person for museum grant writing, said that she believed the Carroll Mansion could not survive without funding from Leavenworth County.

In other business Monday, the commission:

  • Met with Kelly to discuss what to do with kitchen equipment leftover from the Leavenworth County Infirmary, which closed its doors in 2006.

The Sheriff's Office requested some of the materials -- ranging from serving utensils to a stove, refrigerator and freezer -- as did the Heritage Center in downtown Leavenworth.

Commissioners were not certain what, if anything, had been committed to the Heritage Center, a facility available to the public for rent for various events.

"If we previously made some kind of commitment to the Heritage Center, we have a moral obligation to uphold that," Graeber said.

The board discussed placing the remaining equipment up for bids from local nursing homes before going ahead with a public auction in June, but no formal decision was made.

  • Voted, 3-0, to authorize the commissioners' signatures on a letter requesting additional federal grants funding from the Kansas Department of Transportation to repair two bridges on County Road 5 that run over Stranger Creek.

"Undoubtedly, these are two of our most heavily trafficked structures," said Mike Spickelmier, deputy director of Public Works.

Spickelmier explained that public works needed more than the $364,000 that is usually afforded to Leavenworth by KDOT for "projects of this nature."

Commissioner Tellefson asked if elevating the road was an option in light of the recent flooding off County Road 5, but Spickelmier said it would be more economical to do shoulder work than to make height adjustments to a bridge.

  • Unanimously allowed Public Works director Bill Green to draft a letter to the developer of the Shadow Cove subdivision on Bayside Drive, stating that it is not the responsibility of the county to fix storm runoff in the area.

Green said homeowners in the subdivision had complained about the amount of silt that has been washed down from land occupied by Schmidt Lumberyard, east of the properties.

  • Voted unanimously to compensate Richard Iman, the senior party chief who was acting as county surveyor, for his time while the regular county surveyor Dan Schmitz was on vacation.

On Thursday the commission:

  • Voted, 2-0, to send out requests for proposals for the demolition of the old jail adjacent to the Justice Center.

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