Approval at the Kiowa County Commission’s November 19 meeting of Great Plains Development completing application for a $400,000 grant from the State’s Department of Commerce was derailed by Commissioner Earl Liggett’s protests over the funds likely being used to help purchase the BTI property on west Kansas Avenue (US 54) for location of the future hospital, ambulance and fire department services.


   Approval at the Kiowa County Commission’s November 19 meeting of Great Plains Development completing application for a $400,000 grant from the State’s Department of Commerce was derailed by Commissioner Earl Liggett’s protests over the funds likely being used to help purchase the BTI property on west Kansas Avenue (US 54) for location of the future hospital, ambulance and fire department services.
   With commissioner Gene West absent, Liggett and Chairman Don Richards were at odds with one another as to whether to give the go ahead to Great Plains Grant Administrator Chelsea O’Neal to secure the small cities community development block grant from the State.  As a result, the commission will again attempt to proceed on the matter with a second public hearing at this Friday’s 9 a.m. meeting.
   With total costs of land purchase ($450,000), remodeling of an existing building for ambulance housing and various administrative fees coming to a total of $790,405 for acquiring and readying the property for use, the County’s share is expected to be around $186,000 once the $400,000 is applied.
   Liggett made clear early on in the discussion he favors using property the County already owns near the courthouse to relocate the medical services facilities.
   “We’re going to have a community here of at most, 600 to 700 people,” Liggett said.  “I can’t see doing this for that many residents.”
   “Where do we start then?” asked Emergency Preparedness Director Ray Stegman.  “Do we just not rebuild anything?”
   “Mr. (Mike) Frost (of Great Plains Health Alliance) told us FEMA is going to help them rebuild the hospital, but I think he’s misinformed,” Liggett replied.
   “Earl, you keep talking about us not having a community,” Richards said, “but when you look around and see 250 homes in town that are finished or started, I think that’s pretty good.”
   “That’s only 25 percent of what we had,” Liggett countered.
   “But that’s just six months after the storm, and that’s pretty good considering the mess we had here in May,” Richards said.  “I think things look very hopeful.”
   “You can’t go into this on hopes,” Liggett said.  “You can’t build all this stuff on hopes.”
   In other matters…
   •Road and Bridge Superintendent Doyle Conrad presented a bid from Foley Equipment for a 40 Kilowatt diesel generator to be used this winter to start equipment for $19,721, which would include set up.
   “I’ve got money in the budget for this, and will still have money left over in the budget at year’s end,” Conrad said.
   “I think this is a small price to pay to make sure we’re not without any equipment in a (winter) storm,” Liggett said before he and Richards okayed the request.  “The first time the electricity goes out for two or three days it’ll have paid for itself.”
   •Conrad also asked about an apparent slighting of the solid waste budget for 2008, asking if slightly less than full funding for the year ahead was intentional by the commission.
  “The printed budget does not show what he (Conrad) presented and thought had been approved for next year,” County Clerk Evelyn Grimm clarified for the commissioners.
   “I don’t want to go back to amend and change,” Conrad said.  “The amount isn’t enough for that.”
  After saying he didn’t think the reduction was “done intentionally,” Richards suggested the shortfall be “made up for in the 2009 budget.”
  •As a county director of Sunflower RC&D, Richards was presented a check for $518.88 payable to the County as its share of the return on recyclables for May through August of this year.