Local women hit paydirt in USDA grant-writing efforts, county hears

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Members of the Marion County community and USDA Rural Development representatives pose with Linda Carlson (above) and Teresa Huffman (below) as they receive their USDA grant checks.
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Relatively new Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman?s initial efforts were recognized at a County Commission payday meeting Thursday with receipt of $40,000 in grant money for county revolving account business loans from USDA Rural Development representatives.

But she was somewhat ?topped? by the efforts of an individual business woman, Linda Carlson of Carlson?s Grocery in Marion. The same half-dozen Rural Development representatives left the Commission meeting to present the grocery $83,036 in energy efficiency grant money from a grant Carlson wrote herself.

The representatives pointed out that there is a continuing supply of funds for public entities as well as loans, guaranteed loans and grants for business applicants.

The commissioners also called County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman to the meeting to explain benefits and costs of her attendence at the National Association of Counties annual convention in Richmond, Va., this summer.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said many taxpayers were upset last year when Bateman attended the NACO meeting in Hawaii. Dallke said that even though the commissioners don?t control the vehicle tag fund that Bateman administers, and can use for such trips, they have to explain expenses to citizens ?concerned with the survival of this small county.? He also acknowledged that Bateman turns the balance of the fund over at the end of each year to the county at her discretion since by Kansas law she is entitled to keep it in her office.

Commissioner Bob Hein asked Bateman what the trip actually will cost this year. She replied that the Kansas Association of Counties will pay the first $1,000 of her trip. Her offce will pay $1,200 to $1,300 of it from the tag money.

Bateman added that she will attend 12-13 hours of treasurer?s education, see how treasurer?s offices are run elsewhere, and bring back as much information as she can for other Marion County offices. If nobody is there from Marion County, the KAC caucus will cast the county?s vote, she said. Bateman said small counties from all over the country want as many like counties at the convention as possible to counteract dominance by large, urban counties. The commissioners named Bateman voting delegate for Marion County.

Commissioner Dan Holub noted that on the matter whether there is enough to gain from the meeting to justify the travel, ?You are an elected official. It?s your judgment call.?

County Clerk Carol Maggard said Bateman always brings back ?a suitcase full? of materials valuable to other county departments.

Bateman said travel for even more county officials next year shouldn?t be as controversial because the convention will be in Kansas City.

Maggard gave the total payday pay-out figure at $730,123.63.

She reported end of May sales tax for money collected in March at $46,576.15.

She said the balance for encumbered funds that departments use for improvements carried over from 2006 stands at $101,444.50.

The commissioners split award of area road and bridge fuel bids with areas one and two going to Cardie Oil at Tampa and three and four going to Cooperative Grain at Hillsboro.

The Cardie awards were for 800 gallons of diesel in area one at $2.192 a gallon for $1,753.60, and for 2,150 gallons of diesel in area two at $2.192 a gallon for $4,712.80 compared to per gallon bids in the same areas by Co-op of $2.2040 and $2.2040.

The Co-op awards were for 1,800 gallons of diesel in area three at $2.1940 for $3,949.20 and for identical figures on another 1,800 gallons in area four. The same Cardie per gallon bids in the same areas $2.212 both times.

The commissioners approved spending $22,985 with Waterproofing Contractors Inc. of Wichita for excavating along foundations of the Marion County Courthouse, and adding benolate clay to halt water damage. Maggard said doing only the southwest portion, where damage is worst, including the engineer?s office going north past a restroom would cost $8,985.

The commissioners approved selling two county-owned lots that didn?t sell at tax sale for $180 to a neighbor.

They approved a request from Shawmar Oil for fireworks June 30 at an employee get-together at Country Dreams Bed and Breakfast.

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