Category Archives: Government

Ogallala Aquifer Depletion Discussion Feb. 24-25

Ogallala Aquifer Virtual Summit to Engage Stakeholders in Tackling Tough Questions

This event will be February 24-25, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (CST). Through panels and facilitated workshops, participants will discuss and identify actionable activities and priorities that could benefit producers, communities, and this critical groundwater resource.

 

At 8 a.m. (CST) on February 24 and 25, producers and other water management leaders will grab their coffee cups, fire up their devices, and wade into a series of highly interactive conversations designed to tackle several tough questions faced by communities that rely on the declining Ogallala aquifer resource. For example, what on-farm, district, or state-level decisions and policies could support shifts in water management to ensure future generations will be able to continue to farm and live in the Ogallala region? What can be done so that rural communities remain vital in parts of the region where aquifer depletion means irrigated agriculture will no longer serve as much of an economic backbone in coming years or decades?

 

This event is being led by the USDA-NIFA Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (OWCAP) team, along with the Kansas Water Office, Texas A&M AgriLife, and the USDA-ARS supported Ogallala Aquifer Program, and support from individuals in all eight Ogallala states. Between the pandemic, an extended period of drought, and lower commodity prices, summit organizers wondered if producers and other water management leaders would be inclined to meet virtually. Together, they assessed that the value of this event, which encourages people to meet one another and exchange a wealth of practical and technical expertise, would not be diminished if held online. In fact, more than ever, having an opportunity to help people connect and hear from one another and from producers in particular on many important dimensions of the water-dependent future of this region, seemed right and necessary. This event will serve as the capstone outreach event for OWCAP, an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and outreach project underway since 2016 involving researchers from 9 institutions based in 6 of the 8 Ogallala states.

 

Topics covered during the summit will include updates on projects, new programs, activities and policies that were inspired at least in part due to an earlier 8-state Ogallala summit event held in Garden City, Kansas in April of 2018. Together, participants will share their expertise and identify opportunities and gaps requiring attention, resources, and expanded collaboration within and across state lines to benefit agriculture and the region’s communities.

 

“The increasing depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer is one of the most daunting water problems in America. Extending and restoring the life of this resource, and, in turn, the economies and livelihoods that depend on it, will require collaboration across a diverse range of water-focused stakeholders and entities,” said Connie Owen, Director of the Kansas Water Office. “This summit will provide a unique opportunity to foster and strengthen that collaboration. It will cover emerging innovations, research, and policies as well as help identify opportunities for working together across state lines to address the water-related challenges facing this region and its communities.”

 

Registration for the summit costs $40; the fee for producers and students attending the 2-day event is $20. Participants from each of the eight states overlying the Ogallala aquifer will be represented: South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. A detailed schedule of this event is available at https://www.ogallalawater.org/. Members of the media are invited to attend.

Johnson Honored At Public Health Hero

Rebecca Johnson, SEKMCHD Director.

Last week, Governor Laura Kelly recognized Rebecca Johnson as a Public Health Hero in Kansas at her 4 pm press conference:

https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly/videos/3948694321829209

Johnson is the director of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department and her office is in Fort Scott.

The following is a submission by Johnson.

 

I am honored to be recognized by Governor Laura Kelly, but do not consider myself a hero. I care about and have a vested interest in the health and well-being of the counties and communities I serve and am trying to fulfill the duties of the Local Health Officer/Administrator to the best of my ability.

Just like as for many others, this last year has been extremely trying and stressful for me. COVID-19 has forced me from my comfort-zone and made new-norms for my everyday life, as it has for the rest of us. I am thankful to God for all the blessings and support He has given me. I would like to thank my husband and children, family, friends, my church, my staff, my board and medical director for all of their support. Without them, I may not have made it this far, as around 1/3 of the Local Health Officers/Administrators in Kansas have left their positions for one reason or another, since COVID-19 began.

There have been many people that have supported our organization and I over the past year and who still are, from city/county personnel and community members and local organizations to regional and state representatives. Thank you to all of these folks for your un-ending support-we still have a ways to go!!

I would like to recognize my amazing staff, the heart and soul of our health departments, many of whom have worked countless hours after they’ve gone home at night and throughout the weekend on COVID-19 related issues, but have missed out on so much with their own families, to promote and protect the health of the communities they love. They have continued to be adaptable and determined as they have trudged through, where many in their shoes would have already given up. These are the extraordinary people who work for SEK Multi-County Health Department and serve Public Health in the counties of Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson.

Allen County:

Public Health Nurse: Megan Neville

Administrative Assistant: Ruby Gulick

Accountant: Traci Ridge

Planning & Outreach Coordinator: Susan Belt

Home Visitor: Vicki Howard

WIC Coord/Public Health Nurse: Deidre Wilson

Anderson County:

Public Health Nurse: Samantha Mason

Administrative Assistant: Mika Mader

Bourbon:

Public Health Nurse: Alice Maffett

Public Health Nurse: Hannah Geneva

Administrative Assistant: Kristi George

Home Visitor: Holly Fritter

Woodson:

Public Health Nurse: Chardel Hastings

Administrative Assistant: Joni Diver

We have also been blessed to have been able to hire some part-time staff that work primarily on COVID-19 within our four counties. These exceptional people are: Cara Walden RN, Lisa Goins RN, Sara Goins, Jennifer Hyer RN and Benjamin Fischer, plus several others that have assisted us throughout the last several months: Stacy Sauerwein RN, Robin Hughes RN, Stachia Cooper RN, and Vicki Tureskis RN and numerous volunteers.

Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson

Caryn Tyson
Legislative Update by State Senator Caryn Tyson
January 22, 2021
Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 1602 titled Value Them Both (VTB) was supposed to be debated on the Senate Floor but it didn’t happen. It needs 27 votes to pass but senators were gone or refused to vote Yes or No. The House passed their resolution, House
Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 5003, with the same language on Friday. The Senate will debate it next week and if it passes there will be no need for the Senate resolution.
It is an important issue and should be debated. A few years ago, the legislature passed a bill banning dismemberment abortion in Kansas. A supermajority, 2/3 the legislature, supported the bill. The Governor signed it into law. However, the Kansas Supreme Court
nullified the law by issuing an extreme ruling that the Kansas Constitution allows dismemberment abortion. Where in the Kansas Constitution does it say that? The rogue Kansas Supreme Court is legislating from the bench again. The proposed constitutional
amendment, SCR 1602 and HCR 5003, would at least stop the Court from legislating on abortion. That duty is the responsibility of the legislature.
A constitutional amendment requires a resolution to pass in both chambers with a supermajority. Then the amendment would be on a ballot for all Kansas voters to cast a Yes or No vote. It is a high bar and should be to change our Constitution. The constitutional
amendment would reset the law as if the Court ruling hadn’t occurred. It is not a ban on abortion as such, but it would allow the people, through their elected legislature, to regulate
abortion.
COVID-19 testing parameters were quietly changed by Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) earlier this month and by the World Health Organization (WHO) last
week. The change in Kansas decreases the cycle threshold for testing. This is important because, according the medical experts, the higher threshold results in more false positives.
The WHO parameter change requires a person to have symptoms along with a positive test before anyone is diagnosed with COVID-19. These changes will lower the number of COVID-
19 cases. You can bet the news and others are going to say how the cases dropped because of vaccines or government mandates. How will we know what caused the decreased number
of cases when the definition of positive test changed?
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.
Caryn

State Tourism To Relocate To Kansas Dept. of Commerce

Governor Laura Kelly Proposes Agency Reorganization to Spur Economic Growth

~Governor Kelly to realign Tourism Division under the Department of Commerce~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced her intent to submit an Executive Reorganization Order (ERO) to the Kansas Legislature relocating the State’s Tourism Division to the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The move comes as the result of input from businesses, destination marketing organizations and other key industry partners, including the Travel Industry Association of Kansas (TIAK), The Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association (KRHA), and the Kansas Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), to consolidate Kansas’ tourism efforts primarily as an economic development tool.

“Consolidating our Tourism focus within the Department of Commerce sends a clear message to our industry partners and prospective companies that this administration will use every tool at our disposal to spur new economic development,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This realignment will benefit our business community, our tourism industry, and Kansas’s economic recovery as a whole.”

“This is a move the tourism industry has supported and it is the right time for this change,” TIAK President Jim Zaleski, Labette County CVB said. “Kansas Tourism and the Department of Commerce have a shared goal of bringing revenue into the state. A coordinated marketing effort will help establish and promote a consistent, strong state brand and a single “front door” to Kansas.”

“The Kanas Restaurant & Hospitality Association agrees the Kansas hospitality community will be best served by having our Travel and Tourism efforts within the Kansas Department of Commerce,” Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association President Adam Mills said. “At a time when hospitality needs every reform possible this reorganization will reposition us as we grow out of the recent strains of the pandemic.”

“The KEDA Board supports the ERO to move tourism promotion back to the Kansas Department of Commerce and believes that, utilizing the expertise and outreach of the state’s lead economic development agency, the move will increase awareness of tourism opportunities among visitors to our state,” President of the Kansas Economic Development Alliance, Steve Jack said. “Our organization serves 76 Kansas communities and counties, and we see the positive impact of the Department of Commerce’s efforts every day across the state. We are confident that Commerce will bring a similar spark to our state’s tourism.”

The Tourism Division will be housed within Business Development at the Kansas Department of Commerce. The Department already features several tools aimed at increasing tourism, including the Kansas Athletic Commission and the STAR Bond program.

“This move will create a more robust, centralized effort to attract Tourism to the state of Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “I appreciate the work that the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has put into this vital program, and I’m excited to see our team pursue new possibilities to increase tourism to Kansas.”

As a result of the ERO, the KDWPT will be designated as the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP).

“It’s exciting to see Tourism being positioned as a key part of our state’s economic development strategy,” KDWPT Secretary Brad Loveless said. “I fully support this decision and look forward to continued collaboration with the talented Tourism Division staff to promote our state’s wonderful natural resources.”

Governor Kelly will submit the ERO to the Kansas Legislature on Jan.25. The ERO becomes effective on July 1, following its transmittal to the Legislature, unless within 60 calendar days of transmittal, either the Senate or House adopts a resolution disapproving it.

Bourbon County Commission Agenda for Jan. 26

Agenda

Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: January 26, 2021

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jim Harris Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Clifton Beth Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

 

MEETING WILL BE HELD IN COMMISSION ROOM. ANYONE ATTENDING THE MEETING WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A MASK PROVIDED BY THE COUNTY. MUST MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING.

Call to Order

 

  • Flag Salute
  • Approval of Minutes from previous meeting
  • Eric Bailey, Road & Bridge Report (gravel for Evergreen Cemetery)
  • Eric Bailey, Executive Session, KSA 75-4319(b)(1) To discuss personnel matters of individual non elected personnel to protect their privacy
  • Jim Harris, Executive Session, KSA 75-4319(b)(1) To discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy
  • Resolution 07-21 Bond Refinance
  • Jim Harris, Discussion regarding dates/times of commission meetings
  • Will Wallis, Magnitude of New Strain of Corona Virus
  • County Counselor
  • Public Comments
  • Commission Comments

Justifications for Executive Session:

          KSA 75-4319(b)(1) To discuss personnel matters of individual nonelected personnel to protect their privacy

          KSA 75-4319(b)(2) For consultation with an attorney for the public body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

          KSA 75-4319(b)(3) To discuss matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

          KSA 75-4319(b)(4) To discuss data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trust, and individual proprietorships

          KSA 75-4319(b)(6) For the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property

          KSA 75-4319(b)(12) To discuss matters relating to security measures, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize such security measures.

Kansas National Guard in U.S. Capital

 

Submitted photos of Kansas National Guard with Senator Marshall. Submitted photos.

Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. visited with and thanked members of the Kansas National Guard protecting the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Additionally, the Senator delivered over 100 Chick-fil-A sandwiches for lunch, enough to cover all on-duty Kansas National Guard members.

“It is certainly an honor to be here in our nation’s Capitol and the Library of Congress with so many of my friends – troops from around the country. My dad was in the National Guard, my brother in the Air Force, myself in the Army Reserve for seven years – I have an appreciation for what it is like to leave your family behind and come do your job. So, I am truly grateful for them for keeping us all safe and sound. I am truly grateful for all the family members back home who made the sacrifice of sending your loved one here as well. And I just want to say thanks to the employers back home who make it possible for our National Guard and for our Army Reserve to come make the Capitol safe again. Thanks to everybody,” said Senator Marshall.

 

 

Governor’s Statement of Kansas House Passing Abortion Amendment

Governor Laura Kelly’s Statement on Kansas House Passing Abortion Constitutional Amendment

TOPEKA – The following is Governor Laura Kelly’s statement in response to the Kansas House of Representatives’ passage of an amendment to the Kansas Constitution to reverse the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision that abortion is a constitutional right under the state.

“I’ve always believed that every woman’s reproductive decisions should be left to her, her family, and her physician. While I know others do not share my belief, I don’t think those supporting this amendment are aware of the consequences it will have for the state of Kansas and our reputation.

“We already know how this ends – North Carolina’s notorious bathroom bill cost that state nearly $4 billion in economic development – and this amendment has the same potential to do irreparable damage to our COVID-19 economic recovery efforts and our long-term prospects to recruit businesses and workforce talent.”

Agenda For FSCC Board of Trustees Meeting Jan. 25

January 25, 2021
Board of Trustees
Fort Scott Community College
2108 S. Horton
Fort Scott, KS 66701

The Board of Trustees of Fort Scott Community College will meet in regular session on Monday, January 25, 2021. The meeting will be held via Zoom from Fort Scott Community College.

5:30 p.m. Regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom link

THE AGENDA
5:30 ROLL CALL, 3
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
CALL TO ORDER, 4
A. Comments from the Chair, 4
B. Audit Report – Terry Sercer, 4
CONSENT AGENDA, 5
A. Approval of Agenda, 5
B. Approval of Minutes of previous Regular Board Meeting conducted on December 14, 2020, 6
C. Approval of Treasurer’s Report, Bills, and Claims, 9
D. Approval of Personnel Actions, 5
E. Approval of Gordon Parks Museum Board Membe, 5
ACTION/DISCUSSION ITEMS, 44
A. Approval of Basketball Game Management Payments, 44
B. Approval of Volleyball Game Management Payments, 45
ITEMS FOR REVIEW, 46
A. Correspondence for Review, 47
REPORTS, 49
A. Administrative Updates, 50
EXECUTIVE SESSION, 63
ADJOURNMENT, 64
1
UPCOMING CALENDAR DATES:
• January 25, 2021: Board Meeting
• February 15, 2021: Board Meeting
• March 22, 2021: Board Meeting
• March 26, 2021: Aggie Day
• April 1 – 2, 2021: Good Friday – Campus Closed
• April 19, 2021: Board Meeting
• May 1, 2021: Graduation
• May 17, 2021: Board Meeting
• June 21, 2021: Board Meeting
Sincerely,
John Bartelsmeyer, Chair
Alysia Johnston, President
FSCC’s vision for the future is to support “Students First, Community Always” through a central focus on teaching and learning; advancing strong, innovative programs and departments; maximizing and leveraging opportunities; initiating efficient and effective processes; and developing the region’s workforce.

To view the entire board of trustees packet, click below

1.25.21 Consent Agenda(1)

FSCC Board of Trustees Minutes of Dec. 14, 2020

FORT SCOTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Minutes of the Board of Trustees Meeting, December 14, 2020
PRESENT: John Bartelsmeyer, Jim Fewins (via Zoom), Dave Elliott (via Zoom), Kirk Hart (via Zoom), Bill Meyer (via Zoom), and Robert Nelson (via Zoom for executive session and closing of meeting)

ALSO PRESENT: Alysia Johnston, President, Juley McDaniel, Board Clerk (via Zoom), and staff

Chairman Bartelsmeyer called the meeting to order at 5:40 pm. The meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
COMMENTS FROM THE CHAIR: None.
CONSENT AGENDA: A motion was made by Fewins, seconded by Meyer, and carried by unanimous vote to approve the consent agenda.

ACTION/DISCUSSION ITEMS:
A. A motion was made by Meyer, seconded by Hart, and carried by unanimous vote to approve the sale of the she-shed constructed by Construction Trades program students at CTEC.
B. A motion was made by Elliott, seconded by Fewins, and carried by unanimous vote to approve the disposal of all broken, damaged, or non-functional technology equipment.
C. A motion was made by Meyer, seconded by Elliott, and carried by unanimous vote to accept the cloud based phone system proposal from Allegiant.

REPORTS:
A. ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATES: The Board reviewed and heard reports from Miami County Campus, Student Services, Student Affairs and Athletics, Instruction, Finance and Operations, Development, and the President.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: A motion was made by Elliott, seconded by Hart, and carried by unanimous vote to adjourn to executive session for thirty minutes beginning at 6:25 pm for the preliminary discussion of the acquisition of real property. At 6:55 pm a motion was made by Hart, seconded by Nelson, and carried by unanimous vote to return to open session.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business to come before the Trustees, a motion to adjourn was made at 6:57 p.m. by Meyer, seconded by Elliott, and carried by unanimous vote.

 

To view the entire board of trustees packet, click here.

1.25.21 Consent Agenda(1)

Jim Harris Sworn In As County Commissioner

Jim Harris, Bourbon County Commissioner, District 2.

Bourbon County Commissioner District 2 Jim Harris was sworn in on January 11, 2021.

” I plan on following through with my campaign promises,” Harris said. ” I believe it’s time for the Bourbon County citizens to be heard and for the government to represent the people with respect and provide transparency to our government.”

 

“I believe we have to visit with folks to fully understand what services they want and don’t want,” he said. “We are hoping to have a town hall meeting in March, if we can get warmer weather.”

 

“I would like to continue holding town hall meetings this year to give me the opportunity to visit with folks and to understand their concerns,” he said.

 

He said he enjoyed having a town hall meeting in Gunn Park, but if not perhaps the Empress Event Center, in downtown Fort Scott.

 

“I hope with our town hall meetings, folks will get involved in a positive way,” he said.

 

The commission is collaborating with other entities to provide services.

“We are working with the City of Fort Scott and our health care providers to continue providing long-term health care,” he said.

 

“I am excited that we have a new BEDCO (Bourbon County Ecomonic Development Council) committee with high expectations of moving forward with economic growth. If we can grow and expand our tax base and ensure efficient, responsible spending we can lower our mill levy.”

” We have begun working with the City of Fort Scott with shared services to reduce the cost of operations and to discontinue duplicated services,” Harris said.

 

“Another area of concern is our infrastructure, mainly bridges, that we must continue to fund and make necessary repairs to keep our roads open.  We currently have a ten-year road program and I plan on requesting we put together and ten-year ditching and bridge replacement program with adequate funding.”

 

Since being sworn in, he has one appointment added.

 

“To date I have been appointed as a member of the Lake Advisory Committee,” Harris said.

 

” In closing, I want to express my thanks for the folks that elected me,” he said.  “I will always be accessible and be a humbled servant of the folks that are my boss which is the citizens of Bourbon County.”

 

 

To view his candidate profile from July 2020:

Jim Harris: Candidate For Bourbon County Commission

 

 

Contact info is jharris@bourboncountyks.org and 620-224-0230.

Susan Bancroft Assumes Duties as Bourbon County Business Manager

The Bourbon County Courthouse.

In an effort to consolidate some business services in government, a business manager has signed on for the county, in addition to her duties at the City of Fort Scott.

 

Susan Bancroft started January 19, 2021, as the part-time Bourbon County Business Manager.

Susan Bancroft. Submitted photo.

 

She is currently the City of Fort Scott Finance Director.

Fort Scott City Hall.

 

“For many years, the city and county have had interlocal agreements in the area of public safety,” Bancroft said. “This has been a long positive relationship meeting the needs of both city and county residents.”

 

“A couple of years ago a task force was formed and has been researching ways to save taxpayer dollars through shared services between the city and county,” she said.  “Recently, the county commission determined there was a need for a part-time business director and approached the city to see if this could be a shared service opportunity.”

 

 

To view a prior story on the movement to consolidate government services:  http://fortscott.biz/news/bedco

 

 

In order for the relationship to work, Bancroft agreed to work her regular hours with the City of Fort Scott and an additional 20 hours for Bourbon County.

 

 

“My current position is based on a 40-hour workweek so this would be an additional 20 hours per week,” Bancroft said.

 

 

The Bourbon County Business Director will initially be responsible for assisting the commission in the development and analysis of budgets and reporting, human-resource-related issues and policy,  and also accounts payable and receivable for public works, she said. Additionally, she will be the interdepartmental liaison to build relationships and oversight. Additional duties are expected to be added over time.

 

 

Bancroft will be paid $115,000 per year by the city. The county will pay $60,000 to the city for Bancroft’s services, according to the agreement between the two.

 

The memorandum of understanding between the city and county ends Dec. 31, 2021, with possible renewal.

 

To view the agreement between the city and county:

DOC011421-01142021165840

 

 

 

“Some may look at this as additional dollars being spent at the county level,” she said. “However, some of the assigned duties will replace expenses already being incurred by the county through contractual services.”

 

 

 

“In addition, the City of Fort Scott will realize approximately $34,000 in savings due to the partnership,” Bancroft said.

 

 

Bancroft worked for the City of Fort Scott from 2005-2012 as the finance director and spent two of those years as the assistant city manager/finance director.

 

 

From 2012-2015 she worked for USD 234 as the business manager/clerk. In 2015, she took a position with NPC International as their human capital management director until 2019 when she returned to the City of Fort Scott once again, as the finance director.

“HCM  encompasses human resources, benefits, payroll, and compliance,” she said. “NPC employed 40,000 employees at the time of my employment.”

 

 

“The four years I was in the private sector I missed actively serving the community in which I lived,” she said.  “I am excited to use the knowledge I have gained over the past 20 years to evaluate processes, budgets, improve transparency and build relationships between the City and County and its constituents.”

 

 

“I strive to see the glass half full rather than half empty, always looking for opportunities to improve,” she said.  “One of my favorite quotes by Henry Ford is ‘Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.’  I believe the city and county leaders are working towards this collaboration and look forward to many more opportunities to share services to reduce the burden on taxpayers.”

 

 

Bancroft will have offices at both entities.

 

“The (county) commission is currently working on finding a small space for me,” she said.  “I am fortunate to also have the ability to work remotely.”

Learn More About Broadband Development In Kansas

Governor Laura Kelly, Department of Commerce Seek Public Input for Broadband Office Grant Program

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the Kansas Department of Commerce has established an opportunity for the public to learn more about the Office of Broadband Development’s Broadband Acceleration Grant program and provide input on grant requests proposed for communities across Kansas.

The goal is to gather public input regarding the grant applications and associated service areas in an effort to ensure transparency in the broadband development process. The project proposals and proposed service area maps for each grant application are posted online, along with a public comment form for those wishing to express support or share concerns regarding a project.  These resources will be posted online through Feb. 1.

“Since I took office, my administration has been committed to promoting transparency and accountability in state government – and we want to ensure that Kansans are engaged when it comes to best practices regarding broadband development in our state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Connectivity is one of our top priorities, and effectively funding projects across Kansas will be a critical part of this mission. I would encourage any Kansan who wants to participate in this process to send us a comment.”

Service providers are also encouraged to submit comments and corresponding documentation should an area proposed to be served already has service available, construction is underway or planned in areas proposed to be served and will be completed within 12 months. The comments and evidence provided will be considered in the evaluation of the Acceleration Grant applications and determining final investment awards.

“As we go through the process of funding broadband projects across Kansas, we need to hear from you,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “We are committed to transparency in everything we do. These funds are for establishing critical broadband infrastructure across Kansas, and we want input directly from people in our Kansas communities. If you have something to tell us about a proposed project near you, we’re listening.”

Commenters may be asked to provide additional information and/or work with the Kansas Office of Broadband Development (KOBD) to validate service availability. If a commenter is found to have submitted inaccurate information, comment submissions will be disregarded.

A link to the Public Comment page containing the proposed projects and associated proposed service area maps is available here.

Grant applicants that receive comments for their proposed project during the public comment period will have an opportunity to respond between Feb. 2-9.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses.

About the Kansas Office of Broadband Development

The Kansas Office of Broadband Development was established in 2020 to help ensure that all Kansans have the opportunity to live, work, learn and compete in a global economy by improving universal access to quality, affordable and reliable broadband. The Office is housed within the Community Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce.