Governor’s Council on Tax Reform Releases Second Interim Report
TOPEKA – A second interim report by the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform is issued in the wake of the last legislative session being cut short by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The report for consideration by the Kansas Legislature includes additional research of possible economic implications to the state caused by the pandemic.
Governor Laura Kelly established the bipartisan Governor’s Council on Tax Reform through Executive Order No. 19-11, which has since extended its formation.
The Council was tasked with conducting an in-depth assessment of the state’s tax structure, to explore strategies that increase both effectiveness and fairness, and receive input from stakeholders across the state.
The governor continues to recommend returning to the “three-legged stool” approach that relies on a sensible balance of income, sales, and property tax revenue.
The Council will continue to review aspects of state and local finances and how best to respond to federal tax law changes, the taxation of groceries as part of sales tax revenue, and how to best provide targeted property tax relief. The Council also is charged with determining how much room will be available in future budget projections for tax relief.
“I am pleased with the extensive work the Council has performed for the sound recommendations that will return the state to a balanced approach of sales, income and property taxes,” Governor Laura Kelly said.
Union Lofts Apartments, 20 S. Main in downtown Fort Scott, will be available to move into in mid-January 2021.
The building has been under demolition then reconstruction since 2018, at the corner of 1st and Main Streets.
Tony Krsnich, Flint Hills Holdings, (located at 7301 Mission Rd, 326 Prairie Village Campus, Prairie Village) is the developer.
Twenty-five apartments fill the three-story historic building, and eight have already been leased.
Some of the perks for living in them?
“The tenants will be living in a newly renovated historic building,” said Mandy Maples, Flint Hills Holdings Vice President of Operations. “There will be a courtyard area with seating and a BBQ grill, indoor workout facility, every apartment is uniquely designed.
No two apartments are the same. Every apartment is unique and holds its own personality.”
Residents may move in the middle of January and there are apartments available for leasing now, she said.
Applications can be picked up at 8 East First Street, at the apartment building across the street.
Flint Hills Holdings Group was established in early 2014. FHHG specializes in historic preservation and multifamily developments. FHHG has developed over $100MM of real estate in Kansas and Missouri since its inception in early 2014 and currently works in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Iowa.
The couple hopes to have the one bedroom available at the end of this week, Hoener said.
“There were a few issues with furniture and appliances being back-ordered that has delayed the opening,” she said.
History of the Hoener businesses at the site
“Our project started in 2016 when we started looking for a place to move Hole in the Wall Liquor. (https://holeinthewallliquor.com/) ,” she said. “One stipulation we had to move as we wanted to remain downtown. As business owners with a vested interest in our community, we wanted to make a larger impact beyond a retail store. Downtown revitalization’s direct impact is well documented and has shown to spur local economies.”
“When we took on this old and condemned building downtown, it literally had poles coming from the middle of the street, up to the side of the building, holding up the wall, for almost a decade,” Hoener said. “This was quite the eyesore to one of the main entrances of our downtown.”
“Heather Smith, the city’s then Economic Development Director, showed us several downtown buildings,” she said. “It was a hard sale. All of the buildings were in such disrepair that it would be impossible for us to come up with the capital to make the needed improvements. The cost of replacing the roof was much more than the value of the whole building. In short, we discovered what many already knew: it would be impossible to obtain a loan on a worthless building. We learned first-hand why these buildings are sitting empty but also a few tricks, tips, and solutions to the problem.”
” Smith, through the City of Fort Scott, was able to offer us the State of Kansas Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for historic districts,” Hoener said. “This is a state-wide grant program, highly competitive, to help cities provide financial incentives to bring these condemned buildings back to life. After much thought and planning, working through the risks and unknowns of old buildings, and working with Smith and Dave Martin, we decided to take a leap of faith. ”
“Working with Smith (even after she took on a new job in Wisconsin!) and Susan Galemore at the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission we wrote and submitted a winning CDBG grant,” she said. “The grant, paired with creative financing from Gregg Motley at Landmark National Bank, and lots of sweat equity, brought new life into the building, encouraging foot traffic downtown, and being a part of the momentum to spur economic growth.”
They had a plan and worked it.
“Our business plan was developed and written in phases,” she said. “The first phase was to move Hole in the Wall Liquor to the new location and open the retail liquor store.”
” The second phase was to then take advantage of the opportunity in the space upstairs and develop housing. We are now, four years later, almost to the end of that final phase,” Hoener said.
“Our initial plans were to use the space as market-rate apartments,” she said. “We have since decided to try marketing the space on VRBO as short term or vacation rental space. We have decided we can always offer them as apartments later if that does not work out.”
The regularly scheduled Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition membership meeting will be this Wednesday, December 2, at noon, in the Community Room at the High Rise Apartments, 315 Scott Avenue.
The agenda is as follows:
Bourbon County Inter-Agency Coalition
General Membership Meeting Agenda
December 2, 2020
Member Introductions and Announcements:
Program (no programs until January, 2021, at the earliest):
Adjournment: Next General Membership meeting will be January 6, 2021.
“Be sure to wear your mask and social distance as much as possible,” Billie Jo Drake, facilitator of the group said. “Due to the rise in Covid cases in Bourbon County, I certainly understand if you do not wish to attend a face-to-face meeting. If you have any announcements that you need to share, be sure to send them to me prior to 9:00 a.m. on meeting day.”
The following is the Cares Act Relief Program for landlords and tenants who have been impacted by the COVID pandemic.
Program Description: The Kansas Eviction Prevention Program (KEPP) provides rental assistance to households that have missed one or more rent payment(s) as a result of the COVID pandemic. Landlords and tenants apply via a joint online process. If the application is approved, the landlord receives rental assistance funds directly from KEPP, applies KEPP funds to the tenant’s account, and waives late fees for the month(s) assistance was awarded. Approved tenants are eligible for a maximum of nine months of assistance, not to exceed $5,000 per household.
KEPP serves tenants and landlords who have missed paying or collecting at least one rent payment since April 1, 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
Apply online through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation :
TOPEKA – The Cold Weather Rule, designed to help Kansans who are behind on their utility payments avoid disconnection during the winter months, will begin on November 1 and remain in effect through March 31.
While the Cold Weather Rule is in effect, utility companies cannot disconnect a customer’s service when local temperatures are forecast to drop below 35 degrees within the following 48-hour period. The Kansas Corporation Commission, the agency that regulates public utilities in the state, implemented the rule in 1983 to prevent utility companies from disconnecting a customer’s natural gas or electric service during periods of extreme cold.
The Cold Weather Rule also requires utility companies to offer a 12-month payment plan to allow consumers to maintain or re-establish service. Any residential customer with a past due balance will qualify for payment arrangements; however, it is the customer’s responsibility to contact their gas or electric company to make those arrangements.
Payment plan terms to maintain or restore service require that customers agree to pay 1/12th of the total amount owed, 1/12th of the current bill, the full amount of any disconnection or reconnection fee, plus any applicable deposit to the utility. The remaining balance must be paid in equal payments over the next 11 months, in addition to the current monthly bill.
The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric and natural gas utility companies under the KCC’s jurisdiction. More information about the Cold Weather Rule is available on the Commission’s website (http://www.kcc.ks.gov/consumer-information/cold-weather-rule). Kansans may also contact their local utility company or the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at (800) 662-0027.
Girard, KS –The Southeast Kansas Community Action Program (SEK-CAP), is now assisting landlords and tenants in filling out applications for the Kansas Eviction Prevention Program (KEPP). This program is available for a limited time only.
The KEPP program will serve tenants and landlords who have missed paying or collecting at least one rent payment since April 1, 2020, due to the COVID pandemic.
Landlords and tenants are required to apply via a joint online process. Approved applicants will be eligible for a maximum of 9 months of assistance, not exceeding $5,000 per household. SEK-CAP staff are available to assist in the online application process.
The Kansas Eviction Prevention Program is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). It was authorized by Governor Kelly’s Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce and is administered by Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC). SEK-CAP is a partner agency helping to assist in the online application process.
For more information about this program, please call (620)724-8204.
The Southeast Kansas Community Action Program is a 501 (c) (3) private, non-profit organization serving twelve southeast Kansas counties. SEK-CAP is headquartered in Girard and was created in 1966 to combat poverty. The organizational mission is to unite staff, individuals, families, and community partners to provide quality, comprehensive services through compassionate, respectful relationships. Programs include Head Start, Early Head Start, Housing, Community Engagement, General Public Transportation and Avenues to Success. Contact the SEK-CAP central office at 401 N. Sinnet or by dialing 620.724.8204. Visit the website at www.sek-cap.com or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SEKCAPINC.
401 N. Sinnet
P. O. Box 128
Girard, KS 66743
Governor Kelly Announces Executive Orders Temporarily Prohibiting Evictions and Foreclosures, Extending Motor Carrier Relief
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed Executive Orders #20-61 and #20-62 as part of her administration’s commitment to protecting Kansans’ health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Order #20-61 temporarily prohibits initiating any mortgage foreclosure or judicial proceedings, and any commercial or residential eviction efforts or judicial proceedings due to financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic until September 15, 2020.
“COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities and is creating challenges for businesses and employees alike,” Governor Kelly said. “Kansas families who miss mortgage or rent payments due to lost wages will need our support until the Senate extends unemployment assistance. I will continue to do everything I can to make sure the people in our state can stay in their homes and protect their businesses.”
Executive Order #20-62 extends temporary relief for motor carriers from certain rules and regulations until rescinded, until September 14, 2020, or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier. It is an extension of measures put in place by Executive Order #20-57.
“This order will allow our motor carriers to continue delivering much-needed supplies to Kansans who need them, and ease the burden on those who have a critical role in our state’s response to COVID-19,” Governor Kelly said.
The order lifts certain weight restrictions and permitting requirements to allow needed medical supplies, food shipments and other items to move through Kansas as quickly as possible. These exceptions apply only to motor carriers actively participating in COVID-19 response effort.
Governor Kelly announces Executive Order to temporarily prohibit evictions and foreclosures
Governor Kelly on Tuesday announced Executive Order #20-06 to temporarily prohibit evictions and foreclosures across the state in an effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Due to negative economic impacts of COVID-19, Governor Kelly and her administration decided to take steps to support Kansans who may miss mortgage or rent payments as a result of lost wages and other income.
“We understand that this pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges for people across the state,” Kelly said. “Kansas families need our support, and my administration is committed to doing everything it can to make sure Kansans can stay in their homes and businesses. It’s a necessary step to further protect Kansans’ health and safety.”
The Executive Order temporarily prohibits all financial institutions operating in Kansas from initiating any mortgage foreclosure efforts or judicial proceedings, and any commercial or residential eviction efforts or judicial proceedings until May 1, 2020.
This order comes after a State of Disaster Emergency for the State of Kansas was proclaimed by Kelly on March 12, 2020.
“Architects and engineers work from their offices most of the time,” Krsnich said. “They’ve been on site along with subs every week for the past five weeks or so.”
Hans Thomas and Associates, K.C. MO are the architects, Agricultural Engineering Associates, Uniontown, is the civil engineer, Rau Construction, Overland Park is the general contractor, and Joe Towns, Lee’s Summit, MO is the structural engineer, Krsnich said.
The developer, Flint Hills Holdings, is located at 2315 W. 65th, Mission Hills, KS.
Completion of the project is expected to be in December currently, he said.
New businesses that have opened up downtown were highlighted at the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet on Jan. 28. The meeting took place at Papa Don’s Restaurant.
Luther’s BBQ Restaurant, Moe’s Bread bakery, Ascension Via Christi’s medical office, Modern Woodmen of America office, the Bolton Law Firm, Visage Skin Care Spa-were mentioned by Chamber Executive Director Lindsay Madison to the group.
Up Dog Yoga, a fitness center, opened up at 12B North Main in September.
Common Grounds Coffee Shop, 10 E. Wall, is tentatively slated to be completed in April, Madison said. They will move from their current site on Main Street to a larger building.
Additionally, Structure by Margo, a beauty salon, will open next month at 19 S. National Ave.
And the Unsung Heroes Park, between Wall and First Street on Main Street is slated for completion this year.
Mayco Ace Hardware was recently approved for a loan for rehabilitating it’s building, Fort Scott Economic Director Rachel Pruitt told the meet and greet attendees.
The historic building at First and Main Street, is back on track to be made into apartments as well.
“We are moving forward,” Tony Krsnich, CEO of Flint Hills Holdings Group, told FortScott.Biz. “A new contractor, Rau Construction, Overland Park, will be starting in the next few weeks.”
“It will be made into 25 apartments, rents that accommodate a wide range of rents, from $300 up,” Krsnich said. “They will be one and two-bedroom units.
On the Main Street first floor there will be a commons area and some apartments also, he said.
The tentative date for completion is Sept. 1, Krsnich said.
Madison stated January is the start of a new year for grants for businesses and that Fort Scott is an eCommunity which strives to encourage entrepreneurship.