City ups codes work, remains within budget

Just as Fort Scott citizens are becoming creative with ways to stay within their budgets, the City of Fort Scott is doing the same. City Manager Dave Martin explained at this morning’s Chamber Coffee the challenges the city faced as a result of the destructive April hailstorm. As a result of increased workload in the Codes Department, the department needed more help to keep up with notifying homeowners of the need to clean up their properties, and  keeping track of licensing for the numerous roofing contractors coming into town. “I’m real proud of our codes department,” Martin said. Martin said that the “extra hours and the extra money” resulting from the storm have been successfully absorbed by the city. Part of these money-saving strategies was the transfer of Bruce Swank from Streets to the Codes Department.

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Codes Manager Brent Crays, Police Chief Travis Shelton, and Codes assistant Bruce Swank listen as local businessman Mark McCoy conducts the “Dollars for Dolly” announcements.

Codes assistant Bruce Swank said of the situation, “Since the hailstorm . . . we’ve just been swamped.” Swank described operations at the codes department as a “three-tiered cake” of goings on with repairs, cleanup and daily operations. Of progress on home repairs in the city, Swank said, “We’re only about halfway through.” Codes Manager Brent Crays reported that of the 183 occupational licenses issued to contractors, only “two or three” have been problematic. When asked how long work on storm-damaged homes would continue, Crays said that work would likely continue into next year.

In other storm-related news, Tim Emmerson Jr. reported that for residents 62 years old and older whose homes have been damaged, an income-based grant of $7,500 may be available. Emmerson said that the application is easy to fill out, and that County Emergency Manager Terri Coop is the person to see about getting an application.

In other news:

  • The Santana family, owners of La Hacienda, hosted chamber members and guests for this morning’s Chamber Coffee. “We are very happy to have everybody here,” said Mirna Santana. According to Santana, the restaurant is now in its 3rd year of serving Fort Scott. Mark McCoy, announcer for today’s Chamber Coffee, added that La Hacienda is run by “wonderful, accommodating people.”
  • City Economic Development Director Heather Griffith announced that the city is working with officials in Lawrence to discuss options for other internet service providers in town. “The city is working hard . . . to expand our internet offerings in Fort Scott,” Griffith said.
  • Chamber Executive Director Lindsey Madison announced the Chamber After Hours event to be held next Thursday from 5:15PM-7:30PM at the Fort Scott Professional Building, formerly Newman-Young Clinic. Madison also announced that next Friday an Art Crawl event will be held downtown from 5Pm-8PM. Madison said that booths are free, and encouraged local artists to participate in the event. According to Madison, Ralph Carlson has organized musical entertainment for the 3 hour event.

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