It has been a very busy week within our county offices. The County Clerk’s office is busy fulfilling the state requirements of a primary election, the 2021 budget is near completion, and add to this list that the allocation of SPARK funds from the state has been submitted for approval.
News from the health department reflects an uptick in active cases of COVID in Harper County.
Current case numbers are
Total cases – 23
Active cases – 11
Recovered – 12
Deaths – 0
Negative test – 540
Total test - 557
You are encouraged to wash your hands, keep a safe distance when out, wear a mask and support your immune system with good hygiene and quality nutritional supplements. Be smart about your health!
In March the federal government passed the CARES Act which provided funding to aid in the country’s efforts to mitigate COVID related costs. In turn, the state of Kansas was awarded $3 billion (as in B), allocating a portion of these funds to each county, according to a population formula. Harper County was granted $1,084,099 to help alleviate the pressure from COVID related costs and challenges in our communities.
A committee of elected officials from each taxing entity was formed to create a plan for utilization of these funds. The plan, approved by the BoCC, divides the monies between county, cities, long term care facilities, and schools. In turn, each entity was asked to submit a list of COVID related expenses associated with their efforts to diminish the impact of the virus. The county’s portion has been earmarked for reimbursement of expenses related to emergency management, our Public Health Department, and EMS. Limited expenses were also incurred by other departments (i.e. plexi-glass separators in public offices), but overall, the funds allocated to the county were directly connected to health care.
In case you are wondering why Patterson Health Center was not a receiving entity, in the words of their Chairwoman, Martha Hadsall, “We have been blessed and would like to withdraw so other entities can participate more fully”.
The 2021 budget is chugging along….slowly. It has been a most difficult year, with a loss of 16% of ad valorum taxes. As stated before, the reduction of oil and gas value directly impacts most entities in Harper County. We have been working hard to identify ways to maintain the mill levy at 59, where it has stood for the last 6 years.
Budget preparations include forecasting building and equipment needs along with staffing needs, including anticipated turnover. An imminent retirement is that of our current “Comptroller/Internal Auditor”. This part time position has been filled, in cooperation with Kingman County, by a contract employee for a number of years.
When Cheryl Adelhardt retired, Melinda McCurley, Assistant to the BoCC and Community Development Director, assumed various financial responsibilities within the county, including preparation of the state budget, to avoid the considerable expense of hiring an external auditor. Due to her extensive knowledge of the financial obligations of Harper County, she will transition smoothly into the position of Comptroller/Internal Auditor, while continuing to perform her duties as Assistant to the BoCC.
As a result of this transition, the county has begun the process of hiring a Community Development Director to focus solely on the success and growth of our local business community. This position is part time, and preferred candidates will be visionary, forward thinking, big picture people who communicate well and understand the needs of a business owner in a small, rural community. If you know someone who fits that description, please have them apply on line at www.harpercountyks.gov.
Any questions or thoughts email firstname.lastname@example.org, text or call 316-215-5050.
“Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.”- Ronald Reagan