Building commission debate continues

By Maura Wery

A member of the community made a case for creation of a Public Building Commission during Thursday’s meeting of the Riley County Commission.

Ed Krieger, who identified himself as a retiree, told commissioners the county has much more infrastructure than most people think. He said that infrastructure will have to be added to or fixed in order to keep up with growth, and doing so will require taxpayer monies.

“The need is there, whether we do it with a bond or the Public Building Commission,” Krieger said.

Commissioners agreed with Krieger’s assessment, although they added that no major decisions are going to be made until all the options are weighed. That includes how the public feels about the idea.

“We are getting some heat but we are going to make a decision that benefits Riley County and we won’t make a decision in a vacuum,” said commissioner Bob Boyd. “We want input.”

Treasury problems

Riley County Treasurer Eileen King told commissioners that some employees are having trouble learning a new system to register and collect funds from owners of commercial vehicles.

King said this system, which has been used before in some smaller counties, is different from the system the county normally uses. It allows the state to collect taxes off both local commercial vehicles and those that travel through the state. State officials are asking county treasurers whether they want to use the new system, and King is unsure what her answer should be.

King told commissioners she initially was going to turn down the offer, mainly because she didn’t want to ask her employees to learn another system. But after reevaluating the situation, King realized that this system included not just commercial trucks, but also large size pickup trucks used by construction businesses, making it almost impossible for her to say no to the new system.

Commissioners backed King.

“It’s the right thing to do even if it’s no fun,” Commissioner Ron Wells said.


Department of ag

The president of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce briefed commissioners on his agency’s efforts to help people from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and also from Fort Riley set up their new homes in the area.

Butler said the chamber met with families from the Department of Agriculture this week and gave them information on real estate opportunities, schools, quality of life and job opportunities for other family members.

He said those who came to the information session felt “very good” about the experience and were impressed by how long each entity stayed to talk with them about their concerns.

Department of Ag officials earlier this year announced plans to relocate most of the office from Topeka to Manhattan next year.

The Military Relations Team does the same thing with families coming into the area from Fort Riley. Butler said they met with Maj. Gen. Paul Funk to talk about the expected loss of one brigade from Fort Riley. Butler said the expected reduction should be around 1,300 to 1,700 people over a four-year span starting in two years.

He said that despite the loss, more units will either come in or grow in size, so things might even out in the long-term.

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