Riley County commissioners on Thursday signed a local emergency disaster declaration to cover storm damage in the area over the last 30 days.

Pat Collins, county emergency management director, made the request, said Clancy Holeman, county counselor.

The declaration lasts through next week, and can be extended longer.

Holeman said storms and floods did half a million dollars in damage to property within the county. The declaration covers sinkholes and other storm damage, with the potential for state or federal reimbursements, Holeman said. However, Holeman said the declaration does not necessarily guarantee those reimbursements.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

  • Listened to the Riley County Health Department report by Jennifer Green, health department director. The department’s chronic disease risk reduction coordinator and the city are collaborating on updating Manhattan’s no-smoking ordinance and combining it with the e-cigarette ordinance. Green said the Manhattan City Commission will examine the topic in October, where the public can provide feedback.
  • Heard Green’s report about the health department’s track of the 2019 budget. The department has used 60.29% of its budget so far, according to budget documents.
  • Approved a paid internship for the health department under the Sunflower Foundation. The intern will work 20 hours a week from September through July for a total of $16,593.56.
  • Approved a grant application to Home Depot and the Manhattan-Ogden school district for money to install “StoryWalk,” a walking and reading path outside of the health department building for children and their parents. The applications will ask for $1,000 from the school district and $500 from Home Depot.
  • Heard Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, discuss a program that is teaming up area fourth graders and 33 businesses to inform students about job opportunities in the area. Smith said it is important to let children know about future careers as early as possible.
  • Heard from Tami Robison, budget and finance officer for the county, who said everything is looking positive in regards to monthly cash flow reports for the county last month. She said there was no economic development fund transactions last month.