Grant will aid law enforcement

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County commissioners approved an agreement to accept $26,550 from the federal Justice Assistance Program to be split between Allen County Sheriff’s and Iola Police departments.
Sheriff Tom Williams told commissioners the money will be divided to satisfy technology needs. The county will get $12,615; the city $13,835.
The county will purchase four computers for patrol vehicles to make report preparation more efficient and keep officers on the road more, rather than having to come to the office to file reports. Iola officers will get six computers to replace outdated ones in patrol cars and digital video equipment.
Commissioners also said they were near to reaching accord on Iola’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which will give Iolans property tax abatements for improvements or new construction of $5,000 or more.
The only remaining snag for county commissioners is how to deal with delinquent taxes. They think delinquency should remove a participant from the program.
Otherwise, “we’re OK with it,” Chairman Dick Works said.
The program will give a 95 percent rebate for six years — the county will retain 5 percent for administration — and declining rebates of 80, 60, 40 and 20 percent for the remainder of 10 years. All of Iola except newer areas in the north part of town will be eligible during the program’s three-year duration. Iola, USD 257 and Allen County Community College have already joined the program.
Appraiser Sandra Drake was given a new four-year contract. She earns about $56,000 a year and has held the position since 1993.
Darrin Petrowsky, a Kansas Department of Transportation engineer stationed here, told commissioners that no state or federal highway construction was planned in Allen County this year or next. He said shoulder repairs would be done along U.S. 169 from Minnesota Road, southeast of Iola, to the Allen-Neosho counties line and that concrete repairs would be done to the surface of U.S. 54 where needed. Some patching will occur on K-203 west of Elsmore and K-224 at the north edge of Humboldt. Petrowsky visited later in the day with Iola city commissioners.
Commissioners told John Green, representing the Area Agency on Aging, they would consider the agency’s request for $2,000 for next year’s budget. Green said about $220,000 was spent on services to the elderly in Allen County each year and his agency would have to deal with a $140,000 state aid cut for the nine counties of southeast Kansas. He anticipates attrition and putting new clients on a waiting list will keep the agency solvent.