Commissioners authorize job description for economic development position

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth County commissioners have asked the county administrator to prepare a job description for a new position that will oversee economic development activity.

Commissioners have discussed creating an economic development director position for the county government. However, commissioners have not settled on an exact title for the job.

Commissioners plan to use money collected through a property tax mill levy designated for economic development to pay for the new position. In the past, money collected through this mill levy has been used to provide funding to the Leavenworth County Port Authority and Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

Commissioners still plan to provide funding to the Port Authority and LCDC next year. But the county's level of funding for the two organizations will be significantly reduced.

During a work session last week, commissioners decided to keep $160,000 of anticipated revenue from the economic mill levy in 2022 to use for county purposes and provide the remaining $149,000 to the Port Authority. The Port Authority can share some of this funding with LCDC.

The Port Authority had requested $208,590 in funding from the county for 2022. LCDC made a request for $90,629 in funding.

During a meeting Wednesday, Commissioner Mike Stieben asked if the commission was going to ask County Administrator Mark Loughry to start writing a job description for the new economic development position.

"I think we should," Commission Chairman Mike Smith said.

He said the county administrator can at least start the process of writing the job description.

"We haven't approved a budget yet," Commissioner Doug Smith said.

Doug Smith said Loughry is busy working on the 2022 budget.

"It doesn't hurt to go ahead and have it ready," Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said.

Mike Smith asked Loughry to work on it when he has time.

One county commissioner, Vicky Kaaz, has voiced opposition to the creation of the position and reduction of funding for the Port Authority and LCDC.

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Approved an updated sanitary code for the county. The code is being changed to allow designed septic systems on properties between one and 2.5 acres. The systems have to be designed by a licensed designer.

Commissioners approved the updated code following a public hearing. No one from the public provided comment during the hearing.

The vote was 4-1. Commissioner Vicky Kaaz voted against the motion.

• Approved a bid from B & R Insulation, Lenexa, in the amount of $14,735 for the abatement of asbestos on the first and second floors of the former Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital building. The building is owned by the county government.

• Met behind closed doors in executive session for 30 minutes to consult with an attorney. When commissioners returned to open session, they voted to authorize Senior County Counselor David Van Parys to proceed as discussed during the executive session.