Intergovernmental leaders from the Manhattan area learned a bit more about the Metropolitan Planning Organization during a Monday meeting, with MPO Transportation Planner Stephanie Watts presenting a power point to the group. Watts indicated she was glad to visit with the diverse group. Watts was questioned about the relationship between the MPO and Flint Hills Regional council, which is housed in the same location with some sharing of personnel. Meanwhile, Watts told the group the MPO designation agreement has been signed by five jurisdictions, and after one more signature, the agreement will go to the Kansas Department of Transportation. The first official policy board meeting is expected to be March 13th.
Although its been existence for a couple of years now, the Flint Hills Regional Council’s composition and role can sometimes be confusing. Interim Executive Director of the group Gary Stith admitted that during his presentation to intergovernmental leaders. Stith mentioned different plans and projects the group works on, which serve different numbers of area counties. Stith also made it clear to the group he is only serving in a temporary role, with the ad for a permanent executive director going out this week, with hopes to have someone hired by the end of April.
It’s birthday time for Kansas State University, and Jackie Hartman, K-State’s Chief of Staff and Director of community relations, told intergovernmental leaders of plans for the 150th during the group’s Monday meeting. Hartman says a variety of activities are planned, beginning February 14th.
A couple of off-agenda items were discussed by intergovernmental leaders Monday, with Riley County Counselor Clancy Holeman expressing concern in changes in taxes being considered by state legislators, including one dealing with large property tax payers. While state chamber officials seem to support the change, Holeman warns it could hurt in the long run, saying somebody’s going to pay those taxes. He also mentioned the shift in property taxes across the state.
Also toward the end of the meeting, outgoing Manhattan Mayor Loren Pepperd reminded the group to consider the importance of communicating more, especially in such a setting as the intergovernmental group. He specifically mentioned the Manhattan urban area comprehensive plan as an area the group could work on.
A reminder the intergovernmental group is comprised of representatives from the city of Manhattan, Riley County, USD 383, Kansas State, Fort Riley and the Manhattan ARea Chamber of Commerce.