Manhattan Ogden USD 383 leaders brought concerns about a new mail ballot requirement for school district’s local option budget to intergovernmental leaders Monday. Board President Leah Fliter and Supt. Bob Shannon presented information to the group, with Fliter explaining current guidelines on local option budgets.
Now there is a requirement to have a mail ballot, as opposed to having the issue decided during a general election–which means a cost of more than $60,000 to the local district. Fliter indicated they’re hoping to get local legislative support to reverse this amendment.
Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo told the group Blue Valley Randolph’s USD 384 is already planning on such a mail ballot election. February 24th is the date for that election. Vargo indicated he has nothing to do with the change and just has to follow the law.
Manhattan Mayor Pro Tem Karen McCulloh admits there was quite a bit of concern and some complaining among the group, describing it as “kind of a pity party.” because they’re trying to do a good job at a local level but they find themselves frustrated with what’s coming from the state.
Internet sales tax was a main topic of the meeting. Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr mentioned losing Amazon, which has had a facility in the state, will mean even more of a reduction in Kansas. Fehr says the city has lost anywhere from $600,000 to $700,000 thousand dollars a year, which is more than a mill–and makes a difference for the city of Manhattan.
Fehr also expressed concern about declining revenue at the state level possibly impacting transportation projects, with the city having several the next few years.
Mental health matters were also mentioned as other concerns that need to be brought before state legislators.
The intergovernmental group is made up of representatives from the school district, city of Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas State University, Chamber of Commerce, and Fort Riley. This was the last meeting of the year, with the group coordinating the monthly meetings changing from the city of Manhattan to USD 383.