Kansas Picks 614 Small Communities For Portion Of Federal Relief Package

By Sherman Smith – Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — Waldron Mayor Shirley Nelson was happy to learn her tiny south-central Kansas community is slated to receive $1,517.07 in federal pandemic relief.

State officials on Wednesday revealed the list of 614 small communities that will receive American Rescue Plan funds administered by the state. Waldron, with a population that fluctuates from 10 to 12, has the distinction of being the smallest city in Kansas to receive a chunk of the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package.

“I’ll be glad to have it,” Nelson said. “We’re very, very small, so any extra income is very, very welcome. We have streets to take care of and stuff. It would be a really big help.”

Those streets require a special kind of gravel that won’t sink into the underlying sand. Waldron, which sits along the Oklahoma border in Harper County, is a nice place to live, Nelson said, but doesn’t have a single business to support city operations. Everything is privately owned.

“It’s that small,” Nelson said.

State and local governments in Kansas will get $1.58 billion through the federal aid package, including $167 million through the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund for cities with a population of less than 50,000. At the large end of the spectrum, Salina, population 46,000, will get $7 million, and Hutchinson, population 40,000, will get $6.1 million.

Each of the state’s 105 counties and 10 metropolitan cities also will receive money from the U.S. Treasury as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Congress passed the stimulus package earlier this year to assist with the long-term economic and public health recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Laura Kelly said the funding “will provide critical resources to Kansas communities as we continue our recovery.”

“We must use these dollars to make the strategic investments that will build a better, more inclusive and resilient economy for future Kansans,” Kelly said.

State officials ruled out townships from receiving funding, based on federal requirements. The governor said she will make a recommendation to the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Task Force to provide relief for townships from an alternate funding source.

SPARK oversees distribution of federal funding, with final approval by the State Finance Council.

The newly reshaped SPARK roster includes Greg Orman, who lost the governor’s race to Kelly as an independent candidate in 2018. He was appointed to the panel by House Speaker Ron Ryckman, who also is on the panel. Other members include Senate President Ty Masterson and his appointment, Bill Pickert, along with Lt. Gov. David Toland, Administration secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace, and Kelly appointee Jon Rolph.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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