Pottawatomie County will pay more than double its annual allotment to the Flint Hills Regional Council, following a 2 to 1 vote by the county commission Monday.

The council, in an effort to retain its designation as the Flint Hills Economic Development District, approved a rate hike for its 24 member municipalities in November, from 60 to 90 cents per-capita, based on 2020 Census data, rather than 2010 data, which it had based dues on previously. The council estimates that doing so will allow the council to pay off its debts from a previous line of credit and become financially sustainable this year.

Pottawatomie County will pay out $12,925 to the council this year, based on a population of 14,362, multiplied by the 90 cents per-capita rate.

Commissioner Dee McKee serves as Pottawatomie County’s representative on the council’s board of directors and supported the increase, despite it coming almost six months after the county’s budget was set.

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The Council agreed to provide quarterly updates to the county about how it’s investment is paying off. Commissioner Pat Weixelman, initially was hesitant, but ultimately voted in favor of the increase and suggested some things he hopes to see included in future quarterly reports.

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Commissioners weren’t completely opposed to the increase as much as they were on the timing of the increase, which was only approved by the council in November. Pottawatomie County, like many government bodies in the area, already set its 2022 budget in the summer. County Administrator Chad Kinsley…

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Commission Chair Greg Riat voted no, supporting Kinsley’s recommendation to pay the former dues totaling $5,801 and reviewing any additional increases at its June budget meeting ahead of fiscal year 2023. McKee says the work the council has done to write grants and aid with economic development in Pottawatomie County and the region cannot be overlooked or overstated.

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In addition to the county being a member, the cities of Onaga, St. George, Wamego and Westmoreland are members of the Regional Council. The City of Manhattan and Riley County also are members.

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