City news

The Abilene City Commission voted 4-0 to allocate funds from the Special Alcohol and Drug Fund to Cedar House Foundation and the Quality of Life Coalition at its special meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting was moved from Monday to Tuesday because of Memorial Day.

Finance Director Marcus Rothchild said there was $42,727 in the fund.

Three organizations have requested funds:

• Cedar House — $13,000;

• Quality of Life Coalition — $22,500;

• Central Kansas Foundation — $10,000.

The city of Abilene receives a tax on the sale of liquor at stores, drinking establishments and caterers which the commission is responsible for dispersing.

The city commission is directed to control the funds which are to be used for services and programs for the purpose of alcoholism and drug abuse education, alcohol and drug detoxification, intervention in alcohol and drug abuse or treatment or those in danger of becoming alcoholics and drug users.

The commission approved the funding for Cedar House and the Quality of Life Coalition.

Rothchild said the city should be receiving three more payments of the fund this year which would be available later for the Central Kansas Foundation.

Patti O’Malley, director of Cedar House Foundation, said in a letter to the commission that the funds would be used to expand the social enterprise programming through aquaponics and horticultural therapy.

“Residents will grow, harvest and distribute nutritious food as part of their healing process,” the letter said.

Cedar House residents operate an onsite food bank that has delivered food for 21,305 meals to Abilene area residents in crisis since January 2105.

Vicki Gieber, executive director of Quality of Life Coalition, said last year’s funds were used as a grant match to leverage an additional $67,000 from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services Kansas Preventive Collaborative grant for a total of $75,000 in preventive funds.

The commission approved a $2,500 settlement with Red Hills Group to terminate an either approved agreement to identify unique assets of Abilene compared to the rest of the region and how the city can best capitalize on those opportuniteis,.

“Previously the city manager handled all of the interaction (with Red Hils Group) but not the staff,” he said.

The city manager is no longer with the city. The $2,500 of the $7,500 budget was for work already associated with the agreement.

“Is there any product for the $2,500?” asked Mayor Tim Shafer.

City Attorney Aaron Martin suggested there would not be.

Shafer suggested a detail breakdown of the services rendered be provided.

Commissioner Dee Marshall and Chris Ostermann both were concerned that asking for more services would result in more funds.

Marshall suggested “cutting our losses.”

The commission met in executive session to discuss a potential interim city manager candidate and legal negotiations with landowners in connection with the acquisition of Eighth Street from North Washington to Van Buren.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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