1 of 1
During a Unified Government special session on casino charitable contributions Aug. 17, Commissioner Mike Kane (in the green shirt) said the 5th District and 7th District received none of the charitable grants. (Staff photo)
Unified Government Commissioner Mike Kane stood up for Piper and the 5th District today.
During a discussion about the procedures for grants from the Hollywood Casino charitable funds, Kane pointed out that his district, the 5th District, including part of western Wyandotte County, received none of the grants from the $500,000 total. Also receiving none of the money was another western district, the 7th District, represented by Jim Walters. The 7th District includes Bonner Springs.
During the past year, an advisory panel evaluated grant applications and selected the top ones to receive grants. They were all designed to improve health in the community. Commissioners discussed the program during a special session at 5 p.m. Oct. 17.
“I’ve never felt this way in the eight years I’ve been here, ever,” Kane said. He suggested possibly dividing the $500,000 in nine ways for each commissioner to spend in each district. “He’ll get it where he needs it.
“How do I tell the people that you have paid a boatload of taxes and you get absolutely nothing out of $500,000,” Kane said. “You tell me what I’m supposed to tell those people. Somebody give me a suggestion.”
Commissioner Jane Winkler Philbrook took him up on it and suggested it was similar to people who asked why they should pay taxes to the school district when they don’t have kids in school. “I’m glad to do this because I want people to be taken care of even if they don’t live in my district,” she said.
Kane responded he was glad to pay for schools, but added about these charitable grants, “If this is the way it’s going to go, I don’t want nothing to do with it. You can trash it. Give them the money back.”
Commissioner Tarence Maddox, who brought up the idea of each district receiving money last year, said he foresaw this happening.
At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Brian McKiernan had suggested maintaining the status quo, or doing the same thing as last year for some of the grant process. That suggestion came from an advisory panel meeting with McKiernan and Commissioner Ann Murguia, according to the commissioners. They said that if there were changes to be made, they would have to be made before the grant process starts for next year. Also discussed was changing the way advisory panel members were selected.
After Kane’s comments, Murguia said she had serious concerns about grants distributed throughout the community as well. She said she will bring to the commission a new idea for distributing the grant funds that would be equitable to the districts. That alternate idea would be presented at a future meeting along with the “status quo” so that commissioners could decide between them.
She said that it was not presented today because she was sensitive to the time it would take staff to work on it, and she had been planning to bring it up next year. Now she will bring it to a special commission meeting soon, she said.
Commissioner Hal Walker said he thought it might undercut the effectiveness of the program to just divide up the money among all the districts.