Savonburg prime example of good use of spending

opinions

March 10, 2010 - 12:00 AM

The next time you don’t think your tax dollars are well-spent, take a trip to Savonburg.
Tucked in the far reaches of Allen County, the town of 89 citizens is held together by a vi-brant library and community center.
As reported elsewhere in today’s Register, the library received a generous grant Tuesday, handed down through a Community Capacity Building grant. The money will fund two summertime student positions at the library, as well as pay for materials, specifically DVDs and audio books.
That’s giving two underprivileged youths gainful employment and expanding the library’s holdings substantially.
This week the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program is funneling $258,000 in CCB funds to 21 community-based programs throughout its 12-county region. It’s the second half of funding that began last year.
Other beneficiaries of the largesse include Cha-nute, where about $24,500 was directed to its new recreation center for the purchase of equipment. With the equipment in hand, a recreation coordinator now can be hired.
In Linn County, a stipend of $24,750 will pay for summertime jobs for 24 youths between 16 and 21.
For Woodson and Cher-okee counties funds will be directed to purchase back-to-school backpacks complete with school supplies. Woodson will receive more than $19,000 for the program; Cherokee, $9,400.
Labette County’s United Way program received $20,000 that will be dispersed among 16 programs.
These recent area grants are part of $1.293 million in Community Development Block Grant funds directed to SEK-CAP and represent about one-fourth of the total given to it from the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of that, almost $3 million goes to weatherization projects. The other $1 million is directed to Head Start programs for our needy young.
Nationwide, about $1 billion was distributed among 1,100 programs similar to SEK-CAP.
Of that, Allen County directly benefited by about $117,000, including about $25,000 for the expansion and staffing for Iola’s Elm Creek Community Garden and expansion of Tri-Valley Developmental Services offerings in Iola.
Other area communities have benefited as well from the federal stimulus program. Neo-sho Falls may be down on its luck, but it will have a nice baseball diamond and city park when it receives a share of the $77,951 awarded to Woodson County.
Likewise, Bourbon County’s Mother-to-Mother program got a badly needed stipend to its parenting program that helps low-income families learn the essentials of raising a child.

WE CAN come away from this news with two facts.
First, it pays to seek funds through submitting grants. The five-page grant the Savonburg library submitted was not difficult to write. All it took was a thorough knowledge of its operation and how the money requested would better its services. Specific questions helped guide the direction of the submission.
Second, like it or not, we live in the poorest quadrant of the state. We have many, many people in desperate need of help.
All of the recipients above offer activities or programs that encourage families not only to hang in there, but also to improve their situations in life.
Though this most re-cent stream of funding has dried up, we’re grateful for the infusion.
And as taxpayers, we should be glad to have helped.

— Susan Lynn

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