STEP Funds In Question
Jeff Garretson - Wed 03:49 PM 12/12/2012
Over $7,000 in grant money from the Kansas Department of Transportation - remains unsecured to fund Special Traffic Enforcement Programs (STEP) in Saline County.
Sheriff Glen Kochanowski voiced his frustrations Wednesday morning after meeting with Saline County Commissioners over the past two weeks.
Sheriff Kochanowski tells KSAL News that the $7,200 grant pays for overtime hours so deputies can take part in conducting DUI checklanes and seat belt safety checks without using additional taxpayer dollars from Saline County.
On consecutive Tuesday meetings, a motion has been made to continue with the funding process that has been in place since 2000 - and has died on the table without a second motion being made by District #1 Commissioner Randy Duncun or Commission Chair Jerry Fowler.
Sheriff Kochanowski says he does not understand why he is hitting a roadblock with Commissioner Duncan. "I don't know what has happend all of a sudden, that he will not participate in accepting this kind of money from the government," he said.
Duncan, who signed the contract in 2009, tells KSAL News that he has voiced his concerns to Sheriff Kochanowski about taking federal dollars and what that could mean down the line to employees and citizens alike.
"There might be future federal grants that come before the commission, that this is free money - for one year or two years with no obligation and then the county gets stuck with it later on," he said.
"We just shouldn't rubber stamp everything that every department head comes in asks for approval on, every elected department head comes in and says, I'm here today ...sign this, approve this. I don't know if that's being a good public servant."
Duncan praised Sheriff Kochanowski for supplying him with copious research and contacts on the questions he did raise about the origin of the STEP grant money from KDOT and the Hatch Act.
Sheriff Kochanowski says keeping the grant helps keep citizens safe. "I think we're making a difference with these patrols," he said.