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New extension district a step closer

Staff writer

Marion and Dickinson counties are a step closer to forming a combined research and extension district — a move that could slightly bump costs for county taxpayers.

Dickinson County commissioners last week approved forming a research and extension district with Marion County.

Roberts said the process of forming a district might not be completed by July 1, 2020, and could take until 2021.

Roberts said he would expect Marion County’s cost for extension service to increase.

As of now, $164,048 in money from the county general fund is spent on extension programs.

An extension district would become a taxing entity.

Roberts said Dickinson County spends about $20,000 per year more on its extension program, so Dickinson’s cost would likely decrease.

“It all depends on where the mill levy ends up getting set,” he said.

A 60-day protest period is now in effect for both counties. Marion County’s protest period started after the resolution was printed in the newspaper.

If a merged district is formed, funding would no longer come directly from Marion County’s general fund. The district would become a taxing entity.

“We stand on our own at that point,” Rickey Roberts.

Agents and boards of both extension districts would need to forge an operational agreement, which would also need to be approved by county commissioners. After that, the merger agreement would need to be approved by Kansas State University. If KSU approves, the agreement would be sent to the state attorney general’s office for final approval by July 1 — the only day a district can be formed.

A Marion and Dickinson county extension district would have five agents.

Last modified March 5, 2020

 

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