Riley County approves court's use of Wareham

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May 21—Riley County commissioners on Thursday approved an agreement allowing the Riley County District Court to temporarily rent space at the Wareham Opera House for jury trial selection.

The court would pay a $350 down payment and $200 for each day in use.

Rock Hills Church had previously allowed the court to hold trials and jury selection at their building for free from late 2020 to the spring. It recently indicated to the court that it would soon need its space back.

Court officials on Monday said they'd been looking for an alternative space for jury selection as the rooms in the courthouse are not big enough to hold dozens of potential jurors, especially with physical distancing in mind.

Chief Judge Grant Bannister said while he doesn't think the court will need to host trials at the Wareham, that may be a possibility.

County budget requests

Riley County commissioners heard the last round of 2022 budget requests, which included capital improvement projects, economic development and the general fund.

County officials proposed a $8.9 million budget for the capital improvement project fund, which includes revenue from investment interest and transfers from some general funds. This is a 1.7% decrease from this year's $9 million budget.

They anticipate spending the bulk of it, nearly $7.6 million, on funding future projects, but also on transfer to some other accounts, debt or lease payments and commodities.

"While cash is not expected to be spent (in the CIP fund), it does allow you the flexibility and authority to do that," Tami Robison, county budget and finance officer, said to commissioners.

The Riley County Economic Development fund is budgeted for about $423,500 for various projects, most of which is a general fund for any projects that pop up, but also includes money for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and the 2013 Konza Water Project.

This is a 5.5% increase from this year's $401,000 budget.

The general services fund is budgeted for about $4.7 million, up 7.6% from $4.4 million. The fund covers costs associated with anticipated employee retirements, office supplies and regular contractual services including various fees, internet, equipment and space rentals and more. Almost 70% of that fund is cash meant to remain in and stabilize the budget.

Robison also presented a $739,000 budget for county insurance, up $33,000; a $615,000 budget for the county's bond and interest fund, up $16,000; and an almost $247,000 budget for the board of county commissioners, up $8,000 for salary and health insurance increases. Robison did not yet have a firm budget from the Riley County Police Department to share as police officials and law board members are still working to finalize the last of the budget. They'd initially proposed about a $22.7 million budget.

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