Riley County commissioners on Thursday accepted a $132,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to be used to assist businesses in the county, but not within Manhattan city limits.

The Community Development Block Grant-COVID provides funding to help local businesses retain jobs, for low to moderate income persons, which may be lost as a result of the pandemic. Planning and Development Director Monty Wedel says they are proposing $5,000 per job retained.

“There’s a $13,200 maximum per business. With the money we’ve been allocated, that would allow us to help at least 10 businesses,” he said.

While commissioners ultimately approved the plan, commissioner John Ford expressed some disappointment, saying he had hoped for closer to $200,000.

Eligibility information and an application form can be found at

In other business Thursday, the commission approved the rehiring of two Public Works Department positions to replace a pair of asphalt crew employees who recently departed. Public Works Director Leon Hobson says these are important positions that encompass many county operations.

“The number of employees established for each crew was determined by the certain jobs they do. It just takes a certain amount of people to make all of those operations work,” he said.

Hobson says they could shift some employees from other departments to asphalt, but says that could create a lower level of service in those departments. He also added that the positions are already budgeted for, and thus would not incur any cost increase.


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