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Thursday, May 5, 2016

City approves CASA funding

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Allocation of funds to the Bourbon County Court Appointed Special Advocate program was among a handful of items Fort Scott City Commissioners discussed during a brief meeting Tuesday evening.

Bourbon County CASA Program Director Christa Horn thanked commissioners for the city's past support of the agency, which provides trained volunteers who advocate for children who have become involved in juvenile court proceedings as a result of abuse, neglect or divorce.

"This is our 23rd year in the community," Horn said.

Horn said the local chapter was formed in 1990 by current city commissioner and then-Judge Sam Mason, "who was looking for more information for the court" as far as the "voice of the child" and his or her concerns and interests.

Horn said the agency operates on an annual budget of about $25,000 and receives some funding from the state, however, a majority of its funds come from local donations and grants.

Mayor Jim Adams and Commissioner Cindy Bartelsmeyer said they both support CASA and appreciate the work CASA volunteers do for the community. Bartelsmeyer said she was once a CASA volunteer.

"I know judges put a lot of weight on the CASA voice," Adams said.

Local CASA volunteers have advocated for 775 children since the chapter was formed. They gather information and make recommendations to the court for what they believe is in the child's best interest.

Often, the children's families find themselves involved with the courts as a result of drug and alcohol issues which affect their ability to properly care for and parent their children, information from Horn said.

Commissioners approved a contribution of $1,500 from the city to CASA following the discussion and request from Horn.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners:

* Approved the consent agenda, which included approval of appropriation ordinances totaling $970,496; a modification order for the installation of two 70-watt high-pressure sodium street lights on wood poles at 1101 Mulberry and 500 Walnut and a resolution with reference to an alleged unsafe and dangerous structure located at 405 Pyle and set a public hearing date for 6:15 p.m. March 19, 2013.

* Heard an update from Interim Police Chief Travis Shelton, who said some restructuring has recently taken place in the police department, including promotion of two officers to the position of sergeant. The department has also recently filled two positions. Shelton said the deparment has streamlined its efforts and is working to be "more proactive toward drug enforcement," focus on "more patrol and detective work" and concentrate less on administration.

"We're learning how to make the police department run better than it has in the past," Adams said.

Bartelsmeyer and Commissioner Gary Bukowski said they appreciated the progress the department has made in recent months, with Bukowski adding that "good changes" have taken place.

* Approved an amendment to the salary ordinance for the city to allow for the salary of a police captain.

* City Manager Dave Martin reported on the success of the SEK Day on the Hill breakfast with legislators Jan. 29 in Topeka. He said area lawmakers present at the event were "very receptive" and had many "good things to say about Fort Scott." The event was hosted by SEK, Inc., and chambers of commerce in Southeast Kansas.

* Approved moving the time for the March 5 commission meeting from 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. to allow commissioners running for re-election this year time to attend the candidate forum that evening.

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