Past Efforts to Address Needs
Formoso is a small community of 137 persons located 2 miles removed from any paved road in
east-central Jewell County. Its commercial business district is composed of a bank, a post
office and a café-bar, along with a senior center and a library. The grain elevator is
found at the north end of the business district.
In 1990 there were 48 families
living in Formoso in 69 households, 21 of which were single person households. Most
residents at the time worked outside Formoso, for only 13 traveled less than 5 minutes to
work. The majority commuted up to 30 minutes, while 9 journeyed up to 1.5 hours. This
scenario still applies today.
Tax Lid :
The Legislative-mandated tax lid severely restricts the city's ability to use ad valorem
tax as a means of raising money to address local needs. Based on the established formula,
Formoso can only raise $7,811 to fund its general account in 1998. This does not afford
the city any great ability to raise money to address local needs. The city therefore has
sought other means of meeting the community's social challenges on numerous occasions.
Housing : The 1990
Census showed 82 housing units in the community, of which 55 were owner occupied and 4
renter occupied. 23 were listed as vacant. The value of most was less than $15,000,
although a couple of units were worth $20-$25,000. Those units were built during the
1950's and 1960's. All other units were built prior to 1939.
While the city did engage in a HUD
Comprehensive Program in the mid-late 1970's, no formal rehabilitation program has been
sponsored locally since. Two (2) houses did benefit from the 1995 Mitchell County
Demonstration Project, which was a multi-county comprehensive development effort, at an
average rehabilitation cost of $22,790 per home. This was done under HOME Program rules.
All other upgrades to housing have been left to the individual owners.
Water : The city
benefited from a HUD grant in 1984 that permitted Formoso to connect its water system to
Republic County Rural Water District No. 1. Access to quality water and sufficient
quantity remains high today as a result. The 3.8 mile distribution network, however, is
subject to frequent breaks. Anecdotal data from community citizens tells of splices upon
splices in lines and rust-colored water following breaks. Last winter the tower completely
drained one January evening when the main line broke at the base of the tower. City
personnel and volunteers fixed the line during the night to restore water to the community
by the next morning. Three (3) hydrants have been painted black as a warning not to use
them during fires for fear of either collapsing the lines or else simply breaking the
hydrants off when attempting to open them. Another five (5) are equally suspect. Such
occurrence would lead to complete system failure until repairs were made. To counter this
situation, the fire department has purchased a collapsible water tank in which to store
water for emergency purposes.
Sewer : The city
treats raw sewage in a lagoon system. The collection lines remain functional and present
little or no problem. The system remains permitted by KDHE and no foreseeable problems
exist that would change that situation.
Streets : The city
maintains approximately 4.0 miles of sand and gravel city streets. Two blocks of old
asphalt with curb & gutter exists in the downtown area. As this continues to age, the
city makes repairs with sand & gravel. The city recently asked city residents if they
are willing to pay $1.00 per month per person to purchase more sand & gravel for the
community so the streets can be better maintained. The outcome of this request has yet to
Parks and Recreation :
The city possesses one (1) park, complete with old playground equipment, shelter house and
public restroom facilities. This was a community project when construction was done in
1979. It has been maintained ever since and serves the community well.
Social Contract : City
residents have a history of volunteering to assist their neighbors and to meet societal
needs within the community. An example of this is the community garden and greenhouse
program that produces fresh vegetables for all those who participate, although steps are
taken to include the community's elderly citizens even though they may not engage in the
actual growing. Another program is "Heartland Shares" which distributes food in
exchange for community work (i.e., mowing, picking up trash, planting flowers on corners,
etc.). Individuals earn 1 share for each 2 hours of work performed on behalf of the
community. Over 20 people volunteer each month to manage the program by accounting for the
shares, picking up the food, packaging the shares and then distributing the shares to
those having done the work.