Process and Progress
||Beginning in August 1998, the
initial step involved several afternoon and evening meetings between city representatives
and state officials to determine the level of local interest in the program and to permit
the state to gain confidence in Formoso's ability to successfully fulfill the program's
requirements. Two of these meetings were attended by more than 70 local
residents. However, those most involved were Mayor Vickie Stafford;
Council members James Howell, LaVernia Peters and Phyllis Jones;
City Maintenance, James Haskins; Fire Chief, Steve Spiegel;
and residents, Robert Elwell, Robert Grimm, Frank Guzik, Larry Stafford, Shirley
Free and Nancy Spiegel.
Representatives from the Kansas Department of Commerce & Housing (KDOCH)
included Marilyn Graham, CDBG Administrator, and Rene Hart,
KAN-STEP Coordinator. Others included were Jane Schautz of
The Rensselaerville Institute, New York, and John Cyr of the North
Central Regional Planning Commission.
By early September 1998 it was decided that
Formoso would be the first STEP recepient in the state, and on October 26, 1998, Lt.
Governor Gary Sherrer, officially announced the decision at the Senior Citizen's
Center in Formoso. The Lt. Governor was accompanied by Mary Faye
LaFaver, Director, Community Development Division, KDOCH; Marilyn Graham
and Jane Schautz.
||Formoso citizens then met to
identify what individual or individuals would act as the "Sparkplug".
This person is most responsible for directing the project, organizing the
local people and seeing that all required work is done. This person must also
be "elected", not self-appointed, since people must recognize the person as a
Formoso decided on September 10th
that there would be a committee of "sparkplugs", with these individuals being James
Haskins, James Howell, acting as co-chairs; along with Robert Grimm,
Robert Elwell, Frank Guzik, Larry Stafford and Steve Spiegel. James
Haskins, however, was identified as the primary "sparkplug".
||Next, a program administrator was
identified to assist the city with all compliance issues relative to the Small Cities
Community Development Block Grant program as overseen by the Kansas Department of Commerce
& Housing. The organization selected was the North Central Regional
Planning Commission, with John Cyr being principally responsible for
administering the program on behalf of the city. Contracts were signed October
||Following that, the city sought the
services of an engineering firm. This required Formoso to request
qualification statements directly from potentially interested firms. A number
of firms expressed interest and the city selected three (3) to interview.
After an examination of experience, service and price, the city chose Cook, Flatt &
Strobel of Kansas City. Lance Scott is that firm's
representative. Contracts were signed in January 1999.
||The first assignment given the
engineer was to complete an Engineering Report explaining the design criteria,
illustrating a water hydrolic model of the system, and listing evaluations and
conclusions. This was delivered to Formoso in February 1999.
The next part of this step was to route the system through
Formoso, keeping in mind that most, if not all, physical construction would be conducted
by local volunteers. Routing was complete on March
The final element was to price the system,
breaking the overall cost down into line item figures which detail both material and labor
expenses. These figures were delivered to the city on March 24, 1999.
The city immediately began to review each line item to determine if the unit
price quoted was either sufficient enough to meet the expressed need or priced too high to
warrant acceptance without question. (NOTE: The cost estimate
approach the KAN-STEP program requires is somewhat backward to that of the normal
CDBG Community Improvement program. Under KAN-STEP the city really wants to
know the true prices of each item before any contingencies are built in, whereas with the
normal CI program, the engineer regularly builds in factors for inflation and other
contingency costs. The reason for this is the city needs to fully comprehend
the difference in material and labor costs to justify its match-offering to the state.)
||With KDOCH assistance, the city
arranged a workshop on "construction safety" delivered by Marvin Dinkel,
Industrial Safety Coordinator, Kansas Department of Human Resources. This
half-day event introduced city officials to elements of Personal Safety Equipment;
Trenching; and Traffic Control. Slides, videos and demonstrations were
provided. This occurred in Formoso on March 26, 1999.
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