Douglas County and the city of Lawrence are now considering plans to have an existing nonprofit organization take on the job of marketing the community as a destination place to live for retirees.
But that will require organizational changes at Douglas County Senior Services Inc., an agency that currently focuses on providing transportation, meal deliveries and a variety of other services for area senior citizens.
Douglas County commissioners heard a presentation about the impending changes, which both the city and county commissions will be asked to approve in the coming weeks.
Commissioner Jim Flory reported that the DCSS board recently approved changes in its bylaws to reflect the expanded role it would take on. Those changes include authorizing the city and county to make direct appointments to the board, which is currently self-appointed.
But the added responsibility would also come with an added cost, and Flory said the agency wants to make sure that the city and county are ready to cover that.
As a result, the agency is seeking assurances that Douglas County and the city of Lawrence will cover 100 percent of the additional costs.
The agency also wants the two local governments to split evenly the additional salary cost needed to hire an executive director who can manage the expanded role.
According to county officials, the job currently pays about $55,000 a year. The job is also vacant at the present time. Mike Wildgen, a former Lawrence city manager, is serving as interim executive director.
County officials said they do not yet know how much additional salary it will take to support the added duties, but it could be in the neighborhood of another $20,000.
The Lawrence City Commission is expected to consider a new cooperation agreement to formalize that arrangement when it meets next Tuesday, Oct. 30.
The Douglas County Commission will not meet at its regular time next week but will likely consider the agreement at its next meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 7.
In other business, the county commission:
• Approved proclamations designating Oct. 24 as Kansas Food Day and Oct. 26 as Indigenous Food Day.
• Acknowledged an award presented to the Douglas County Local Emergency Planning Committee for outstanding service from the Kansas Emergency Management Association.
• Approved a technical change to a recently enacted tow resolution.
• Agreed to an option for remodeling the emergency communications radio facility for $70,000.
• Authorized the purchase of 38,000 pounds of crack seal material at 61.2 cents per pound for the Public Works Department.
• Approved appointments to various boards and commissions.