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Monday, July 26, 2021

State Finance Council Approves $60 Million Broadband Expansion, State Agency Reimbursements and Consulting Services for Accounting and Compliance

TOPEKA – Today, the State Finance Council (SFC) approved $60 million to expand broadband access, $3.9 million in reimbursements to state agencies for COVID-19 related operational expenses and up to $5 million for consulting services for meeting the accounting and compliance requirements of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).  The SPARK taskforce recommended these proposals to SFC for approval; all will be funded through the CRF.

“COVID-19 has made it clear how important access to high speed internet is for Kansans in rural and urban regions alike. Whether it’s telemedicine, teleworking, or online education capabilities, broadband is a singular tool that can change outcomes for communities. My administration will continue to support investments in our state’s infrastructure like high speed internet to put us on stronger economic footing as we continue our road to recovery,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

The connectivity proposal featured $50 million for improving broadband infrastructure and $10 million for partnerships with internet service providers to serve low-income populations. 

“The SPARK taskforce identified expanding broadband access as a top priority and I appreciate the SFC’s recognition that not only was important to approve these funds today but also to consider increasing our investment in round 3,” said SPARK Executive Committee Chair Lyle Butler.

On July 29, SFC approved $254 million funding for public health, education, and economic development. That allocation combined with today’s approvals for connectivity, remaining FY 20 state agency reimbursements and the consulting contract for the Recovery Office, will complete the round 2 funding of the CRF. There will be approximately $290 million of CRF funding remaining for round 3. Previously, $400 million was allocated to Kansas counties in round 1.

“The expediated timeline we’re operating under creates an even greater need for accountability and transparency to taxpayers and I appreciate the State Finance Council for providing the Recovery Office the necessary support to ensure we’re delivering the quality investments Kansans deserve,” said Recovery Office Executive Director Julie Lorenz.

More information on today’s meeting can be found here: https://covid.ks.gov/spark-meetings/

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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