Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

Treece residents who wish to take advantage of a voluntary buyout program will receive at least $5,000 more than the original offers under a change in the Buyout Trust bylaws approved by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback last week.

According to Brownback press secretary Sherrine Jones-Sontag, the change allows the trust to offer the average of three appraisals plus 20 percent but not less than $5,000 extra or more than an extra $10,000 to the offers.

With housing at a premium in Cherokee County residents had complained the offers would not allow them to purchase a house elsewhere.

“We‘re hopeful this small increase will allow these Kansans to relocate,” Jones-Sontag said Monday.

She noted in a tough budget year there may be concerns about increasing spending, but said even with the increase the buyout totals come in under the original projected budget.

“That was a concern,” she said. “There have been a number of difficult decisions to make on the budget.

“This proposal by the trust kept it within the budget and the governor felt it was still important to improve the increase.”

Jones-Sontag said the original budgeted amount for the buyout was $2.5 million and even with the increase the total stands at about $2.2 million.

Treece is part of the Picher, Okla. Mining Field and has many open mine shafts and lead-contaminated chat piles. A buyout of the area was approved in 2009.