Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

TREECE — The additional checks to Treece residents who received offers in the first phase of the voluntary buy-out of the former mining community should be going out this week, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The $5,000 to $10,000 checks are part of a change in bylaws of the Treece Buyout and Relocation Trust approved recently by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

KDHE Section Chief Bob Jurgens, who is serving as project manager for the buyout, said 45 applicants would receive additional funds “as soon as the accountant can get to it.”

He said there are 10 to 12 applicants in the first phase of the buyout who have not accepted the original offer and those people will receive revised offers which include the additional monies.

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.

Sontag said previously the additional money still leaves the trust under the original projected budget for the buyout.

The originally budgeted amount for the buyout was $2.5 million and even with the increase the total stands at about $2.2 million.

Jurgens said the additional money will be included in the offers for phases two and three of the buyout. He said there are 13 properties in phase two  and eight property owners in the buyout area will receive offers this week.

“The rest we‘re waiting on information from the property owners,” Jurgens said, adding there are currently three properties in the third phase of the buyout and about 10 properties the trust is still trying to find out who owns.

He also said there are a few residents who haven‘t applied for the buyout yet.

Jurgens said ideally the Trust would like to be done with making offers and have people moved out by late summer to early fall.

“If somebody decides not to take the offer then they‘ll remain,” he said.

Once the buyout is complete a demolition contract will be let for the buildings which remain after an auction to sell some of items purchased by the trust.

“We‘ve got an auctioneer hired,” Jurgens said. “We‘ll be having an auction in three to four weeks.”

He said the trust will be selling the mobile homes which can be moved and may sell salvage rights on some of the conventional buildings.

Once that is done, demolition contracts can be let for anything which remains.

Treece is part of the former Picher-Cardin, Okla. Mining field, which was once the largest lead and zinc mining area in the world.