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Honoring the past
Outgoing commissioners, the late Kenny Schremmer lauded
kenny honored pic
The late county Commissioner Kenny Schremmer was honored by the County Commission Monday morning. Shown is Commissioner Jennifer Schartz, left, presenting a commemorative shadow box to Schremmer’s wife Rosie, center, and his daughter Scharna Doll. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Recognized outgoing commissioners Don Davis and Homer Kruckenberg.

• Honored the late Commissioner Kenny Schremmer. Schremmer passed away Nov. 26, 2020, in Hoisington.   

• Recessed the meeting for the swearing-in ceremony for county officials.

• Elected Jim Daily as commission chairman and Shawn Hutchinson as chairman pro tem.

• Appointed Darren Nicolet to fulfill the term of clerk for the South Bend Township. He was nominated by the township board following the death of Lance Walters, said County Clerk Donna Zimmerman. The term ends in January 2023.

• Approved waiving the requirements generally accepted accounting principals (GAAP) for 2021. 

The waiver is for the reporting of the county’s financial statements and reports, and to allows the county to use the regulatory basis of accounting under the Kansas Municipal Audit and Accounting Guide. This is done annually, Finance Officer Matt Patzner said.

In short, GAAP requires reporting cash and non-cash assets, and liabilities.

However, when it comes to what the state wants in its budget documents, this won’t work. So, many municipalities waive GAAP annually and operate on a regulatory basis (modified cash basis), tracking cash, certain accounts payable and encumbrances only, to make reporting easier. The basis is that statements prepared in conformity with this statute are of no significant value to Barton County nor to the general public, said Finance Officer said Matt Patzner, noting this is an annual action. 

• Designated the Great Bend Tribune as the official county newspaper.

There were some emotional moments at the Barton County Commission meeting Monday morning as outgoing commissioners Don Davis and Homer Kruckenberg were recognized, and the late Kenny Schremmer was honored.

The commission meeting opened commission’s courthouse chamber where outgoing commissioners Don Davis (District 3) and Homer Kruckenberg (District 2) were lauded. Davis was first sworn into office on Jan. 14, 2013 and Kruckenberg was first sworn into office on Jan. 12, 2009. 

“Both have faithfully served Barton County in a leadership role since elected,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. 

“Today is filled with new people coming in,” she said of the swearing in of new commissioners. “But it’s also a time of sadness, because I’ve worked with these gentlemen for a long time.”

She said she’s seen people come and go. “These are two of the most dedicated commissioners that I’ve worked with. I will miss them immensely.”

Schartz presented Kruckenberg with a plaque denoting his service. Davis has been attending meetings remotely since last February for health reasons due to COVID-19, and his award had already been delivered.

“I would just say thank you to both of you for service to the community,” said Commissioner Jim Daily. He said the two had represented the county well and he appreciated their willingness to step up and get involved.

“I’d like to thank God for the chance to serve the public of Barton County,” Davis said. He also deeply appreciated the efforts of the first responders, dedicated employees and the fellow commissioners he’s worked with over the years.  

“I hope I added a little bit to whatever came our way,” Kruckenberg said. “It’s been a real joy.”

Next, with Schremmer’s wife Rosie and daughter Scharna Doll present, commissioners paid tribute to him. Schremmer died this past Thanksgiving Day at his Hoisington Home. 

“Commissioner Schremmer faithfully served Barton County and District No. 1 since he was first sworn into office on Jan. 9, 2003,”  said Schartz, her voice trembling. They presented Rosie with a commemorative shadow box that included photographs and mementoes from Schremmer’s years of service.

“I have no words to express how I feel,” Schartz said. “Kenny was a co-commissioner with me since I started 16 years ago. But more than that, I can genuinely say that he was my friend.”

She said they always worked well together. “We were always able to compromise. We would always laugh and say we don’t always agree, but we can agree to disagree, and come up with a good solution that would move this county forward.”

There was no one like Schremmer, willing to go the extra mile to serve his constituents, she said. “The bottom line, he was a good guy and he will be missed.”

“Kenny was always a friend,” Daily said. “I had the pleasure of working with him as a commissioner for a short period of time. And during that time, he was a mentor to me as well.”

Davis also recalled the effort to establish the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial, a project Schremmer passionately supported, noting he was proud it was completed while Schremmer was still living. “He was just a good man to work with.”

On Dec. 23, Kirby Krier if rural Claflin was sworn in to fill Schremmer’s unexpired term which ends in 2022.

kruckenberg honored
The Barton County Commission Monday morning recognized outgoing commissioners Don Davis and Homer Kruckenberg. Pictured is Commissioner Jennifer Schartz presenting a plaque to Kruckenberg. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune