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In addition to patron complaints about proposed additions to recreational vehicle code and leaders mulling a property division, two reports located elsewhere in this issue, another patron, Carol Holman, appeared before the council to lodge a complaint about her receiving of an untagged vehicle nuisance citation.

At the regular council meeting last Wednesday, Feb. 1, Holman questioned how codes officers would know “because you can’t see the vehicle from the road.”

Tina Fenoughty, police chief, countered that the photograph of the vehicle included in Holman’s mailing “was taken from the street,” and she said colors on the annual tag stickers “tell us if it’s expired.”

Holman said the vehicle “isn’t bothering anybody,” but Mayor Debra Wilson countered that, “by our books, it is a nuisance. Our codes officer (Allison Fox) is tasked with enforcement. She has to go evenly, whether it’s a nice or junk car that’s not tagged. It’s the same thing.”

Holman contended that other vehicles, such as old tractors, boats and pontoons have not been cited, as well as “a vehicle near us not tagged.”

Responded Wilson, “We’ve only recently hired a codes officer to enforce our codes. She’s had a lot of catching up to do.”

John Holman contrasted their circumstance with his reporting of grass “growing all over” a bus at a local manufactured home park. 

“It’s horrible,” he observed. “It’s ridiculous to get a (citation) for a nuisance compared with a bus with grass growing on it.”

Unanimous council action at last week’s meeting included approval of two public works purchase orders.

The first. Purchase Order No. 2023-2, authorizes purchase of three cast-iron steel-fitted 450-gallon-per-minute pumps for the water treatment plant to move water from the contact basin to the clarifier. The total $43,000 in incremental purchases will be from the capital outlay reserve to Alliance Pump & Mechanical Service Inc., Independence, Mo.

Purchase Order No. 2023-3 is for up to $37,000 from settlement pond construction/rehabilitation project funds for a chain link fence to surround the two ponds.

Dan Nasalroad, public works superintendent, said the fence will be 1,020 feet with no gates and will be purchased from American Fence Company, Wichita.

Under other special projects, the council unanimously approved pay application No. 8 from Nowak Construction Co., Inc., Goddard, general contractor for the sewer rehabilitation project, of $288,976.80 for a 30-day work period ending Jan. 19.

Also approved was a payment voucher of $682.77 for a 63-day work period ending Dec. 30 to Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers, P.A., Topeka, inspectors for the completed Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) City Connecting Link Improvement Project that widened East Market Street (Kansas Highway 152) at the intersection with Industrial. 

Those funds will be released from the city’s pre-paid deposit of $379,000 with KDOT.

Council consensus was to give Jodi Wade, city clerk, her sought-after “blessing” to post the draft of the city’s comprehensive plan to both the city’s website and Facebook page. Wade said the county’s comprehensive plan had already been approved, with Councilman Jerome Mitzner noting plans for a future “big meeting” to address the city’s storm water master plan, as well as the comprehensive plan.

The council also gave Wade verbal consent to look into two grant opportunities, one for the state’s fiscal year 2025-26 through KDOT to address the Fourth Street intersection at Kansas Highway 152, the other a 50/50 reimbursable grant through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, possibly for a splash park at City Park.

Said Mitzner, with Councilman Thomas Capp concurring, “Anytime we might get grant money, we should look into it.”

The council also concurred with Wade’s research of purchase allocations of 40 percent in winter and 25 percent in summer for a total annual 20,000 MMBtus (metric million British thermal units), about one-third of the city’s annual average 58,000 MMBtus used, if a proposed 30-year Minnesota Municipal Gas Agency (MMGA) pre-paid gas supply discount incentive program becomes a reality.

Mitzner noted the $6,600 annual savings for the city in the allocations suggested by Dixie Riedel, natural gas director at the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency whose Kansas Municipal Gas Agency is the intermediary for the MMGA project.

Wade expects to have an accompanying MMGA ordinance prepared for the 7 p.m. regular council meeting next Wednesday, Feb. 15.

In other business before the council:

--Wade reported that Paul Owings, project manager and civil engineer for BG Consultants, Inc., Lawrence, would appear in person at next week’s meeting to provide an update on the sewer rehabilitation project.

--Wade reported that she has been appointed to Linn County’s newly-formed housing committee.

--During the council’s park committee report, Councilman Keith Stoker noted a fence at City Park between the tennis and basketball courts leaning at a 45-degree angle. Nasalroad said the issue is “on the (public works) agenda to be taken care of.”

--Nasalroad reported installation of a new gas hot water heater at the Community Building.

--Danny Curtis, council president, thanked “whoever” for a plaque at the City Park flagpole to honor Bill Ross, retired park maintenance. Wade said the plaque was one of the final actions taken by the since-disbanded Park Board.

--No public action followed a 10-minute executive session for preliminary acquisition of real property nor after two executive sessions totaling 48 minutes for trade secrets relating to a possible city partnership with a non-profit organization.


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