In addition to hearing a proposal for an Evergy underground fiber optics cable to run through La Cygne, a report located elsewhere in this issue, the town’s city fathers approved an expenditure of up to $45,000 authorizing its police department to secure a new police vehicle.
At its regular meeting last Wednesday, Nov. 16, the council voted 4-0, with David Brenneman not present, to accept the proposal from Tina Fenoughty, police chief, for a potential 2022 Dodge Durango pursuit-rated sport utility vehicle with minimal mileage but not fully outfitted for $41,500.
Fenoughty credited Kolton Carbon, part-time police officer, with doing the research to locate such a cruiser.
In a related move, following a 10-minute executive session for non-elected personnel for review of applications and resumes, the council hired Achilles Ferrell as a full-time police officer with starting pay of $17.50 hourly to begin Dec. 5 after successful completion of pre-employment requirements.
During her police report, Fenoughty noted five citations since the most recent Nov. 2 meeting: three for aggressive dog/running at large/tag and two for speeding.
Other council actions included approving a $4,800 bid quote from Chaz Epperson to lay a concrete parking lot area near the new Oak Lawn Cemetery information board.
Following advertising for bids, Epperson’s was the only one submitted for the Nov. 2 meeting, but Brenneman, along with Danny Curtis the council’s cemetery committee, had requested an additional two weeks. With no others in hand at last week’s meeting, Thomas Capp motioned for Epperson’s bid, saying that he wanted to get it encumbered to 2022 funds and hopefully to have enough warm weather remaining for its laying.
The council also approved Ordinance No. 1505, a modification to codes pertaining to nuisances which will now enforce removal of a parked or stored inoperable vehicle 10 days after issuance of a standard nuisance letter. The code had previously delayed any removal until the 31st day after issuance.
Upon Curtis’ concern, though, the council agreed to remove two prepositional phrases, “in the opinion of the codes enforcement officer,” from a section defining an immediate hazard.
“I don’t like that,” Curtis said. “It’s an opinion, not a fact. There’s a lot of gray area.”
Mayor Debra Wilson agreed that the phrases “don’t sound definite.” Jodi Wade, city clerk, said the phrasing had been copied from phrasing concerning unsafe structures, though she did point out there that the action “is in the opinion of the governing body.”
Before voting for the ordinance, Capp expressed concern about the change from the 31st day to 10 days for inoperable vehicle removal.
“Right now, body shops are backed up and charging storage fees,” he said. “Insurance companies don’t want to pay storage fees.”
Also approved following an amended budget hearing were current-year spending authority increases of $265,000 in water’s production line item and $3,000 in its salary line item to total $919,118, along with $11,000 to $45,000 for the pass-through solid waste fund. Neither case involves a tax increase.
The council also directed Allison Fox, permanent part-time codes enforcement officer and zoning administrator, to write an ordinance pertaining to penalties if building permits are not followed that would close any loophole if the permit is not technically adhering to the request.
Fox noted a case of a building permit where the final product was more expansive than what was in the permit. By current code, she said failure to tear it away would result in a $500 daily fine.
Councilman Keith Stoker said the situation is “like getting a permit for a garage but instead building a deck.”
Burton Harding, city attorney, said Fox’s actual situation “is the same as” Stoker’s hypothetical one.
In other business before the council:
--Under consent agenda, the council approved 2023 cereal malt beverage retail licenses to Casey’s General Store, 406 E. Market St., and Dollar General Store, 19394 Kansas Highway 152.
--Wlson presented a mayoral proclamation to Bree Allen, Prairie View High sophomore, for winning Class 3-A’s individual cross country meet championship Oct. 29 at Lawrence.
--Dan Nasalroad, fire chief, noted the holiday season and said donations will again be sought for adoption of families and the Sharing Tree project.
--In his public works report, Supt. Nasalroad said that Nowak Construction Co., Inc., Goddard, general contractor for the sewer rehabilitation project, expects 65-70 percent completion by Dec. 1, with anticipated full completion in January or February.
--In response to Capp, Wade said a review of La Cygne’s application to the Linn County Commission for American Rescue Plan Act matching funds to replace an estimated $130,000 carbon hopper feeder at the water treatment plant had been scheduled for this Monday. In a follow-up telephone interview, Wade said the application is scheduled now to be reviewed at next Monday’s 9 a.m. Commission meeting at Mound City as Rick James, District 1 commissioner whose area includes the city of La Cygne, was absent this week.
--Wade reported that Christmas light decorations were to go up this Monday.
--The council approved their standard Christmas gifts to city employees of $20 local gift card/cash and a 2023 calendar.
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