Draft Copy Not Official Until Approved by CouncilELLIS CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

Minutes

May 15, 2017

 

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor David McDaniel called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Present were Council members Bret Andries, Holly Aschenbrenner, Susan Eaton, Jolene Niernberger, Dena Patee, and Bob Redger.  Also present were Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman, City Clerk Amy Burton, Police Chief Taft Yates, Fire Chief Dustin Vine, and City Attorney Olavee Raub.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA

None

PUBLIC PRESENT

Julie Yarmer, Lori Miller, Glen Keller, Chad Pritchett, Robert Young, John Walz, Jessica Shank, Joy Fischer, Dennis Bollig, Lyle Johnston, Kris Bollig, Pat Bieker, Millie Karlin, Doreen Timken, Westin Vine, Robert Schmidtberger, Cheryl Kinderknecht, Gary Luea, Pam Dietrich, Angie Ward, Jim Carthew, Tracy Andrews, Mary Jo Walz, Steve Arthur, Travis Kohlrus, Darcy Kozisek (arrived at 7:35 p.m.), Paulette Harp (arrived at 7:35 p.m.), Pauleen Edmonds (arrived at 7:45 p.m.), Buck Driggs (arrived at 8:15 p.m.), and Justine Benoit (arrived at 8:15 p.m.)

CONSENT AGENDA

Council member Jolene Niernberger moved to approve the consent agenda containing the Minutes from the Regular Meeting on May 1, 2017, Bills Ordinance #2021, and the December 2016 manual journal entries.  Council member Dena Patee seconded the motion. The Council approved the consent agenda 6-0.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Robert Schmidtberger, Victoria, addressed Council on behalf of Habitat for Humanity.  Volunteers are working on beautifying a Habitat house on the south end of town and requested the City consider donating a truck load of dirt to the residence to help with the landscaping project.

PRESENTATIONS OF AWARDS, PROCLAMATIONS, REQUESTS & PETITIONS (HEARINGS)

None

SPECIAL ORDER

Fire: Report

Fire Chief Dustin Vine thanked Council for the purchase of the used radios from the Hays Fire Department.  Five of the City’s volunteer firefighters have passed the Firefighter 1 training course.

Personnel: Benefits

Lori Miller, Heartland Retirement & Benefits Consulting LLC, and Julie Yarmer, Freedom Claims Management Inc., presented the 2017 employee health insurance renewal.  The renewal premiums increased approximately 5.1%, much less than the 16% industry-wide increase.  United Health Care and Blue Cross Blue Shield provided the most competitive rates for the umbrella portion of the policy.  Ms. Miller reported that the City’s partially self-funded structure of providing employees’ health insurance coverage has saved the City over $120,000 over the last two years from that of a fully insured plan.

General Government: Special Project

Bob Young, USD 388 Superintendent, discussed potential funding options for the District’s capital improvement projects.  The current County half-cent sales tax sunsets July 1, 2018.  Ellis County School superintendents have discussed extending this half-cent sales tax for up to twenty-five years and have the proceeds earmarked for education.  Each school district in Ellis County would receive a pro rata portion of the sales tax proceeds based on the number of students that attend each district.  By having this potential sales tax help fund capital improvements, any additional bond issue needed could be minimal.  Each district superintendent is asking their respective city to support this initiative in order to encourage the County Commission to put the potential education sales tax to a ballot election.  It was the consensus of Council to support Mr. Young continuing discussions with the other Ellis County School superintendents in pursuing the education sales tax election.    

General Government: Financial – Budget Request

Jessica Shank, representing the Senior Companion program at Fort Hays State University, thanked the Council for past support and presented the Senior Companion 2018 budget request.  Ms. Shank requested consideration from Council for $4,076, the annual support cost of one senior companion volunteer.  Joy Fischer presented the budget request for the Foster Grandparent program.  Ms. Fischer requested consideration from Council for $1,000 to partially support one foster grandparent to serve in Ellis.  The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation.

General Government: Financial – Budget Request

Steve Arthur, Director of the Ellis Public Library, presented the Library’s 2018 budget request of four mills of the assessed valuation, $2,500 for employee benefits, and $2,000 for library programming.  The Library is also requesting additional funds for capital improvements, personnel, and projects totaling $12,000.  The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation.

General Government: Financial – Budget Request

Travis Kohlrus presented the 2018 budget request from the Ellis Alliance.  The Alliance is requesting $12,500, a decrease of $1,500 from 2016.  The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation.

General Government: Financial – Budget Request

Pauleen Edmonds presented the 2018 budget request for the Ellis Community Foundation.  The Foundation is requesting consideration for $10,000 in funding, the same amount as last year.  The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation

General Government: Financial – Budget Request

Chad Pritchett presented the 2018 budget request from the Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home & Museum.  The Chrysler Museum is requesting $17,500, an increase of $2,500 to help fund some needed repairs to the museum.  The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation.

General Government: Financial – Budget Request

Glen Keller, Chairman of the Ellis Railroad Museum, presented the 2018 budget request of $16,000 for consideration, the same amount as last year.  Mr. Keller informed Council of several repairs that need addressed at the City-owned building, and he will present a formal list prior to budget preparation.  The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation. 

Parks: Committee

Doreen Timken and John Walz presented the PRIDE Committee’s schematic of beautifying Memorial Park.  The Committee hopes to revive existing flower beds and plant new shrubs and flowers as well.  The Committee consists entirely of volunteers and completed Phase 1 last year with the removal of the rotted railroad ties and trimming of the lilac bushes.  The Committee would now like to start Phase 2, which is the planting phase.  The Committee will be responsible for watering the flowers, but the Public Works Department will mow and weed eat the park as usual.  The Committee is asking for the donation of mulch, street bricks to build a border in the park, permission to rototill and plant in the specified areas, and for the Public Works Department to supply barricades to allow volunteers to repaint the sunflowers on the main traffic ways.  Council member Bob Redger moved to authorize the PRIDE Committee to proceed with the beautification plan for Memorial Park as presented.  Council member Bret Andries seconded the motion.  Upon a call for the vote, Council members Bret Andries and Bob Redger voted in favor of the motion, Council members Holly Aschenbrenner and Dena Patee voted opposed to the motion, and Council members Susan Eaton and Jolene Niernberger abstained due to perceived conflict of interest, as they serve on the Committee.  Mayor David McDaniel, broke the tie vote by voting in favor of the motion; therefore, the motion carried 5-2.     

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Streets: City Code

Council member Dena Patee moved to approve Ordinance No. 1420 renaming Cottonwood Avenue to Cottonwood Street.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

City Attorney: Contract

Council considered the revised contract from Raub & Zeigler, LLC for City legal services.  The law firm will perform up to 18 hours of legal services for the flat fee of $2,500 per month.  Olavee Raub serves as the City Attorney, while Cassy Zeigler is the City Prosecutor; however, they will interchange roles as needed due to absence.  Council member Jolene Niernberger moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to approve the proposed contract from Raub & Zeigler, LLC as presented.  The motion carried 6-0.

Water Exploration: Special Project

Gary Luea, Chairman of the Water Advisory Board, updated Council on the status of securing an additional water source for the City.  At the last meeting, City Clerk Amy Burton reported the City has received the permits for the appropriation of water for the two wells northwest of town.  Mr. Luea reported the next step would be to purchase the land where the wells are located.  Council member Jolene Niernberger moved to authorize the Water Advisory Board to proceed with the appraisal and negotiations for the purchase of land from the property owners.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0, with Council member Bob Redger abstaining due to perceived conflict of interest, as he serves on the Committee.

NEW BUSINESS

Streets: Special Project

Buck Driggs, Driggs Design Group, updated Council on the status of the Street Improvement Project.  The majority of Phase I of the Dorrance and Cottonwood construction work should be completed by the end of the week, weather permitting.  The total project is approximately 50% complete, and the contractor is approximately two weeks ahead of schedule. 

Streets: Special Project

Justine Benoit, Grant Administrator with the Northwest Kansas Planning & Development Commission, presented the second set of pay applications for the Street Improvement Project.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Dena Patee seconded a motion to approve Contractor’s Pay Estimate #2 to Vogts-Parga Construction, LLC in the amount of $218,449.71 for the Street Improvement Project.  The motion carried 6-0.

Council member Bob Redger moved to approve the invoice from Northwest Kansas Planning & Development Commission in the amount of $4,875 for grant administration services for the Street Improvement Project.  Council member Dena Patee seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

Council member Dena Patee moved to approve Request #2 for Payment of CDBG Funds in the amount of $125,022.34 for the Street Improvement Project.  Council member Bob Redger seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

Council member Holly Aschenbrenner then moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the related documents for the Street Improvement Project.  Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

Campground: Special Project

Lyle Johnston, representing the Ellis Alumni Association, requested the donation of campground passes to award as hole prizes during the Alumni’s annual golf tournament.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to approve the donation of six campground passes for the Ellis Alumni Association’s golf tournament. The motion carried 6-0.

Sewer: Acquisition

Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman presented three bids for a Hach colorimeter for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The device will test for different chemical compounds and allow the operator to make chemical adjustments more efficiently, thus possibly reducing the amount of chemicals used.  All three bids are for the exact amount, therefore Council member Bret Andries moved to purchase the Hach DR900 colorimeter from the Hach Company in the amount of $1,341, with funds to come from the Sewer Utility fund.  Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

Clerk: Acquisition

Council member Jolene Niernberger moved to approve the purchase of 20,000 utility billing pressure seal forms from Hamlin Creative Consulting in the amount of $2,077.20, with funds to come from the Water Utility, Sewer Utility, and Sanitation funds.  Council member Dena Patee seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

General Government: Zoning

The proposed location for the Ellis Baptist Youth fireworks stand is in the Central Business District, a zone which does not allow the sale of products of a combustible nature.  The City’s Zoning Ordinance provides Council the ability to approve a Temporary Use Provision in any zone for seasonal sales events.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to approve the Temporary Use Provision for the seasonal sale of fireworks by the Ellis Baptist Youth at 826 Washington.  The motion carried 6-0.

Personnel: Benefits

The City’s policy for employee group life and disability insurance is up for renewal.  The renewal premiums remain the same as the current rate - $8.25 per full-time employee, per month.  Council member Jolene Niernberger moved and Council member Dena Patee seconded a motion to approve the renewal of the group life and disability insurance coverage with the Advance Insurance Company of Kansas.  The motion carried 6-0.

Personnel: Benefits

Council discussed the information received from Freedom Claims Management Inc. earlier in the meeting regarding the renewal of the City’s employee health insurance policy.  The premiums for the Blue Cross Blue Shield umbrella policy are slightly less than the United Health Care renewal premiums.  Council tabled further discussion of the health and dental care renewals to the next Council meeting.

General Government: Contracts

Executive Session

At the previous meeting, City Attorney Olavee Raub reported that the lessee of one of the City’s agriculture leases has defaulted due to nonpayment.  Ms. Raub requested an executive session to discuss the City’s options with the lease.  A 5-minute executive session was proposed starting at 9:37 p.m.  Council member Dena Patee moved and Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded a motion to recess to executive session under Attorney-Client privilege with City Attorney Olavee Raub and City Clerk Amy Burton present.  The motion carried 6-0.  The Council returned to open session at 9:42 p.m.  No action was taken in executive session. 

Post Executive Session

Council member Bob Redger moved to accept the payment from the lessee to cure the default on the agriculture lease and to reinstate the terms of the lease dated February 28, 2013.  Council member Susan Eaton seconded the motion.  The motion carried 6-0.

REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICIALS

Public Works

Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman presented the Comparative Water Report for March 10th – April 10th.  Council questioned why the percentage of water accounted for continues to decrease. 

Mr. Scheuerman reported that the Wastewater Treatment Plant is treating double the amount of water that the City is producing, meaning that the Wastewater Treatment Plant is taking in more water than the City uses.  The Department is searching for where the infiltration is occurring and how to solve the issue.

Sewer: Special Project

Mr. Scheuerman discussed the construction of the sewer sludge pit at the Wastewater Treatment Plant that Council approved back in March 2016.  The project was originally approved as not to exceed $5,000; however, expenditures to date exceed $15,000 and the sludge pit is still not completed.  Mr. Scheuerman explained that the design changed from dirt berms to concrete stem walls, resulting in the increased costs.  Council expressed concerns that the body was not informed of the design change and the increased costs until after the fact.  Mr. Scheuerman shared that even with the overage, the project is still less than the engineer’s estimate of $60,000 to have a contractor construct the sludge pit.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to ratify the expenditures to date of constructing the sewer sludge pit, and to increase approval of the total project to $23,000, with up to $13,000 to be funded out of the Capital Improvement Fund.  The motion carried 6-0.   

Executive Session

Council member Holly Aschenbrenner requested an executive session to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel.  A 15-minute executive session was proposed starting at 10:04 p.m.  Mayor David McDaniel asked for a motion to recess.  Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Dena Patee seconded a motion to recess to executive session for personnel matters of non-elected personnel with City Attorney Olavee Raub and Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman present.  The motion carried 5-1, with Council member Jolene Niernberger opposed.  The Council returned to open session at 10:19 p.m.  No action was taken in executive session.

Police

Police Chief Taft Yates presented an update for the Police Department.  Bicycle safety classes have been conducted at both elementary schools.

City Clerk

City Clerk Amy Burton presented the December 2016 financial statements consisting of the Statement of Accounts, Treasurer’s Report, and the Security Deposit worksheet. 

The City has received the annual dividend check from EMC Insurance in the amount of $17,846.09. 

Swimming Pool: Repair/Maintenance

City Clerk Amy Burton reviewed correspondence received from Natare Corporation regarding the recent repairs made to the liner at the swimming pool.  The work completed was not found to be under warranty and the City owes the company for the work performed. 

Attorney

City Attorney Olavee Raub updated Council on the status of the pending code violation cases.  Two of the properties have a hearing scheduled in municipal court on May 19th, and one is set to be demolished.

Ms. Raub has dictated a letter to the complainant in a report filed involving a police officer and the complainant’s dog.  Ms. Raub will offer more information when the letter is finalized.

Mayor Update and Announcements

Mayor David McDaniel read two letters received from individuals praising the Ellis Police Department.  One letter thanked Chief Taft Yates for helping them find a residence located within the street construction area; and the other letter commended the Department for their actions at a recent school event.

ADJOURNMENT

Council member Dena Patee moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting. The meeting adjourned at 10:43 p.m.

 

 

         

 

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                                                          Mayor

 

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City Clerk