ELLIS CITY COUNCIL
June 5, 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, and City Attorney Olavee Raub.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA
Mayor David McDaniel would like to table consideration of committee appointments until the next meeting.
Buck Driggs, Justine Benoit, Jim Heit, Philip Martin, Dustin Mattheyer, Dan Pyle, Cheryl Kinderknecht, Julie Yarmer, Gary Luea, Darin Myers, Glen Keller, Brad Leiker (arrived at 7:35 p.m.), and Charlene Weber (arrived at 7:43 p.m.)
Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved to approve the consent agenda containing the Minutes from the Regular Meeting on May 15, 2017 and Bills Ordinance #2022. Council member Dena Patee seconded the motion. The Council approved the consent agenda 6-0.
Jim Heit questioned why the tornado sirens did not go off during the last severe weather storm.
Dustin Mattheyer inquired on the timeline for the final cleanup of the street improvement project and when the contractor would be supplying dirt and grass seed for the areas disturbed during construction.
PRESENTATIONS OF AWARDS, PROCLAMATIONS, REQUESTS & PETITIONS (HEARINGS)
Industrial Development: Special Project
Philip Martin, City Representative for the Ellis Industrial Development Corporation, reported the EIDC has obtained the old hotel. A potential buyer is interested in the location; however the buyer would prefer an empty lot. The EIDC is requesting City assistance with petitioning the Ellis County Commission to waive the landfill fees for demolition debris. Council member Bob Redger moved and Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded a motion to ask the Ellis County Commission to consider waiving the landfill fees on the demolition debris of the old hotel for the purpose of economic development. The motion carried 6-0.
Dan Pyle, Superintendent of the Ellis Recreation Commission, petitioned the City Council to consider waiving the sanitation fees for weekly grass pickup. Previously, the Commission dumped the grass clippings from the ballfields and soccer fields along the tree line; however, the grass pile started on fire a few weeks ago. The Commission has agreed to purchase a dumpster to store the grass clippings. Council member Bret Andries moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to waive the dumpster pickup fees for the Ellis Recreation Commission for once a week pickups during the grass season. The motion carried 6-0.
General Government: Financial – Budget Request
Mr. Pyle continued by presenting the Recreation Commission’s 2018 Budget Request. The Commission is requesting $5,000 for upgrades to the dugouts and ballfields. The Council took no action and will consider the request during budget preparation.
General Government: Policy
Darin Myers, Ellis County Fire Chief and Emergency Manager, spoke on the County’s policy of when to sound the outdoor warning sirens. Chief Myers specifically discussed the recent severe storm where tornados were rumored to have been in the area. Numerous storm spotters and emergency responders were stationed around the boundaries of Ellis and there was not a single report of identified rotation; therefore, the sirens were not activated. Ellis County has a lower elevation than some areas in the state and the National Weather Service radar only picks up weather patterns higher above the county. Therefore, the NWS has informed Chief Myers to rely more on the County’s trained weather spotters over a radar-indicated threat. Chief Myers told Council they can either instruct the County to activate the sirens anytime a severe weather warning is issued, or to only sound the sirens when a reported funnel cloud, either through radar or trained storm spotter, is threatening the area. Once activated, the 40-year-old sirens cycle every 10 minutes as long as the storm is threatening the area. It was the consensus of the Council to continue with the current policy of only sounding the outdoor warning sirens when a reported threat is imminent.
Julie Yarmer, Freedom Claims Management Inc., was in attendance to once again review the proposal for the employees’ health insurance policy and answer questions from Council members. Both options presented (either renewing with United Health Care or switching to Blue Cross Blue Shield) would raise deductibles for the umbrella policy. The Freedom Choice plan continues to work well for the City, saving the City a considerable amount of money over the last two years. After a lengthy discussion regarding coinsurance percentages and deductibles, Council member Bret Andries moved to renew with United Health Care for the employees’ health insurance policy. Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion. Upon a call for the vote, Council members Bret Andries, Jolene Niernberger, and Bob Redger voted in favor of the motion; Council members Holly Aschenbrenner, Susan Eaton and Dena Patee voted opposed to the motion. Mayor David McDaniel broke the tie by voting in favor of the motion; therefore, the motion carried 4-3.
Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to renew the employees’ dental insurance policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Premiums for the dental policy decreased slightly. The motion carried 6-0.
Streets: Special Project
Buck Driggs, Driggs Design Group, updated Council on the progress of the Street Improvement Project. Normally, the contractor will perform final grading and seeding towards the end of the project; however, Mayor David McDaniel requested the contractor expedite that process due to residents’ inquiries. Mr. Driggs reported the Trego County Rural Water District is requesting the new curb at the corner of 10th Street and Cottonwood be torn out. From an engineer’s perspective, the added curb and radius provides protection for pedestrians and defines the driveways for vehicles. It was the consensus of Council to leave the curb as constructed citing pedestrian safety and that the curb is located in the City’s right of way. Mr. Driggs added that no opposition was voiced regarding the curb at the public hearing held at the beginning of the project. The project continues to run ahead of schedule.
Streets: Special Project
Justine Benoit, Grant Administrator with the Northwest Kansas Planning & Development Commission, presented the third set of pay applications for the Street Improvement Project. Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved and Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded a motion to approve Contractor’s Pay Estimate #3 to Vogts-Parga Construction, LLC in the amount of $193,599.98 for the Street Improvement Project. The motion carried 6-0.
Council member Bob Redger moved and Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded a motion to approve Request #3 for Payment of CDBG Funds in the amount of $106,479.94 for the Street Improvement Project. The motion carried 6-0.
Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the related documents for the Street Improvement Project. Council member Dena Patee seconded the motion. The motion carried 6-0.
The Kansas Department of Commerce will be here on June 8th to conduct the Project’s first monitoring visit.
Water: Special Project
Buck Driggs, Driggs Design Group, presented the seventh and final pay application for the Waterline Improvement Project. This pay application releases the retainage held throughout the project. Council member Bret Andries moved to approve Contractor’s Pay Estimate #7 to APAC in the amount of $40,550.79 for the Waterline Improvement Project. Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded the motion. The motion carried 6-0.
Council member Dena Patee moved and Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded a motion to authorize the Mayor to sign the related documents for the Waterline Improvement Project. The motion carried 6-0.
General Government: Land Disposition
Mayor David McDaniel stated that representatives from the Ellis Golf Club were to appear to see if the City might be interested in selling land that surrounds the club house and cart sheds. Being that no representatives were present, this item will be tabled until a future meeting.
Public Works: Special Project
Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman wanted to discuss a drainage issue on the south side of the golf course; however, since Ellis Golf Club representatives were not present this item will be tabled until a future meeting.
At the last meeting, Council approved the purchase of a Hach colorimeter for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The final invoice included a freight charge in the amount of $66.39; therefore, Council member Dena Patee moved and Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded a motion to ratify the invoice from Hach Company in the amount of $1,407.39. The motion carried 6-0.
Council member Bret Andries moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to approve the purchase of a 3,000 lb. tote of aluminum chlorohydrate ACH for the Wastewater Treatment Plant in the amount of $1,140, plus any applicable chemical fees, with funds to come from the Sewer Utility Fund. The motion carried 6-0.
General Government: Financial
Council member Bob Redger moved to approve the engagement letter from Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball for assistance with preparing the 2018 budget document. Council member Dena Patee seconded the motion. The motion carried 6-0.
Special Highway/Sewer: Acquisition
Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman presented two bids for the purchase of tires for the front loader. Council member Jolene Niernberger moved and Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded a motion to approve the low bid from Golden Belt Coop for the purchase of four tires in the amount of $4,111.24, with funds to be split between the Special Highway and Sewer Utility funds. The motion carried 6-0.
REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICIALS
At the last Council meeting, Robert Schmidtberger, representing Habitat for Humanity, asked for the City to consider a request to haul a load of dirt to a house on South Walnut to help with a landscaping project to beautify the property. It was the consensus of Council to deny the request.
As budget season approaches, Mr. Scheuerman requested that Council consider putting aside funding for maintaining the 80-year-old dam at the campground and for repairing and maintaining the City’s brick streets. The dam is well past its life expectancy and is experiencing some holes in the structure. Brick streets are very expensive to maintain, but the City has not put money aside to help maintain and repair these streets. Both projects are important to the community.
The Council has set up a Facility Inspection tour for June 22nd at 4:00 p.m.
Work continues on the sludge pit at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Department is waiting on a part to finish repairing the water main break by the cemetery and golf course.
Police Chief Taft Yates presented the Monthly Activity Report for May and the June Staff Calendar. The Department recently attended a refresher course on field sobriety testing.
City Clerk Amy Burton presented the Health Insurance Savings Report for April and the draft minutes from City committee meetings. Ms. Burton recently attended the IIMC Annual Conference in Montreal, Canada. On June 1st EMC Insurance conducted the City’s annual worker’s compensation audit and this week the City will begin soliciting bids for the janitorial contract for City Hall.
City Attorney Olavee Raub provided an update on the status of pending code violation cases. The property owner at 600 Jefferson St. has been given an additional 30-day extension.
Ms. Raub also updated Council on a citizen complaint involving a police officer and the complainant’s dog. The complaint review committee has viewed footage from the officer’s body camera of the alleged incident and has deemed the complaint unfounded.
Mayor Update and Announcements
Mayor David McDaniel offered kudos to the Public Works Department for an excellent job in preparing the cemetery for Memorial Day.
Mayor McDaniel attended the Hays City Commission meeting where the Commission discussed the sales tax proposal from the Ellis County school superintendents. The Hays City Commission is not interested in supporting funding for the schools in this manner.
The old county shop has been purchased by a local resident. There has been a request to trim the trees along the county road. The area is owned by Union Pacific and maintained by the County.
Mayor David McDaniel requested an executive session to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel. A 20-minute executive session was proposed starting at 9:48 p.m. Mayor David McDaniel asked for a motion to recess. Council member Bob Redger moved and Council member Dena Patee second 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 6-0. The Council returned to open session at 10:08 p.m. No action was taken in executive session.
General Government: Policy
Council member Bret Andries moved to direct City Attorney Olavee Raub to draft a resolution providing for the discharge of fireworks from July 2nd – 4th. Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion. The motion carried 6-0.
Council member Bret Andries moved and Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried 6-0. The meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.