ELLIS CITY COUNCIL
August 5, 2019
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor David McDaniel called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Present were Council members Holly Aschenbrenner, Steve Ferland, Martin LaBarge, Jolene Niernberger, and Bob Redger. Also present were Public Works Foreman Dan Wickham, City Clerk Amy Burton, Police Chief Taft Yates, and City Attorney Olavee Raub. Council member Bret Andries was absent.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA
Barbara Perkins, Lucy Beilman, Sheresa Brull, Henry Brull, Elie Brull, Grace Brull, Glen Keller, Verda Flinn, Bernice Karlin, Sarah Gabel, Sam Polifka, Kellie Crnkovich, Tara Birdsong, Opal Birdsong, Madison Birdsong, James Bell, Kylie Honas, Justine Benoit, Melvin Kinderknecht, Tracy Kinderknecht, Jared Schiel, Beth Schiel, Zach Schiel, Windy McClung, Sarah Eck, Travis Kohlrus, Susie Kohlrus, McKenzie Kohlrus, Tracy Andrews, Nathan Andrews, Elaine King, Grace Tucker, Amber Deutscher, Zachary Cox, Dena Patee, John Befort, Tricia Pritchett, Chad Pritchett, Ashley Rohleder, Danielle Schaus, and Nickole Byers.
Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved to approve the consent agenda containing the Minutes from the Regular Meeting on July 15, 2019 and Bills Ordinance #2074. Council member Martin LaBarge seconded the motion. The Council approved the consent agenda 5-0.
Travis Kohlrus thanked Council for their hard work in designing a beautiful pool and for securing grant funding for a large portion of the project.
Dena Patee encouraged Council to move forward with the Swimming Pool Project and to not just throw another band-aid at an 80-year-old deteriorating structure.
Tara Birdsong read the City’s mission statement and stressed the Council needs to be behind the Pool Project. Potential residents will not want to move here without a municipal pool.
Lucy Beilman stressed the pool provides jobs for our high schoolers and it is a fun place to be. The City has lost numerous activities for residents over the years, and we need to keep a pool in the community.
Ashley Rohleder stated it would be unfortunate for Council to forgo $1,000,000 in grant funds when the pool is falling apart. She stated it is important to provide a pool for people, and especially our youth, to go to in the summer.
Sheresa Brull stated the City needs to improve in order to keep residents. The School Board had issues passing their bond for improvements and now the City is questioning accepting $1,000,000 to improve the pool facility. Ms. Brull stated that she fully supports the project.
Bernice Karlin voiced her support for the Swimming Pool Improvement Project.
Chad Pritchett voiced his support for the project and that it gives the City an opportunity to improve. Mr. Pritchett also thanked the Public Works Department for performing repairs at the Chrysler Museum.
Madison Birdsong stated that she loves to go to the pool.
Mayor David McDaniel then asked for audience members to raise their hands if they were in support of the Swimming Pool Improvement Project. It appeared that all hands were raised.
PRESENTATIONS OF AWARDS, PROCLAMATIONS, REQUESTS & PETITIONS (HEARINGS)
Swimming Pool: Grants
At Council member Bret Andries request, Mayor David McDaniel contacted Mr. Andries by phone prior to discussion. Justine Benoit, Northwest Kansas Planning and Development Commission, presented the contracts from the Kansas Department of Commerce regarding the Community Development Block Grant program. The City ranked 2nd out of all the applications and would have ranked 1st with a score of 99/100 if the application hadn’t been deducted for lack of detailed cost estimates. Council questioned if the pool design is set or if it could be modified prior to construction. Ms. Benoit explained the current pool design is what was submitted with the application and that any changes would need to go through a formal approval process with the Kansas Department of Commerce and could result in the application being rejected. After further discussion, Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved to approve the contracts with the Kansas Department of Commerce accepting the $1,000,000 in CDBG funds. Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion. Upon a call for further discussion, Council questioned again what funds the project would come out of and alternatives to constructing a new pool. Council member Jolene Niernberger stated she was opposed to installing another pool liner, as the current liner has not proven effective in reducing the water loss, plus the City has already secured $1.3 million in grant funding. Council member Holly Aschenbrenner reminded Council that water loss from leaks in the pool basin was first reported in 1981 – 38 years ago. Upon a call for the vote, the motion carried 4-2, with Council members Bret Andries, Holly Aschenbrenner, Jolene Niernberger, and Bob Redger voting in favor of the motion, and Council members Steve Ferland and Martin LaBarge voting opposed.
Swimming Pool: Licenses/Fees
Ms. Benoit continued by explaining that one of the conditions in accepting the Community Development Block Grant is an assurance to the State that the City will not increase fees to the pool for three years after the close out of the project. Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved to pledge to the Department of Commerce that the pool admission fees will not increase for at least three years after the close out of the Swimming Pool Improvement Project. Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion. The motion carried 6-0. (Council member Bret Andries left the meeting.)
General Government: Financial
On July 1, 2019, Brent Jaynes, Leisure Real Estate Advisors, asked Council to consider offering a real estate tax abatement to any potential buyers of the Days Inn hotel. The hotel is currently under a 100% abatement but that expires in 2020. City Attorney Olavee Raub presented information detailing two tax abatement scenarios for Council to consider in response to Mr. Jaynes request. Option #1 provides a 75% abatement for years 1-4; a 50% abatement for years 5-7; and a 25% abatement for years 8-10. Option #2 provides a 100% abatement for Year 1, 90% abatement for Year 2, and so on. Ms. Raub explained that if Council chooses to offer an abatement, a resolution would need to be adopted outlining the terms. The County and the School District would also need to approve the abatement since their portion of the real estate taxes would be abated as well. It was the consensus of Council to propose to Mr. Jaynes that Council would be willing to offer Option #1 to a potential buyer. If in agreement, Ms. Raub will prepare the draft resolution for the next meeting.
General Government: Financial
Municipal Court: City Code
Council member Steve Ferland moved to approve Ordinance No. 1440 adopting the 2019 edition of the Standard Traffic Ordinance. Council member Jolene Niernberger seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Municipal Court: City Code
Council member Martin LaBarge moved to approve Ordinance No. 1441 adopting the 2019 edition of the Uniform Public Offense Code. Council member Holly Aschenbrenner seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Special Highway: Repairs/Maintenance
Council reviewed an invoice from G.W. Van Keppel Co. for repairs already made to the Champion grader. In light of several recent ratifications, Council member Steve Ferland requested Public Works employees to please double check pricing before ordering to reduce the number of invoices needing approval after the fact. Council member Martin LaBarge moved and Council member Steve Ferland seconded a motion to ratify the invoice from G.W. Van Keppel Co. in the amount of $1,347.67 for repairs to the grader. The motion carried 5-0.
Council member Martin LaBarge moved to approve Resolution No. 559 adjusting the fixed percentage increase to utility rates. Council member Bob Redger seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0. The Resolution decreases the water utility rate adjustment from 2% to 0%.
Campground: Special Project
Verda Flinn, Campground Committee, presented four bids for trees for the Campground Expansion Project. At the recommendation of the Kansas State Extension Office, the Committee chose thornless honey locust trees to plant. The Committee requested each bidder provide a cost for 14 trees, each with a height between 12’ – 15’ tall, and a price with a guarantee and without a guarantee. The Committee recommended the bid from Ponderosa Tree Farm as they were the low bidder for the specifications provided. Council member Martin LaBarge stated the City should accept the bid from CCR & Landscaping as they are local and offered the lowest overall bid. However, their bid lacked information regarding the height of the trees and also did not state if the price quoted was with or without a guarantee. All of the other bidders provided the requested information. Mr. LaBarge suggested the City rebid the purchase to give CCR & Landscaping another opportunity to submit a valid bid. City Attorney Olavee Raub stated it is not the responsibility of the City to track down additional information when specifications were provided in a written request. Plus, Council pointed out that the other bids were now public record so that would be unfair to the bidders that followed the directions given. After further discussion, Council member Jolene Niernberger moved to accept the bid from Ponderosa Tree Farm in the amount of $5,985.00 for 14 guaranteed thornless honey locust trees, with funds to come from the Campground Fund. Council member Bob Redger seconded the motion. The motion carried 4-1, with Council member Martin LaBarge opposed.
During the budget work sessions, Council discussed employee wages and determined there was adequate budget authority to offer current employees a 2% raise yet this year. Council stressed this is not a raise in the base pay, only to current employee wages. The last employee wage increase was in 2017. Council member Bob Redger moved to provide a 2% increase in wages to current City employees, effective July 27, 2019 to include the current payroll. Council member Martin LaBarge seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
General Government: Committee
Glen Keller, Chairman of the City’s Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals, requested approval to bring in John Riggs, Riggs & Associates, to discuss some of the City’s current zoning regulations. Mr. Riggs developed the City’s 2004 Comprehensive Plan and provides regular consulting as needed. City Attorney Olavee Raub added that the PCBZA is in place to preserve public policy and to protect land owners. Many of the codes are statutory, but it would be beneficial for Mr. Riggs to aid the Commission in explanations for some of the current codes. Council member Martin LaBarge moved and Council member Steve Ferland seconded a motion to hire John Riggs at $89 per hour plus mileage for consulting services to the Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals. The motion carried 5-0.
REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICIALS
Council reviewed the Comparative Water Reports for the period April 10th – May 10th and from May 10th – June 10th. The Department has experienced numerous water main breaks in the last week. Public Works Foreman Dan Wickham also provided updates on the Campground Expansion Project and the South Walnut Park bathroom project. Council thanked Mr. Wickham for filling in at Council meetings during Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman’s absence.
The Department hired Dean Yanda as Sanitation employee, effective August 5, 2019.
Police Chief Taft Yates presented the Monthly Activity Report for July and the August Staff Calendar. Officer Kolas began at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center July 29th. The Department has several training sessions planned in August.
City Clerk Amy Burton reminded Council of the Budget Hearing for the 2020 budget document on August 12th at 7:00 p.m.
Mayor Update and Announcements
Mayor David McDaniel asked for a motion to recess into executive session. Council member Holly Aschenbrenner moved for City Council to recess into executive session for 10 minutes to discuss a Public Works employee pursuant to the non-elected personnel matter exception, K.S.A. 75-4319 (b)(1) with City Attorney Olavee Raub present. The open meeting will resume at 9:19 p.m. Council member Martin LaBarge seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0. No action was taken in executive session and the open meeting resumed.
Council member Martin LaBarge moved and Council member Bob Redger seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried 5-0. The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.