March 16, 2020 Commission Minutes

March 16, 2020 Commission Minutes

March 16, 2020 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting

March 16, 2020                                                                                                                      5:00 P.M.

Mayor John Garcia called the meeting to order with Vice-Mayor Aaron Thompson, Commissioner J. J. Howard and Commissioner Gary Farris responding to roll call.  Commissioner Jay Dee Brumbaugh was reported absent.

Also present were Rich Simon – Director of Public Works, Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Joni Showalter-Police Chief, Brian James – Fire Chief, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Andrew Finzen – City Manager. 

Mayor Garcia led Pledge of Allegiance



  1. Topside Manor Presentation –Gennifer House introduced members of Board for Topside Manor: Mike Mersch, Ron Schilling, Kevin Rasure, Suzanne McClure and myself.  Gennifer stated, we received permission from the County Commission to run an election April 28th.  The facility we are discussing is formerly known as Good Samaritan Center built in 1960 with two updates in 1976 and 1982.  Sherman County owns the facility and management changed to Topside Manor in August 2019 with a local board. Our goal is bond election on April 28th to build a new facility.  A new building will not resolve all issues but management issues are being addressed by Grace Team, our management team.  Our architect is GMCN and we have determined to move forward with a forty-five bed facility, using the greenhouse model.  All employees will have to be CNA’s which NWKT College will assist with classes.  The ballot question authorizes a tax increase up to seven mills to construct new facility.  On a $100,000 home that would be about a $6.00 increase on taxes.  Mary asked, will one of the pods be designated for Alzheimer patients?  Gennifer stated, no, many of these patients deal better in the pod environment.  Mike stated, the existing center is sixty years old and the new part is forty years old.  It does not meet ADA or electrical codes.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, how much would it cost to bring existing facility up to code?  Mike stated, estimation is half or a little more with ADA and electrical issues.  The new facility will have private rooms and bath.  The existing facility has out lived usefulness.  We have had a lot of plumbing problems and the roof leaks when we get a lot of moisture.  Residence in facility have paid the price to make our community what it is, it is time to take care of them.  Gennifer stated, many residents are there for rehabilitation, not just long term care.  Everyone on committee had or should have had a loved one at the facility.  Kevin stated, new management has made major improvement in care, increasing residents from twenty-seven to our current average of thirty-seven.  In the main part of the facility, there will be a storm shelter.  The request for seven mills will allow County Commission flexibility to exceed tax lid for this project.  One of best times to finance such a project is now with low interest.  The County can put a lot of money in existing building to get it to code but still have old building.  The existing facility can be used for other things.  County Chairman John Topliff stated, we believe it will cost $6,000,000 to remodel existing building so the $10,000,000 will be money well spent.  Ron stated, I live in county so do not vote for City Commission.  We believe Goodland is the flag ship for county and want to keep it good.  Board has a passion for project and we serve because we have been served by residents in facility.  We will all be there some day.  Staff will be assigned one person all day.  Our goal is to take care of seniors the best way we can.  We are proud of our building plan and ask people be informed voters.  I do not like to raise taxes but this is a good tax for Goodland.  Building a community is a lot like building a house.  You build for quality of life.  If you do not have services and quality of life who would want to live there.  Mayor Garcia stated, I feel gratitude toward your passion for project.  It appears cost to remodel are prohibitive and voters should appreciate project.  When does construction begin if issue passes?  Gennifer stated, November 2020 with grand opening November 2021.  Commissioner Farris asked, how many will facility employ?  Gennifer stated, currently fifty people.  We hope to employ more, all being CNA’s and sharing job duties.  When you live in Goodland you want to die here.  Ron stated, we would like to get commission support.  Commissioner Howard asked, are we utilizing local contractors and buying supplies in town?  Ron stated, yes, Topside Manor works for the local board and we will keep as much local as we can to see our community succeed.  We cannot do it all locally, but will do as much as can.  Mike stated, we will have a construction manager that may or may not be local but that way we can keep costs within budget. They will hire subcontractors which we would like to be local.  If they are not local they will be spending money in town, but we want local contractors to get chance.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, the facility looks fantastic and is a need for our community.  The institution type facility needs to go away.  Will overall project end up this way?  Gennifer stated, we are going with the green house model, even though it will not be the true model with 15 pods.  Mike stated, size will not change but material may.  It will be an efficient building. Kevin stated, our project is $10,000,000 and we are looking for other avenues to supplement funding.  However, we have to show community support with a positive election before we can obtain grants and other funding.  Mayor Garcia stated, I understand with good interest rates there is no better time for best cost savings.  Commissioner Farris asked, if bond passes, any grants obtained will decrease bond obligation?  Gennifer stated, yes but we need to show community support before we can apply.  They want at least the half money from the community.  Ron stated, on the bond issue, the County Commission will need $685,000 per year but if we get grants that payment only goes down.  Commissioner Howard asked, what is total square footage?  Mike stated, we will have to get that.  Patient rooms are set at 210 square feet.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, if a pod is not dedicated for Alzheimer patients, what happens when patient progresses to point they are too difficult to handle in the pod?  Gennifer stated, handled like it is now, they graduate out of our facility and referred to an Alzheimer’s unit.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, having the freedom to roam is true with those patients.  Who owns land for proposed facility?  Gennifer stated, owned by private resident but we have commitment to allow us to build on property.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, is that in city limits?  Gennifer stated, we need to verify.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what is plan for old facility?  County Chairman Topliff stated, we discussed many options.  The hospital is running out of room for Physical Therapy, Emergency Management offices or other options that will not require a lot of money to update to code.  Commissioner Howard asked, has County thought about a sales tax instead of property tax?  County Chairman Topliff stated, no our sales tax is at 9%.  Commissioner Howard stated, everyone traveling through will help pay for project.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, if issue fails, what is plan B?  Ron stated, we are not quitters, but would really like to get support from tax payers to apply for alternate funding. Gennifer stated, Suzanne has been sick but you need to know she has been a big asset to the board, especially with the Buckley Study.  We are presenting to City employees tomorrow.  Kevin asked permission to display poster in front lobby.  Consensus of Commission is to allow display. 


  1. 03/02/20 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances: 2020-06, 2020-06A, and 2020-P06

ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Thompson to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Commissioner Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0. 


  1. Property and Liability Insurance Renewal: Jeanette Ruddell, Eklund Insurance – Andrew stated, Eklund Insurance requested to present via telephone with current issue.  Jackie Livingood and Jeanette Ruddell were on the telephone representing Eklund Insurance.  Jeanette stated, the City has been with  Saville, an insurance broker, for 3 years.  Saville presented a quote from State National in the amount of $252,917, then a denial to quote from Traveler’s Insurance.  Previously the City utilized EMC insurance for many years and they presented quote.  The quote from State National has a property deductible of $5,000 but $100,000 for wind and hail.  EMC Insurance quote has a property deductible of $5,000 and $10,000 for wind and hail.  EMC Insurance is a standard company out of Wichita that uses local claims representative from Kansas Claims.  We have not worked with State National before since Saville worked with Nationwide Insurance who no longer quotes municipalities.  State National will not budge on the wind and hail deductible amount.  Mayor Garcia stated, I am not willing to sign with a company providing a $100,000 deductible.  Jeanette stated, that is how I feel.  You may save on premium but have to come up with $90,000 in the event of a claim.  EMC Insurance proposal goes from $279,261 to $264,538 if the property deductible is changed to $10,000 and $25,000 for wind and hail.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, are deductible amounts per claim?  Jeanette stated, yes, per claim.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, how many claims does the City file per year?  Jeanette stated, the last property claim filed by the City was in 2016 for hail and wind storm where insurance paid $350,000.   Mayor Garcia asked, does EMC carry a cyber-liability policy?  Jeanette stated, they do not offer a standalone policy so I recommend the policy offered by Saville.  With this policy the City calls them and they take care of the process for the City with a $3,000,000 limit.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Farris to accept the property/liability insurance proposal from EMC in the amount of $264,538 and the cyber-liability policy from Saville in the amount of $6,009 seconded by Vice-Mayor Thompson.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0.  Andrew stated, we work well with Eklund’s Insurance and appreciate their work on this proposal.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I am frustrated in the presentation today.  We had to vote on the proposal today and we were not presented other options.  I would like to see other local agents get the opportunity to quote.  Andrew stated, IMA Insurance solicited quotes for the City and were not able to get quotes for our insurance.  Jeanette solicited three additional insurance carriers that would not provide a quote.  It is difficult because our power plant is a lot of risk.  Jeanette pursued five companies and only received quotes from two.  The turnaround on insurance is not timely as we were advised with health insurance.  It is when the carriers can provide information.   


  1. Smokey Gardens: John Topliff – County Chairman Topliff stated, we have a request from County Road and Bridge for loads of brick to be used on the back side of the earthen dam.  The State Engineer requires rip rap on the dam before we can get fish in water.  They felt we could use old bricks or broken concrete from City.  The City’s name would then be on the sign for contributors for project.  We have applied for grants for playground equipment with Dane Hansen and other walking trail grants.  We believe it would take about five to six tandem truckloads of brick or concrete, what do you think Andrew?  Andrew Brunner EBH Engineer stated, I would like to see bigger chunks.  Rich stated, we do not have any concrete.  Commissioner Howard asked, what about concrete from demolition of Motel 7?  Brian stated, our contract with Goody’s is that he hauls it out of City limits.  Commissioner Howard stated, you might also contact him but I have no problem providing brick.  County Chairman Topliff stated, Smokey Gardens has appeared on national TV on Hayden Outdoors and are planning grand opening May 30th.  We are putting in fifteen camping spots with the help of donations from Topliff Trust and McClure Plumbing.  This is truly a community project.  We have been featured on a number of camping high lights, our roads are being graveled but we cannot get fish until get rip rap done.  Mayor Garcia stated, I feel City will work with County on such a community project.  Commissioner Farris stated, Smokey Gardens is a good asset; I feel they can use brick.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I grew up fishing and camping there and would like to see project complete.    ON A MOTION by Commissioner Farris to donate brick to Sherman County for use at Smokey Gardens seconded by Vice-Mayor Thompson.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0. 
  2. Contract with EBH for Engineering Services: Airport Taxiway B Reconstruction Project – Andrew stated, the proposed contract is currently going through legal review.  I would like Commission to review and consider contract.  Contract is for design and construction engineering for Taxiway B Reconstruction Project, even though we are only set to construct Phase 1 at this time.  Design engineering for both phases is $20,000 with construction engineering services at cost plus $3,000 and not to exceed amount of $30,000.  There are critical elements for the agricultural sprayers to have design correct. 
  3. Review of Board Applicants – Andrew stated, the City received an application from Terry Leonhart seeking appointment to the Cemetery Board.  He reached out to board member and attended meeting.   Board had a good relationship and recommend appointment. 
  4. Home Rehabilitation Program – Andrew stated, program was introduced last meeting.  Commission recommended provisions for recipients to reside in home for number of years after completion of project.  Commission will have to set number of years for program.  Commission also recommended remove language about funds used for driveway, fencing and walkway repairs.  Staff in City Clerk’s office suggested a way to defray owner costs it to set up loan payments on their utility bill.  Also, Dale Schields from SCCF asked City to go to foundation with project to see if they would be able to leverage additional funds.  It would have to get approval from the foundation board.  Is there additional information to ensure project going in right direction before draw up forms?  Commissioner Howard stated, I feels it needs to be more income based for the percent they pay on project.  If they have to pay too much they will not even apply for money.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I recommend they qualify for low income, then the minimum project cost would be $500 not $1,000.  Instead of requiring them to pay 50%, it could be 25% for low income.  KDHE spells out low income guidelines which are solid and easy to follow based on number in household.  Mayor Garcia stated, we have many low income citizens in our community.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I am uncertain the requirement to reside in house after improvement partakes in spirit of what we are trying to accomplish.  Our goal is to improve property.  Commissioner Howard stated, I feel it needs to be requirement even if it is only three years.  Mayor Garcia stated, we need to add information in the event of death.  Commissioner Farris stated, a minimum of three years is reasonable. 


  1. City Manager – 1.  With COVID-19, I want to assure commission we are closely monitoring situation.  We spent a lot of time on it today meeting with Emergency Management, Health Department and emergency personnel.  We feel there is no emergency at this time but situations change rapidly.  We will continue to monitor and respond quickly as situation requires.  I ask Commission to maintain availability if need information from you quickly.  Many look to City for calm hand in crisis and we do not want to start a panic.  We want to have a good plan going forward. This is uncharted territory but we have good personnel.  2.  Joint meeting with County Commission is scheduled for April 20th at 5:00 p.m. during City Commission meeting here in the commission room.  3.  We tentatively have items scheduled on calendar pending COVID-19.  April 29th is Arbor Day celebration on NWKT College softball field.  The State Forrester is planning on doing a training with tree board.  4.  Congratulations to Joni Showalter being selected for Leadership Kansas.  5.  We are working on south loop project and are working to get necessary easements along Highway 27.  6. Topside Trail Project continues to progress around college. 
  2. Department Heads

Dustin Bedore, Director of Electric Utilities – Dustin stated, the power plant crew is conducting catalyst testing and maintenance, maintenance at plant and on units.  They operated for Sunflower when making repairs to line.  In first run we produced 56.3 MW and experienced battery backup issues with four cells.  We are looking at options to replace but Sunflower has loaned us a battery backup system until we determine best option.  During the outage we isolated main substation to replace three switches.  We ran again on March 12th for Sunflower to finish repairs and produced 33.5 MW.  Line crew is running on skeleton crew with illness and death.  The crew changed switches on system is working on getting meter issues at college resolved, performed work at fire training facility, changed out some poles, tree trimming, service work from office and cutoffs.  When time permits we continue to change out services from pole to residence.  When requested we are working at Holiday Inn Express and have had conversations with 24/7 on their project.  I have three guys in the apprentice program which is going well.  I feel positive about the future of the plant and line crew and the training they have had.  Bucket truck testing is complete and we continue working on annual EIA federal reports.  We are working with two solar customers because the meters purchased were programmed incorrectly.  We are gathering information to make it right.  They spent a lot of money to install system and want to make sure they are properly compensated.  Commissioner Howard asked, who is responsible for light on flag at police department?  The light is not directly on flag.  Joni stated, the light was approved, I believe it is the way the building sits.  Dustin stated, I believe lights installed on building take away from light on flag.  We will look at it.  I encourage any of you to stop by plant. 

Brian James, Fire Chief – Brian stated, we are beginning to test fire hose to maintain ISO rating.   SCBA’s have been tested and certified.  To date we ran fifty calls, twenty-five are City.  Dustin’s crew has been working on training facility, hopefully we will be pouring concrete soon to conduct live fire training.  Our goal is a three story training facility in future.  We received ISO points for facility.  Our current rating is a 3, which is good.  We have rope training tomorrow night, all are welcome to join.  Currently we have openings on squad.  For Building Inspection, I have been inspecting plumbing at Holiday Inn Express; they are getting ready to put in sprinklers.  There are small projects around town like garages and roofs.  Dakota has been out patrolling community.  We have two illegal tree arborists we are trying to locate, then we are renewing contract licenses.  Commissioner Howard asked, how was recent schooling?  Brian stated, good, I attended fire inspection school while Dakota attended building inspection school.  Dakota has residential certification coming up, followed by commercial inspection certification.  This allows a backup in the event I am unavailable or if positions change with merger.  We have more volunteers wanting to get FEMA certified for brush III training on Type 6 engine.  They can request our engine for a fire if called to serve.  The problem we are finding is the fireman’s full time employer agreeing if we are deployed.  This would be a revenue source for fire department.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, we previously discussed the reason for architect stamps.  Brian stated, code requires engineer stamped drawings for footers on commercial properties.  The purpose for this is in the event of a problem with the footer and structure, we know where liability will fall.  The engineer stamp assures full responsibility on structure.  Residential codes are very lax but commercial code considers life safety with property.  Commissioner Farris asked, why is Goodland the only City that requires engineer stamped drawings?  Brian stated, I cannot answer what other communities require, I would rather have more checks and balances in place since I am the inspector for Goodland.  Commissioner Farris stated, the problem with this requirement is that other communities can build without certification.  I will not build a building in City limits with requirement.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, this is a discussion for Commission, Brian is doing his job.  Andrew stated, I just text Tyson McGreer, Colby City Manager, they require engineer certification on commercial property.  Andrew Brunner, EBH Engineer stated, I agree with Brian; I know it is a requirement in other communities.  I will not sign off on a project without certification because of liability.  As a City, I would think you would want the stamped certification.  Brian stated, the cost to have a stamped engineer’s certification on a commercial building costs less than $1,000.  That is inexpensive to protect the City and I feel it needs to be in place to protect me, the City and public.  Mayor Garcia asked, when S & M wanted to add on to local building, they had complications so built in Colby.  Is there something in future we can do for additions to existing buildings when they want to do own work?  Brian stated, code for commercial buildings states a commercial building cannot be worked on unless you are a licensed contractor to protect the City.  The way I view that is if the work changes the integrity of a building in commercial zone, it must be completed by a licensed contractor.  The bond requirement for licensed contractors protects the City if there is a problem with a project.  The cost of the bond and permit in Goodland are inexpensive, even contractors tell me we are ripping ourselves off because they are so inexpensive. 

  • Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Thompson – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Brumbaugh – 1.  Absent, No Report 

Commissioner Howard – 1.  The charges are small but why are we charging car washes on Visa when we have bays?  Joni stated, the charges are when we are running short on time and need to be at a funeral escort or transport. 

Commissioner Farris – 1.  No Report 

  • Mayor 1.  Any update from 24/7 project?  Andrew stated, our last conversation on March 9th indicated plans were to be finished March 13th, then allow two to three weeks for project bidding.  Construction is planned to begin 2020.  2.  The fire merger still held up at attorney’s office?  Andrew stated, yes, I hope we have something by joint meeting in April. 


  1. Executive Session – Under the authority of KSA 75-4319(b)(1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnel –   Mayor Garcia made a motion at 7:22 p.m. to recess into executive under authority of  K.S.A.75-4319 (b)(1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnelnot to exceed forty-five minutes.   I request only the Commission be present. Commissioner Howard seconded the motion.  MOTION carried by a VOTE of 4-0.  Meeting resumed at 8:02 p.m. 

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Vice-Mayor Thompson seconded by Commissioner Farris.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 8:02 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for April 6, 2020.


ATTEST:                                                                               John Garcia, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk