July 18, 2022 Commission Minutes

July 18, 2022 Commission Minutes

July 18, 2022 Commission Minutes

website_admin Minutes


Regular Meeting

July 18, 2022                                                                                                                          5:00 P.M.

Mayor Aaron Thompson called the meeting to order with Vice-Mayor J. J. Howard, Commissioner Jason Showalter, Commissioner Ann Myers and Commissioner Brook Redlin responding to roll call. 

Also present were Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Frank Hayes – Chief of Police, Sami Windle – Museum Director, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Kenton Keith – Director of Streets and Facilities, Neal Thornburg – Director of Water and Wastewater, Danny Krayca – Director of Parks, Jeff Dinkel – Code Enforcement/Building Official, Jake Kling – City Attorney, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Kent Brown – City Manager.

Mayor Thompson led Pledge of Allegiance



  1. 07/05/22 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances: 2022-14, 2022-14A, and 2022-P14

ON A MOTION by Commissioner Redlin to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0. 


  1. Resolution 1590: Unfit Structure 1514 Caldwell – Jeff stated, last meeting the Commission discussed this property.  We have not had any communication from property owner so we are requesting approval of resolution for publication of hearing at September 19th meeting.    ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve Resolution 1590: Providing Notice of Hearing for Unfit Structure at 1514 Caldwell seconded by Commissioner Myers.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0. 
  2. Resolution 1591: Water Watch – Kent stated, recently Governor Kelly approved drought declaration for western counties, and Sherman County is in drought emergency status.  Our code outlines requirements for water conservation.  First requirement is water watch when concern is rising.  The commission may declare a watch asking for future steps toward conservation.  This resolution sets stage if additional steps need to be taken at later date.  Average usage in June was almost 55,000,000 gallons, which is very similar to 2021.  All wells are currently in operation.  Approving this resolution allows us to encourage voluntary conservation and move toward further declarations if needed.  We do not expect water usage will go down with the heat.  At this point we are asking for wise usage.  Commissioner Showalter stated, when we head this way, people ask what we are doing to conserve.  What can the City do to make sacrifices?  Kent stated, on the website we have encouraged people to water in morning and evening.  We are doing the same for our properties and parks.  Automatic sprinklers are set not to water in afternoon.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve Resolution 1591: Water Watch seconded by Commissioner Myers.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.


  1. Handy-man Contractor: Direction on Labor Limit – Jeff stated, the board has list of requirements for handy-man contractors which included $1,000,000 liability insurance, $5,000 bond, no structural work, install and repair fencing, minor plumbing and electrical, minor roof repairs; like leaks, no complete tear off.  We discussed a labor limit of $1,000, but one member requested $2,500 limit.  Research from other community’s show no limit on labor.  My recommendation is require a permit on all jobs.  If they are caught without permit, same penalties as there are for contractors.  Mayor Thompson asked, is the idea on labor limit to prevent too big of project?  If projects are defined, labor will take care of itself.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, I agree.  Would this change permit requirement for fences?  Right now if replacing fence no permit is required but if it is a new fence, must get a permit.  Jeff stated, when we get to the new codes it probably will as there will be a lot of changes in permit requirements.  Consensus of Commission is not to set labor limit for handy-man contractor.    
  2. 2020 Electrical Code Book Review – Jeff stated, board went through 2020 electrical book, and would like to make one change; limit Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protections to bedrooms.  They are still required in commercial properties, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.  This is limited to residential properties.  Mayor Thompson asked what requirements would be in other rooms?  Jeff stated, they would be normal and not required to have arc fault circuit.  Vice-Mayor Howard asked, are bathrooms and kitchens still required to have GFI’s?  Jeff stated, yes this is for arc fault circuit.  We will continue to move forward with code if Commission is in agreement of change.  Consensus of Commission is in agreement of change. 
  3. Budget Review – Item discussed following reports in meeting.


  1. City Manager – 1.  Manager memo is included in packet.  2.  Andrew Brunner EBH Engineer stated, the airport project continues moving forward.  We will have a couple major concrete pours the next four weeks.  We are watching temperatures for concrete.  They still have a decent amount of dirt work to complete on back side to meet slopes.  We will still have seeding, lighting and painting at end of project.  Plan on project being complete end of August, except seeding which will be in September to get growth.  3.  Monthly report from police department and quarterly financial report are in packet.  4.  August 20th is 50th anniversary celebration for Butterfly Aviation, all are invited.  5.  League of Kansas Municipalities annual conference is beginning of October if you would like to attend.  6.  Over the weekend we had vandalism again in Phillips Park.  There has been some question as to why we passed park hour ordinance.  Parks are closed a short time and passed so police could have laws to back them when patrolling parks.  7.  We will have communication coming out regarding electrical usage being up.  Electric department is doing well to maintain but it is stressing our system.  We are reaching highs and it will continue with heat.  We will have some public communication in next day or two encouraging conservation.  Dustin stated, we hit a high peak last Friday that is our highest in several years.  Kent stated, currently we are able to keep up but our peak is not an area we want as record high.  8.  Contractor for chip seal is in town next week for a project in county then will start our chip seal project.  Street department will notify residents along affected streets.  Kenton stated, the project includes about 66,000 square yards.  It will be done Tuesday and Wednesday.  We are going with argon oil this year because cheaper route.  Cobitco will complete fog seal late August or early September.  If we do not fog seal, we lose rock.  I feel like it gives citizens a better product.  9. Commissioner Showalter asked, do we have an estimate spent for repairs of damage in parks?  Danny stated, we have had ten to twelve incidents of vandalism.  Most of the repairs have been labor to scrub off graffiti.  In Chambers Park we had to replace soap and towel dispensers and the door because the restrooms were locked.  We have spent a few thousand dollars in repairs but a lot of hours in labor.  We will get the estimate for Commission.  Commissioner Showalter asked, will we get to the point we just lock them?  Danny stated, it is heading that way, worse things can happen in them.  We take pride in keeping them clean and open to the public.  Kent stated, there are a few causing problems for majority.   
  2. City Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Howard – 1.  Thank employees for their work, please stay hydrated.

Commissioner Showalter – 1.  I received a call from a local business man to encourage us not to meet RNR and let the budget do what it needs for employees to work.  2.  Appreciate all employees do.  It is not fun working in heat.

Commissioner Myers – 1.  Thank employees for working in heat.

Commissioner Redlin – 1.  I also had a call from a business man not to meet RNR and meet mill as last year or increase if necessary.  2.  I appreciate employees and what they do.    

  • Mayor Thompson1.  Echo comments of the Commissions.


  • Budget Review – Kent stated, last meeting we discussed the general fund; now we will discuss remaining funds.  Objective is a balanced budget and secure reserves with sustainable operations.  We need to sustain infrastructure to work well as much as possible.  In electric fund, revenues for sales and collections remain same as 2021.  If we receive additional costs from our power supplier that adhere to our contract, staff may have to present cost changes, but currently estimate keeping same as previous budget.  We cannot anticipate what any change would be.  In the expenses there is not a big budget change.  Dustin stated, I approached Kent about feeder four having voltage issues; it is the area developing.  I would like to look at possibility of electrical engineer to review voltage issues.  KMEA-Midstates will look through that portion of town to help with a solution.  Kent stated, I think having another substation would help eliminate some problems.  We are in discussion stages at this time.  Dustin stated, that feeder looks different than it did years ago because of new houses in northeast area of city.  We need to fix it before it becomes an issue with further development.  Commissioner Showalter asked, do we have a cost estimate?  Dustin stated, a substation transformer will be biggest cost at $550,000 to $600,000.  Transformer costs are out of control.  Kent stated, if it becomes an actual project, it would affect budget, but we do not have enough information at this time.  The transfers to general help keep property taxes down.  In water fund, revenues show a slight increase due to the minimal rate increase.  It would behoove the commission to do a minimal rate increase on a regular basis to avoid a major hit at one time.  Water expenses are divided between production and distribution with not much change from 2021.  The transfer to MERF in production is reduced due to payoff of SRF water loan.  We have over fifty miles of water line in the city so it is important to keep updating lines.   Current water bonds are in effect until 2036.  In sewer utility, revenue is relatively stable.  The annual rate increase of twenty cents per year is minimal.  Expenses are divided into treatment and collection.  Commodities are the major change with improvement’s previously brought before the commission on piping and equipment that needed replaced.   We are trying to keep ahead of equipment maintenance.  We have increased equipment maintenance as a result of camera inspections.  We need to slip line two major problems under buildings at West Elementary School and the Catholic Church.  Both sewer mains are under the building.  It is good to complete camera inspection on regular basis to identify issues before they become major issues.  We have seven lift stations that are mechanically run so money set aside for them.  There is a slight increase in the transfers to general fund from the water and sewer utilities to get the general at the level it is.  Sewer reserve is treading water.  The problem is the sewer system has been neglected.  As we work through the system, the twenty cent increase each year may not be enough to fund improvements needed.  Health and Sanitation is accounting revenue received and payments to solid waste contractor.  We need to be aware of additional fuel charges for diesel.  The CIRF, MERF and GIRF funds receive transfers from different departments which vary each year with projects outlined in fund. These are good accounting tools to put money away for a project then pay cash for project.  We are not anticipating a lot of projects in 2023 mainly because of unknowns with prices.  Airport fund is used to account for grant projects and property tax on hangars.  We receive some revenue from hangar rentals.  Library funds are basically requests from library board.  Between the two funds, they are asking for 5.8 mills where limit is set by ordinance at 6.75 mills.  Bond and interest is your debt service fund.  It is increased to cover bond payments.  This fund pays for payments on the street improvement bond which expires in 2027.  Cemetery improvement fund accounts for lot sales and expenses for cemetery.  Revenues in the employee benefit fund have been relatively stable.  Health insurance costs are less because of employee census.  In 2023 we budgeted an 8% increase in health insurance costs.  If there are additional costs we will have to evaluate recommendations.  It is difficult to predict what renewal will be.  Law enforcement trust fund is revenue from drug forfeitures.  Municipal court diversion fees are fees required by statute and expenses as outlined.  Self-insurance fund works with the employee benefits fund because our plan is self-funded.  Revenues are transfers from different departments and expenses are paid toward stop loss.  Special highway is revenue from the state for gas tax as required by statute.  Expenses are for street chip seal project.  We have had discussions to utilize money for city share of a state grant project to mill and overlay Caldwell Street next year.  The grants are only available for next eighteen to twenty months.  If we apply for a grant we will get commission approval.  Special parks revenue is half the liquor tax to be spent for park improvements.  Liquor tax is split equally between the general and special parks fund.  Vehicle inspection (VIN) is by agreement with the state for vehicle inspections.  Funds are strictly for city use and allows us to expend money for training and ammunition.  Remaining funds are non-budgeted funds used for accounting purposes only.  The ARPA project fund requires commission discussion.  The funds need to be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.  We originally discussed a belt press for the sewer treatment plant, but are now looking at various water projects to present.  We do not have anything final at this point.  The main question is whether staff should proceed to present a project to the commission at this time.  Commissioner Showalter stated, the question at this point is what benefit is there to wait with the increase in costs for materials.  I appreciate the work of staff on putting together the budgets and summaries.  Kent stated, in summary 2023 budget presented is $15,898,653 which is a 2.6% overall increase from $15,293,917 in 2022 budget.  This increase is probably too thin, based with current inflation scenario.  Staff would ask the commission and public to realize this may not be final result at the end of 2023.  We may see an increase in utility funds or other user fees.  This budget is presented as final result for property tax.  With uncertainty in the economy, we have to be flexible and may have increases in certain areas but we want to wait until the situation occurs rather than trying to guess what changes could be.  Each change would be on a case by case basis and brought to commission.  The League of Kansas Municipalities do not have an overall study as to who increased RNR last year.  Looking at ten communities in western Kansas, seven communities would have had to lower their mill levy in order to meet their RNR rate.  Four cities chose to set below or meet RNR in 2022 budget, Goodland was one of them.  The other three cities had an RNR rate higher than mill levy the previous year.  Six of the seven cities either met previous year or had a slightly lower mill levy, but did not go lower than RNR.  In summary for the general fund personnel went up 7%.  Understand the salary schedule was adopted in middle of 2022 and was not included in the 2022 budget.  Contractual increased 7.9%, but 25% of increase was dedicated to fuel purchases.  Commodities increased 5.9% over 2022 budget, capital outlay is down 24.4% and transfers are down 25.2%.  It is a math problem, A (valuation) times B (tax rate) equals C (dollars).  With RNR the state only cares about C which is worth a lot less per unit since legislature passed RNR rule.  They do not care about A or B, but that C remains the same.  If it does not, you have a process to follow.  Do we meet the RNR?  The budget is set at essentially the same rate as last year.  If you try to get to RNR, we will need to cut $115,000 in the budget.  Mayor Thompson asked, if we decide to exceed RNR, when is final date to approve budget?  Mary stated, you have until October, we anticipate hearing at September 6th meeting.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, we are really close to last year.  With everything increasing in price we need to remain where we are.  Mayor Thompson stated, this puts us right in the middle of where we were afraid we would be last year.  I cannot imagine how we can go any lower without it being detrimental in long run to our services.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I agree with Mayor Thompson, staff cut the budget to come to get to this point.  I do not feel we can go lower and keep doing what we need to do.  We also need to take care of our employees.  Mayor Thompson stated, this is a bare bones budget that does not include items discussed earlier in our planning sessions.  I hope things will change so we can do something.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I am disappointed we cannot do anything with housing like we wanted to do.  Kent stated, Resolution 1592: Regarding Governing Body’s Intent to Levy a Property Tax Exceeding the RNR states a proposed mill levy of 48.876.  ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson to approve Resolution 1592: Regarding Governing Body’s Intent to Levy a Property Tax Exceeding the RNR seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.        

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION BY Commissioner Redlin seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for August 1, 2022. 


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk