March 6, 2023 Commission Meeting Minutes

March 6, 2023 Commission Meeting Minutes

March 6, 2023 Commission Meeting Minutes

website_admin Minutes


Regular Meeting

March 6, 2023                                                                                                                        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, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Kenton Keith – Director of Streets and Facilities, Neal Thornburg – Director of Water and Wastewater, Danny Krayca – Director of Parks, Jake Kling – City Attorney, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Kent Brown – City Manager.

Mayor Thompson led Pledge of Allegiance


  1. Craig Loveless: GRMC Update – Craig provided GRMC January financial report.  Craig stated, salaries and benefits are about 50% of the hospital budget.  We currently have 268 days cash on hand, target is 120 days.  Anticipate this reserve will decrease since there are no more COVID funds available.  The average daily census in hospital was four and the emergency room six.  For the month, visits in the specialty clinic were 183, specialists billed by GRMC were 112 and our primary care physicians were just over 1,100 for month. 


  1. 02/21/22 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances: 2023-05, 2023-05A, and 2023-P05

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


  1. Tess Smith: GAC Update & GAC Project Update – Tess provided participation numbers for 2021-2022 programs.  Tess stated, spin bike class was recently added.  We have fifteen bikes that are all highly utilized.  We tied into SCCD concert last summer for Back to School Bash, which we plan to continue.  Current membership at GAC is fifty-three short term and 236 yearly memberships.  We have been working on a facility remodel for a number of years.  Architects have drawn up plans for a project in two phases.  We are planning to move ahead with Phase I for the interior remodel.  In the future we would like to complete Phase II expansion to the south with a hard wood gym floor.  We are moving ahead with local funding to assist our application for Dane Hansen funding.  Thanks to Danny and his crew for getting ball fields ready.  Spring sports began today. 


  1. Cemetery Board Appointment – Kent stated, Donald Smith submitted an application to serve on the Cemetery Board.  He is a lifelong Sherman County resident and attended the last board meeting before submitting an application.  He has served on a number of non-profit boards and the board recommends approval of his application.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve the appointment of Donald Smith to the Cemetery Board seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0. 


  1. Upgrade Radio for water System – Kent stated, you have the quote to upgrade Motorola radio equipment to communicate between the water towers, wells and plant.  The lifespan for current radios is up and vendor is having trouble finding parts to repair radios.  This notification is extreme because it changes the whole water communication system.  Total cost is about $150,000, which we cannot do all at once.  We are planning to set up a virtual system and upgrade in steps.  Vendor is doing everything possible to keep us running, but there are no guarantees.  Neal stated, Timberline has been good to work with in the past.  We had a situation last year during the night where they scrambled to get parts.  We need communication between the wells and towers to know when to operate so towers do not overfill.  They thought they sent a notification to Goodland of end of service for certain categories of radios last year but they had not, so they are helping us keep system running.   Kent stated, it is still operating at this time, but it is a high concern to change system.  They go to great lengths to get us parts to keep it working, but we need to move quickly with upgrade.  If something becomes an issue we will work to resolve.  It will be a discussion item in budget.  Mayor Thompson asked, what exactly is vendors role in system, are they just on call?  Neal stated, if something goes wrong, we call them to trouble shoot.  They know if system goes down it puts us in a bad spot and are typically here within 24 hours or less.  Kent stated, if there is a problem it is difficult to run the system without someone being there.  Neal stated, it causes a big issue if water plant cannot communicate with wells and towers.  Commissioner Redlin asked, who is responsible for regular maintenance?  Neal stated, we do not have a maintenance contract on system, but they respond and work well with us when there is a problem.  Mayor Thompson asked, are there other vendors available for this work?  Neal stated, Donnie Unger from Ellis was $15,000 to $18,000 per sight, which is considerably higher.  We have been waiting on other radio equipment from him for the sewer for two years.  Mayor Thompson asked, how was this radio system chosen?  Neal stated, the wells used to be controlled at power plant but when we built the water treatment plant Timberline set up this system.  They analyzed and felt this worked best with our system.  Mayor Thompson stated, I am looking at the price tag and project size and wonder if we should bid out project.  What happens if we repair a couple radios now then down the road prices increase and we are tied to their system?  Kent stated, staff was not trying to avoid purchasing policy.  With this type of system, the primary considerations for staff is system reliability and response from vendor.  Over the years we have developed a relationship with this vendor because the vendor has responded in a timely manner.  That is the reason we presented the project in this manner.  We may get a lower price if we do an RFP, but if we change vendor’s, staff has to make sure product will work with system and vendor will be responsive for maintenance.  Mayor Thompson stated, I do not know how many companies do these systems.  Neal stated, there is a company in Nebraska that I have not heard good reports about from other water systems.   Those kind of vendors scare me and I know how Timberline accommodates us.  Commissioner Showalter asked, this vendor specifically works with these radios and system?   Neal stated, yes, they have the license for the frequency we run on so not just anyone can access them.  Commissioner Redlin asked, can ARPA funds cover this or have we exhausted them?  Kent stated, we are exhausting them with sewer project and water tower maintenance that we currently have out for bid.  If there is money left over we can utilize for this project.  The sewer project is important as is this system, but it currently is working.  Neal stated, on the upcoming tower contracts, KDHE will be monitoring as they inspect the system every other year.  If we have a tower go down because of issues we could be in a water emergency.  Mayor Thompson asked, how quick do you plan on moving on this project?  Kent stated, we would start talking to them about the phases to ensure it will work.  Based on that discussion we will have a better idea what to present at budget and the critical issues remaining to address.  Commissioner Showalter stated, we need to move ahead on the projects to get repairs done.  Vice-Mayor Howard asked, how will new equipment communicate with old equipment?  Josh stated, it will still work.  The question is what happens when it does not work.  Neal stated, when they built the system it was good, but as time goes by, parts wear out and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the vendor to complete repairs to the system.  If we had received notice last year, we would be in a better spot now.  I am sure we are not the only one overlooked.  Kent stated, you put a system in and at some point you have to replace it.  We have had a lot of additional regulations and high dollar ticket items in the last year. It is tough to maintain a radio system without eventually replacing the system.  Commissioner Showalter stated, if staff is comfortable with Timberline I feel we should move ahead with project in phases to keep system operating.   Consensus of commission is in agreement with Commissioner Showalter.  Kent stated, staff will update commission when we receive information. 
  2. COPS Grant Application – Frank stated, we discussed this grant last year.  We submitted an application but did not make to second phase.  If we are approved, I have someone willing to help me evaluate at no charge, what is needed to complete the second step.  It is difficult to navigate through the process. Commissioner Showalter stated, if they want to help you at no cost I agree.  Consensus of commission to proceed with application for COPS Grant.    
  3. Joint City/County Meeting Topics – Kent stated, joint meeting is Thursday March 23rd and we need topics for agenda.  Commissioner Showalter asked, is commission interested in gauging interest to work with hospital for new building?  If we are talking hospital, should we invite Craig?  Mary asked, do we need update on payoff of current sales tax issue?   
  4. Follow-up Items: Mayor Thompson asked, does commission want to have additional planning sessions to set priorities or do we want to leave information as presented?  Commissioner Showalter stated, it will not hurt to get back together to prioritize items.  Commissioner Myers stated, I feel we need to prioritize items.  Kent stated, with joint meeting the 23rd and KMEA 101 on 29th at 5:00 p.m., we will plan for a date in April.  Consensus of commission to meet April 11th for planning session. 

Sheriff Officer Blaine Varney handed out new flyers for the memorial golf tournament.  Blaine stated, tee time has changed to 10:00 a.m. to ensure no frost on course, everything else remains same.  Mayor Thompson stated, I think it is a great event, but not certain City sponsoring is appropriate use of funding.  This is a specific event for one individual.  Blaine stated, we went to County Commission and they had same concern, but Officer Riedesel has put a lot of time and service in community.  County did end up sponsoring a team for event and opened it up for employees to play on the team.  Commissioner Redlin stated, I agree with Mayor Thompson.  This has gotten the word out in the community and individuals can donate.  Blaine asked, is there a possibility to put information in newsletter?  Mary stated, our policy has been to avoid fundraisers and focus on community events.  Mayor Thompson stated, it is an awesome project that I encourage everyone to participate if can; I just do not feel it is good to donate tax payer money for the event. 


  1. City Manager – 1.  Manager memo is in packet.  2. February month end fund balance report is in packet.  3.  2024 budget calendar is in packet, all dates subject to change.  4. We have reached out to Brian James for building inspection services until the position is filled.  We have had a good response to the vacancy and making strides toward filling position.  5.  We have four bid proposals for the March 20th agenda, including sewer mains, water tower maintenance inspections, snow removal equipment and paint and seal project for airport.  6.  Historical Society has asked Joshua for assistance with their website and newsletter.  7.  Result of conversations over last four months with our front desk utility system is they are changing payment processers.  Mary stated, we will be sending a letter to our customers utilizing front desk prior to the changeover on the process needed to update payment information and utilize new processor. 
  2. City Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Howard – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Showalter – 1.  Thank you to Joshua for what you do to make sure meetings are public.  Also thank Frank, I see the numbers for the police department are up.  I appreciate what they do.

Commissioner Myers – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Redlin – 1.  No Report 

  • Mayor Thompson1.  No Report 

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION BY Commissioner Redlin seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 6:10 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for March 20, 2023. 


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk