July 3, 2023 Commission Minutes

July 3, 2023 Commission Minutes

July 3, 2023 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting

July 3, 2023                                                                                                                            5:00 P.M.

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

Also present were 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, Lukas Wolak – Electric Line Superintendent, Zach Hildebrand – Code Enforcement/Building Official, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Kent Brown – City Manager.

Mayor Thompson led Pledge of Allegiance


  1. Craig Loveless: GRMC Update – Craig provided the Commission with GRMC financial update.  Craig stated, we had a facility assessment on the building which showed facility is well maintained, but because of age, there are some issues that add up.  You can fix anything but when you dig into the building you have to abide by current code so we have some serious considerations for the facility.  We have a hospital that is functioning and well maintained but showing age.  The emergency and trauma rooms do not meet codes.  I believe it is time to get the joint meeting scheduled.  The auditors presented 2022 report, no violations but change in financial position because we repaid the last of COVID money received from the government.  Relationship between the hospital and community are intertwined, one does not survive without the other.


  1. 07/03/23 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances: 2023-13, 2023-13A, and 2023-P13

ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Commissioner Myers.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0. 


  1. Change Order #2: Runway 5/23 Construction Project – Kent stated, change order is a price increase on relocation of the PAPI so that they can use instrument flight on runway.  With requirements of the FAA it has taken since August 2022 for FAA to approve price increases.  Project will not be finished until spring 2024 unless material delivery is sooner than anticipated.  Mayor Thompson stated, the increase is responsibility of FAA so it does not affect the City. Commissioner Showalter stated, I was concerned with the time it has taken that cost increase will be responsibility of the City.  Kent stated, the increase has been conversation with FAA offices but it is FAA responsibility.   ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson to approve Change Order #2: Runway 5/23 Construction Project seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0. 
  2. Workforce One Lease – Kent stated, this lease renewal is for the office downstairs.  They want to continue even though they do not use office often.  This is a good place for them to meet with local people.  ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson to approve the lease for Workforce One seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0.


  1. 2024 Budget: Utility Funds & Others – Kent stated, last meeting we discussed the general and other advalorem funds. We want to have a balanced budget with secure reserves, invest in employees and infrastructure and expand revenue base if possible.  In review of the electric utility, revenues are less than in 2014 and 1.5% more than 2019.  The production budget has one less position as we no longer feel position is needed.  Contractual items are mostly made up of power purchase with contract that continues until 2026.  Insurance has increased in all funds.  Personnel have reconsidered frequency of maintenance runs on engines at the plant and continue in maintenance mode more other than new projects.  Plant remains a good negotiating tool for power, and will become a greater asset with master plan, considering other sources of renewable energy or an additional CAT engine at plant.  In distribution budget, personnel increase matches salary plan.  There is a slight decrease in commodities and contractual.  Prices seem to be leveling off but could make a turn upward.  It is difficult to budget this far in advance.  Crews look at ways to control supply chain issues.  There are continued conversations for a KMEA utility warehouse.  Lead time for delivery of bucket trucks is about two years.  We have been fortunate we have not had to face lack of employees like other municipalities have faced.  C & G budget is billing and office staff for utility.  Item that keeps increasing is credit card fees as more people are paying with cards which increases cost.  At the current time the City does not have a separate fee for the customer.  Mayor Thompson stated, people use cards a lot and most businesses do not have a fee on transactions so people are not used to paying fee.  We may have to look at a slight rate increase to help pay for the cost.  Miscellaneous expenses have transfer to general fund, which is like a franchise fee.  The transfer is same amount as previous two years.  Repayment to the electric reserve for February event was complete in June.  The balance in reserve fund will not pay for any of the major projects needed in the electric system.  Mayor Thompson stated, but the fund can assist if needed to complete the projects.  Kent stated, budgeted receipts are less than budgeted expenses.  It is tough for any business to operate that way long term.  It would require a $10.25 increase per month to electric bills to make up budget difference.  Question for commission is do we have additional cuts to get to even or leave budget as presented?  Do we eliminate some transfers to CIRF and MERF to get balance revenues and expenditures?  Do we continue transfer for seven mile tie; we are uncertain what final cost will be because of market.  We will have to replace the 99 poles on the tie and wires.  Mayor Thompson asked, is seven mile tie bound by current power contract or will we have to utilize tie regardless of power contract?  Lukas stated, that is the only line for power into Goodland.  Kent stated, we are responsible for the tie.  Mayor Thompson stated, budget talks are tough because I always question how other communities pay the bills.  Kent stated, you can put off maintenance for a while, but the electric department does a good job keeping system in good repair.  When you do regular projects, it takes money to keep system up to date.  It is getting more difficult to balance the budget.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, it is easier to keep up with system maintenance then to wait for a major problem.  Kent stated, when the fee for the energy event is paid, what does the commission think they want to do with that fee?  Mayor Thompson stated, with electric contract coming up for negotiations, hopefully we can leverage our assets for a better contract. 

Kent stated, in the water utility, revenues were up in 2022 but it was a dry year.  This year has been wet so we will have to see how revenues end up, they vary a lot.  Again the water fund budgets more in expenditures than in revenues.  In production there is a decrease in personnel expense because we are budgeting the supervisor ½ in sewer and water for 2024. Chemical costs have increased.  There is a transfer to the water reserve, but if project costs are more than expected, we can use that money to fund project expenditures.  In distribution, personnel costs have decreased, but it has been hard to keep staff in water and sewer.  The CIRF transfer is a bond payment for a previous water project and funds for water line replacement.  We have been reviewing costs for another project to replace problem areas.  The estimate is approximately $3,000,000 but we cannot do it all at once.  Miscellaneous expense is a transfer to general fund as in past.  Some funds in the water reserve are being used for BASE grant match in 2024.  Rates were recently reviewed with slight increase.  We continue maintenance on equipment; we have a lot of wells.  The city needs a master plan for the water system.  The recent water tower maintenance contract will bring clarity to projects.  There are a couple serious issues to address with two towers.  We are having difficult time getting information from the vendor for standpipe in Memory Park so we are reaching out to other vendors.  It can be addressed with ARPA funds if addressed soon.   Challenges in water are that the towers have been neglected, need to train staff for certification required by State, additional lead and copper sampling in 2025, maintain a backflow/cross-connection control program, a plan to insert valves to prevent shutting down too big of an area when address problems and fire hydrant replacement.  Our oldest hydrant is only 85 years old.  In the budget do we remove more expenditures to balance to revenue?  We have large upcoming projects but ARPA funds will not be available.  Mayor Thompson stated, biggest challenge with water is a lot of our infrastructure is so old.  We do a good job maintaining, but it all has a lifespan and will need to be addressed.  I have a hard time thinking we can make additional cuts in the water budget.  Kent stated, the challenge is trying to use resources to our best benefit.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, no one likes to raise rates, but we need a minimal increase when products continue to go up.  Kent stated, people have expectations water will continue with a minimum charge.  We need to continue to do more to deliver water without a catastrophic event. 

In the sewer utility, revenues are very conservative with an increase of $.20 per year.  Revenues vary minimal because of the commercial rate.  We have used ARPA funds to complete some projects at the plant to save City money.  In treatment personnel increased because of supervisor being split between water and sewer.  Contractual services increased with insurance.  Equipment maintenance and repair went up in 2022 but we budgeted back down in 2023.  In capital improvements we continue to camera mains and cleaning head works annually, but as a result we get information of problems in the system.  They will be here in two weeks to begin repair project.  In collection, personnel services increased, we need to keep employees.  Contractual services increased with insurance.  We have money transferred into CIRF for lift stations that will need addressed soon with their age.  Miscellaneous expenses have a slight increase in the transfer to general fund, do we reduce that?  This is considered a franchise fee but what is appropriate amount?  Sewer reserve is treading water, the system has been neglected and needs maintenance.  We continue maintenance, but try to keep projects to a minimum.  Our rate has a very minimal annual increase which we are grateful for, but we do not have in water or electric.  Challenges are staffing, sampling, minimal maintenance and maintenance costs.  Question for commission is do we keep transfer to general fund at same level or reduce?  With proposed budget $27,000 in red, does staff reduce additional costs?    Receipts have been somewhat the same since 2019. 

There are other funds used by the City.  Health and sanitation fund has an increase in revenues to meet contract changes effective March 2023.  It is basically a contractual fund.  Revenues for cemetery improvement fund are lot sales and the cash balance is about $275,000.  Money has been set aside for a few expenditures and a new transfer for land purchase.  Does commission agree with the land transfer from the improvement fund?  We use the fund for bigger ticket items.  Mayor Thompson stated, I feel it is the appropriate place for it.  Kent stated, law enforcement trust fund revenues are from drug forfeitures and expenses are radios for $10,000.  The vehicle inspection (VIN) or the law enforcement trust fund can be used for Flock System the commission inquired about.  The system is not currently included in the budget, but can be added.  Municipal court diversion revenues are fees which have decreased.  VIN revenues are fees paid for vehicle inspections done by the city.  Funds are utilized for training and equipment expenses.  Budgets for CIRF and MERF reserve funds depend on decisions from the commission.  ON GIRF we have an additional expense for the BASE grant.  Special highway revenues are gasoline tax per statute.  This is our main source for chip and seal on streets, but for 2024 we will use the revenue as local share in cost share grant for Caldwell Improvements.  Special parks revenue is liquor tax per statute that is receipted ½ to general fund for park improvements.  The city budgets a minimum amount in general fund for park improvements.  ARPA fund are from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and funds need to be obligated by 2024 then used by 2026. 

ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson at 6:46 p.m. to take a five minute recess and report back at 6:51 p.m. seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0.  Meeting resumed at 6:51 p.m.

Kent stated, the commission was asked last meeting whether we meet same advalorem rate as 2023 budget which requires budget decrease of $329,000.  To meet projected RNR rate requires decrease of $567,000.  Staff needs direction.  Mayor Thompson stated, I cannot see any way to move forward functionally to accomplish the city needs and fix and maintain failing infrastructure when you continue to cut the budget. To be able to move forward we will have to fall between what was presented and meeting the 2023 budget advalorem rate.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I agree with Mayor Thompson.  There is no way to continue to meet goals if we have drastic cut in budget.  I feel that would move the city backwards.  Some of the cuts make sense, but in no way can we meet RNR.  Mayor Thompson stated, on the list of proposed adjustments there are a lot of retirement funds and some in equipment or improvement reserves.  Kent stated, when an employee leaves service that is their leave built up.  Mayor Thompson stated, if they are proposed cuts, I am assuming they are not planning on leaving.  Kent stated, it is a guessing game; we are trying to come up with a way to decrease maximums.  Mayor Thompson asked, what is projected wage increase?  Kent stated, the merit per salary plan and 3% COLA.  Mayor Thompson asked, what is projected change in health insurance?  We have been lucky that the expenses have not been as high as expected.  Mary stated, we projected 8% increase.  Kent stated, year to date we are doing well and if it remains at this level I anticipate a good renewal but there are other options we can look at.  Mayor Thompson asked, when do we have to know our plan for RNR?  Kent stated, July 20th and we will have to provide our maximum amount.  Mayor Thompson asked, what are thoughts of commission for final decision by next meeting?  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, there is no way we can meet RNR or we will have to cut services.  I recommend a special commission meeting to continue discussion.  Consensus of commission is to hold a special meeting Monday July 10th at 5:00 p.m.  Kent stated, Commissioner Redlin gave me permission to state he does not see how we can meet RNR.  Vice-Mayor Howard asked, when was the last time the City levy increased?  Mayor Thompson stated, please email commission copies of both power point presentations to review.    


  1. City Manager – 1.  Manager memo is in the packet.  2. We received EMC Dividend check in the amount of $38,451.20.  3.  Frank updated the commission on a recent traffic stop for a U-turn but ended up with ½ pound of meth, 3 pounds marijuana and a 2023 van with less than 3,000 miles that we are applying for seizure.  This was one of our best stops with meth.  It does not sound like much but it is.  Commissioner Showalter stated, that is a lot of meth, kudos to Officer Mader.  Frank stated, I am making a spreadsheet of the narcotics we are getting off the street from last year and this year.  They have been working hard on the drugs.  4. We have had a request to apply for a grant from foundation for an additional shade over play equipment at Steever Park.  5. I have had a request on the property in the Roadway lease that is south of Holiday Inn Express.  The land is owned by both the city and county.  It is a paved property with a lease for 25 years, then renewable for another 25 years.  I am uncertain if Roadway even uses property for their trailers.  The college received grant money for a CDL program and would like to use property if can.  I have spoken with City Attorney about what we could do with property in lease as this would make a good use of land.  Mayor Thompson stated, my initial thought is it is silly both entities own property.  If we can work it so that only one entity owns property for the college to utilize property.  Kent stated, we are gathering information but it seems there are parameters in lease that make it difficult.  They would like to use the property as is, then have classroom work at college.  6. Police Department monthly report is in packet. 
  2. City Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Howard – 1. No Report   

Commissioner Showalter – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Myers – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Redlin – 1.  Absent, No Report 

  • Mayor Thompson1.  No Report 

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION BY Vice-Mayor Howard seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.  Next meeting is a Special Meeting Monday scheduled for July 10th at 5:00 p.m.  Next regular meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2023.


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk