August 21, 2023 Commission Minutes

August 21, 2023 Commission Minutes

August 21, 2023 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting

August 21, 2023                                                                                                                     5:00 P.M.

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

Also present were Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Jason Erhart – Assistant 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, Zach Hildebrand – Code Enforcement/Building Official, Jake Kling – City Attorney, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Kent Brown – City Manager.

Mayor Thompson led Pledge of Allegiance


  1. John Mosbarger citizen stated,we have a committee repairing the nativity scene that used to be displayed around hospital.  It has been in storage for about ten years.  It is in good shape but needs some work.  We would like permission to set the scene up in Rosewood Park.  There were two concerns with hospital location, vandalism and wind with the open space that we can eliminate at the park.    The park has housing, many with ring doorbells.  We will be responsible for setting up, tearing down and any repairs.  At this time we are only asking for permission to set up in park.  In the future we may want some power for lights.  Mayor Thompson stated, I grew up with the hospital scene. Is there enough room in the park?  John stated, there are eight scenes and we are looking at some grant money to lighten some of the scenes.  The first year may be a condensed version but we believe there is plenty of room.  Rosewood does not intersect with a main road and is off the path for traffic so people could enjoy scene.  Commissioner Showalter asked, as a resident of the area do you have concerns with extra traffic created in the area?  John stated, we get a lot of traffic with people looking at lights already.  Commissioner Showalter asked, are you going to light up scene the first year?  John stated, we are looking at solar lighting for first year.  Mayor Thompson stated, we will discuss later in meeting.  Great idea and glad you have desire to take on project. 


  1. 08/07/23 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. 08/14/2023 Joint Commission Meeting Minutes
  3. Appropriation Ordinances: 2023-16, 2023-16A, 2023-16B and 2023-P16

ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 3-0.


  1. Water Towers Inspection Report and Recommendations: Viking –Rick Penner from Viking Industrial Painting (Viking) stated, I have spent a lot of years working with engineers and architects as a coating manufacturer representative, primarily water tank businesses.  I specified your coatings when you built the south tank in Goodland.  Viking is based out of Omaha, been in business since 2001 and moved to Omaha in 2018.  We have a lot of certified inspectors and offer full service for water tanks.  Our approach is a little different than most as we do a lot of consulting and try to work with people to come up with their best options.  In 2020 I climbed all the tanks in Goodland and completed inspections at that time.  Our recent inspection was a dive inspection of the tanks.  KDHE/OSHA/ARRA evaluate the structural conditions, coatings, sanitary conditions, safety and security of your structures.  Security and safety would be main priorities.  Rick reviewed conditions and recommendations for each tank for the commission.  The north tank has an aluminum coating in good condition, not a thick coating but I like aluminum coatings as they work very well.  It would be a good candidate for an overcoat but not now.  Overflow discharge that you have is good but according to regulations it should be terminated at 12” to 24” above grade and have a flapper screen and a splash pad.  Recommendations for the scope of work on north tower are 1.) Install cable safety climb devices to all interior ladders; 2.) Seal non-compliant dry riser vent opening; 3.) Install KDHE compliant fail-safe vent; 4.) Install secondary access opening at tank roof; 5.) Cut off overflow pipe at 12-24” above grade and install flanged screen, flapper gate and splash pad; 6.) Plan for future overcoat of the exterior aluminum coating system; 7.) Plan for renovation of interior coating system with zinc/epoxy coating system; and 8.) Caulk interior skip welds and rafters.  The south tank is aged and just needs rejuvenated.  I would recommend 1.) Plan for overcoat renovation of tank exterior; and 2.) Plan for renovation of tank interior wet area with zinc/epoxy coating system.  The power plant tank has a lot more issues but structurally is good.  Recommendations are 1.) Repair concrete at tank leg foundations; 2.) Terminate overflow at ground level and install screen /flapper; 3.) Consideration for new ladders at interior and exterior; 4.) Install mid-rail at tank balcony railing; 5.) Remove spider rods and hub at tank interior; 6.) Seal and weld roof to tank shell; 7.) Install safety handrail at tank bottom; 8.) Refurbish tank interior with zinc/epoxy coating system; and 9.) Overcoat exterior with aluminum coating system.  There are three maintenance options to evaluate.  A one-time project where work is defined and paid upon completion.  A defined scope and term maintenance program where work is defined and completed over a time period.  Then a full service maintenance program which defines renovations up front as well as future maintenance.  Kent stated, Viking also looked at our clear water tanks at water treatment plant and there were no concerns.  Rick stated, they were very clean.  Kent stated, Neal and I are working with Rick and our question moving forward is a how to schedule maintenance work.  Rick stated, I have a list of typical framework for maintenance on tanks over a ten year period to get necessary items addressed.  Nothing is set in stone but we were trying to set up the priority for maintenance.  Mayor Thompson stated, thank you for the report and presentation.  Unfortunately it brings issues to our attention that need addressed.  It is difficult to proceed without knowing ballpark costs.  Rick stated, if you did everything on list ballpark estimate would be about $750,000 at this time, which includes overcoat.  We need to evaluate long term so City knows what to expect.  If you consider full containment, that adds $300,000 to the cost.  That is where we need to evaluate City needs so you know what to expect.  Commissioner Showalter asked, how much does a water tower cost?  Rick stated, they are from $1,500,000 to $2,500,000.   The City has $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 in assets with your water tanks.  There is nothing structurally wrong with any of them and can be repaired.  Kent stated, the important thing to do is continued maintenance.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, if maintenance is done on a timely schedule it is more cost efficient.  Rick stated, that is correct, if you get too far behind it is hard to catch up.  Mayor Thompson stated, we are finding that with a lot of our infrastructure.  Neal stated, it would be a concern if we lose a tower. 
  2. TEAP Study – Kent stated, an engineer study was completed when Andrew Finzen was here but it got lost in the shuffle. TEAP is a traffic engineering assistance program study that evaluated the appropriateness of existing traffic signal controls at the intersections of 11th and 12th Streets and Main Street.  We know we will have discussion with KDOT for the signal at Highway 24/27.  The traffic lights are within a central business district area.  Typical weekday traffic was obtained along with am/pm peak traffic and evaluating alternatives to traffic pattern.  The recommendation in study is that same recommendation be followed for each intersection. Base recommendation is that existing traffic signal be removed, implementing two way stop with 11th and 12th Streets being the STOP controlled approach to Main Street.  The alternate recommendation is the traffic signals remain but be upgraded to current day standards and technology.  Right now the automatic timer seems to work.  Our question to commission is do we keep them or not?  Commissioner Showalter stated, the cheapest idea is best idea.  I do not want a round-about and I am not in favor of updating.  I feel we need to do stop signs. Mayor Thompson stated, even at the busiest time of day there was barely a vehicle a minute passing through intersection at one time.  I have talked with many citizens lately and not one person said we need to keep them.  They want them taken out.  There does not appear to be a relevant reason to keep them.  Commissioner Showalter stated, the cost to maintain is very high.  Kent stated, two considerations to keep in mind is north of 11th Street to 8th Street the speed will pick up since there are more blocks without a traffic control device. The south end has the school that slows traffic and the street is a little rougher.  Would there be complaints with speed and enforcement on Main Street?  The other concern is that it provides protection for pedestrians crossing traffic.  I agree maintenance costs are high but is it really useful to have signals two blocks in a row.  Mayor Thompson stated, I have no idea the original reasoning for traffic lights.  I agree speed will probably increase without the lights.  The other concern is sometimes it is hard to see around vehicles parked on Main Street.  Is cost to update and maintain lights worth safety and peace of mind for pedestrians?  Dustin stated, the lights were here in 1983 when I came to town.  Other intersections that had flashing red lights were 12th and Broadway, 8th and Main and 17th and Main.  I believe we got the issue resolved with the light at Highway 24/27 because we replaced controller.  Replacement of controllers for these two lights will be coming.  We will also need to discuss school zone lights as the equipment has also been there a while.  Commissioner Showalter asked, the signal at Highway 24/27 intersection was flashing red this weekend, is there an issue?  Dustin stated, we found the issue, the connection was loose.  Kent stated, seems general consensus is the base recommendation.  We will come back with estimated costs for base recommendation.  Mayor Thompson stated, we need to have all commission present for decision as this is a big issue.  We can also look at putting in stop sign to see if people would like it but leave poles in case we want to replace signals.   
  3. Follow-up Joint Meeting with Sherman County: Wolak Building and Floodplain Map – Kent stated, the floodplain map coordinator is scheduled to attend a County Commission meeting in September to discuss and answer questions.  We will see how they want to proceed after that.  Mayor Thompson stated, remind us again of the benefit of an updated floodplain map.  Kent stated, there is a different network of streets in one flood zone on current map.  It needs to be updated with current flood detention at Pioneer Park and drainage out of City.  There has also been housing built since 1981 especially on northeast quadrant of city and need to assess how drainage is affected.  We have had decent rains this year, fortunately no big rain over a short period.  If have floodplain map it helps us assess outcome with flood areas. 

With the Wolak Building, with merged fire department we have been discussing whether the building should be owned by Sherman County since fire and EMS utilize the building,.  The City insures building and county insures equipment inside other than City insures vehicles they own.  The attorneys are working to have amendment to agreement to title vehicles to county.  The insurance situation makes it awkward.  City bought building in 2002 with lease purchase and put a lot of money into building for economic development to use as a manufacturing business.  The County then spent a lot of money to remodel for fire and EMS.  Do you want to proceed to pursue changing ownership of building?  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, it makes sense to be owned by County but I feel there needs to be a reversion clause for the building if the County does not need it anymore.  I also believe the Wolak name needs to stay with the building.  Commissioner Showalter asked, what is savings for insurance on building?  Kent stated, we did not get that cost.  Mayor Thompson stated, I feel this needs to be part of a bigger conversation with County on how the merger is going.  When we agreed to merger we knew we would have to make modifications.  I feel it is going well but feel need to discuss issue with both entities to see with merger if going to continue long term. I have no issue with the caveats.  There is a lot of value in the building and do we want to give up that value to county?  We need to discuss how everything is going as a whole.  Kent stated, that is a good point, it appears to be working well and will continue to work well but does not mean there will not be issues.  It involves more than a fire merger.  It is a piece of property that can have many functions.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I agree with caveats on building.  I feel firemen will let us know if something is not going well.  I feel the partnership has provided top notch fire and emergency services.  It makes sense for county to have own equipment in their building.  Kent stated, in the joint meeting it was not mentioned that the parcel includes the parking lot adjacent to City Hall.  I feel that should be part of the conversation.  Street Department did some concrete work in front and around building to help with drainage.  The rest of the parking lot is starting to show some issues. 

  • Nativity Scene – Danny stated, I feel this is a great asset; my only concern is driving posts in the park with sprinkler and electrical lines.  The discussion of solar lighting will be good and they will have neighbors looking out for scene.  We discussed with the Parks Board and asked them to make recommendation for commission.  Their next meeting is Wednesday.  The only question I asked is whether they discussed with neighbors to get input.  Another question was number of scenes, which John said eight.  Mayor Thompson asked, how long is the scene set up?  John stated, right after thanksgiving until after first of year.  Mayor Thompson stated, the grass in park is different than hospital, will that be a problem?  Danny stated, no my biggest concern is marking where to put posts for scene.  Mayor Thompson asked, if we have an answer by next meeting will that give committee time they need?  John stated, we are working on scene already.  This was our first choice for location and feel it will flow better in park for community.  Danny stated, I feel the board would like input from neighbors so there are not concerns with lighting changes made in the park.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, at that time of year most people have lights up anyway so I do not see a problem.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I support having this in the park but what is our liability if a religious group wants to have another display on City property?  Jake stated, it is constitutional principal, if another religious organization wants to have a display that you may turn down, this is where you could have problems.  If you allow, you will have to be open to what others want in park, within limitations of course.  John stated, in our group we have discussed this, but we feel the scene is over 35 years old and has history to community.  Mayor Thompson stated, we will have answer next meeting.  John stated, I will also get with neighbors for a consensus as well. 


  1. City Manager – 1.  Manager memo is in the packet.  2. May month end financial report is in the packet.  3.  Police monthly activity report, including recent drug seizures, are in the packet. 4.  League of Kansas Municipalities annual conference is in Wichita October 7-9.  Mayor Thompson stated, I encourage other commissioners attend as it is a lot of good information with issues that touch your community.  5.  I am heading to Topeka for policy committee meeting.  It is important they pass along information for next legislative session and the Statement of Municipal Policy for the league.  I am participating in the utilities committee.   
  2. City Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Howard – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Showalter – 1.  Please tell the Police Department they did a good job on the incident the other night.  It went well and no one was injured. 

Commissioner Myers – 1.  Absent, No Report 

Commissioner Redlin – 1.  Absent, No Report 

  • Mayor Thompson1.  No Report 

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION BY Commissioner Showalter seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for September 5, 2023. 


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk