December 18, 2023 Commission Minutes

December 18, 2023 Commission Minutes

December 18, 2023 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting

December 18, 2023                                                                                                               5:00 P.M.

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

Also present were Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Jason Erhart –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. 2023 Budget Amendment: Health and Sanitation Fund – Mayor Thompson opened the public hearing for the 2023 budget amendment at 5:00 p.m.  Kent stated, this amendment is due to the contract change with In the Can.  There are additional revenues and expenditures.  The notice was published in the paper for hearing tonight.  Mayor Thompson closed the public hearing for the 2023 budget amendment at 5:02 p.m. 


  1. Zekke Beringer, citizen stated, I would like to request the City de-annex the land in the county, out by Caruso.  I own 5 plots in the area and would like to start a gun range and other projects in area.  Where the land is annexed into the City, I pay city taxes and maintain property myself.  Mayor Thompson stated, this land was annexed for the energy plant that was going to be put in years ago.  Commissioner Showalter asked, what is benefit to the city to de-annex the land?  Zekke stated, you do not have to maintain anything out there.  One easement has a huge washout over it that I do not want to maintain.  I cannot have a shooting range within City limits.  


  1. 12/04/23 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances: 2023-24, 2023-24A, and 2023-P24

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


  1. 2023 Budget Amendment: Health and Sanitation Fund – ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson to approve the 2023 budget amendment for the Health and Sanitation Fund seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0. 
  2. 2024 Renewal of BCBS Health Insurance- Kent stated, staff met with Jalaa Miller, IMA Account Executive to review information.  Jalaa stated, on the cost summary, 2023 expected costs were $775,664 and this renewal will see a decrease of 5.7%, or a decrease of $44,063.  Administrative costs remain flat and stop loss premium has a slight decrease of .4%.  Claims experience has largest decrease of 9.5%.  We discussed employee contribution at renewal since city pays 100% at this time.  With grandfather plan there are restrictions for employee contributions.  With the decrease at renewal we recommend the plan renew at current levels, without an employee contribution.  This is something we will continue to review.  We asked BCBS for another option on stop loss which was not beneficial, so we recommend renew with current plan.  Kent stated, the other option IMA looked at was using a $40,000 stop loss and there was not much difference between the two levels.  Commissioner Showalter asked, is the reduction on trend with other clients?  Jalaa stated, I have seen other clients come down.  The stop loss surprised me but this is what we are seeing in line with other municipalities and plans.  Kent stated, some of the potential big ticket employees have fallen off the plan.  You cannot predict the future but this is what has happened.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I appreciate the employee efforts to help keep it on track.  ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson to approve the renewal of the BCBS Health Insurance as presented seconded by Commissioner Redlin.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0.
  3. Airport Board Applications: James Baker, Jon Yost and Dustin Stephenson – Kent stated, the appointments of Jon Yost and Dustin Stephenson are up for renewal and James Baker previously served on the board.  Staff recommends the reappointment of Jon and Dustin and the appointment of James to the Airport Board.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve the reappointment of Dustin Stephenson and Jon Yost and the appointment of James Baker to the Airport Board seconded by Commissioner Redlin.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0.
  4. Change Order #1: Timberline Radio Proposal for Wells, Towers and Treatment Plant – Kent stated, the original proposal for communications between the plant with the wells and towers did not include a radio for south tower.  Neal stated, we looked at south tower but it was never added to proposal so we need change order to add the radio.  Mayor Thompson stated, it is important to have it all updated.  The change order has a radio and a spare.  Kent stated, we had a situation where we noted the spare is needed as well, which was a change since packet went out.   The guys spent a lot of time filling towers by hand last week because the radio went down.  Commission appreciates staff keeping operations running.  Neal stated, it was a good learning lesson.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve change order #1: Timberline Radio Proposal in the amount of $9,400 seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-0.


  1. Water Tower Maintenance Proposal – Kent stated, Rick Penner from Viking previously discussed the tower inspection.  We have had numerous discussions to determine a plan for repairs.  Rick stated, all action items are based on OSHA, AWWA and KDHE regulations.  The scope of work recommended for the north tank is as follows: install cable safety climb devices to all interior ladders; seal non-compliant dry riser vent opening; install KDHE compliant fail-safe aluminum vent; install secondary access opening at tank roof; cut off overflow pipe at 12-24” above grade and install flanged screen and flapper gate; renovation of interior coating system with zinc/epoxy coating system; and caulking of interior skip welds and rafters.  Scope of work on the power plant tower includes: repair concrete at tank leg foundations; terminate overflow at ground level and install “air-break”; new ladders at interior and exterior; raise handrail and install mid-rail; remove spider rods and hub at tank interior; seal weld roof to tank shell; install safety handrail at tank bottom; refurbish tank interior with zinc/epoxy coating system; and full lead containment and blast tank exterior and install 3 coat system.  Kent asked, what is life expectancy of paint?  Rick stated, there are different expectations.  Your south tower at the ball complex was built around 1999 and has held up very well.  I feel if you are blasting the paint off you need to do it right.  The paint lasts longer here because of your weather.  Viking uses a Trello system to track work and quality control on projects.  Our quality assurance recommends no sub-contractors will work on project, project monitoring is completed by Viking with a report of work performed and inspection of site superintendent at all times to monitor projects.  Viking follows all safety protocols and have a licensed engineer on staff that knows water tanks.  There are additional needs for the towers, but we feel these are current priority.  When spread out cost and work over time, the priority is power plant tank roof and the work that needs done at that site.  Mayor Thompson stated, we cannot argue it all needs addressed.  Rick stated, we try to be professional in work we represent.  Mayor Thompson asked, do you have breakdown of costs?  Rick stated, it depends how you lay the project out, but total will be about $725,000 overall.  You have to consider that costs will continue to escalate as you delay things.  Kent stated, these projects are not wishes, but necessary.  We did not include everything but wanted to come with a workable project.  Neal stated, if we lose a tank we are in trouble because rely on all of them in the summer.  Kent stated, in the budget we dedicate $60,000 to $80,000 a year for tank maintenance.  There is a new set of grant money available for water projects and many will apply for the money.  We hope if we apply for priority items as a portion of the project, it would help feel a gap.  Our tanks are operating but have to maintain so they will operate next 50 years.  We are trying to put best project together to address our needs.  A grant would help, but may not be awarded.  If the grant is not an option we will have to discuss borrowing money and pay over time or dedicate more budget money to towers, which is only one part of the water system.  We have to address the entire system to ensure public has clean water.  Right now we feel this is a good project to approach.  If grant does not get awarded, staff needs direction to pursue other options to acquire additional resources.  We cannot keep addressing these projects and not address rates.  If commission agrees on project size we will start working with vendor to set up a contract for project.  Mayor Thompson asked, on the power plant tank you have repairs and painting, do you know what costs of the two projects are?  Rick stated, repairs are around $70,000, the exterior work and containment will be around $325,000 to $350,000 while the interior is around $100,000.  It is more efficient to do both interior and exterior work at once, but it could be done separately.  It is just costly to bring equipment back.  Commissioner Showalter asked, do any other communities do anything out of the box on lead based paint?  Rick stated, many get bonds, some even from local banks.  There are pros and cons to grants.  The grant Kent is discussing has a lot of people talking.  I hope they spread it out because a lot of people have needs.  There are requirements included in the grant.  Mayor Thompson stated, I would like to see us address through the budget if we could see what that increase in budget would be.  I prefer to do project without a bond.  I recommend we apply for the grant and whatever assistance we can get, but I would like to pay annually from the budget. 
  2. Water Fund Grant Application –Discussed above with Tower Maintenance Proposal.   
  3. Trailer Exception Request – Kent stated, Sect 16-211 in the code addresses parking on city streets with unattached trailers.  The Sheriff and Under Sheriff asked to use a trailer to show citizens whether they are speeding.  The code presented is the problem with the request.  We have a police department that checks traffic on a regular basis and make numerous traffic stops daily.  I believe the Sherriff’s concern were streets adjacent to schools and consideration from people who call on speed at various locations throughout the city.   The city police responds to requests on speeding violations and address traffic issues.  I discussed request with Jake and Jason and there is obviously some other parameters I urge commission to think about.  Vice-Mayor Howard stated, I would like to know if the Sheriff will share information on it with city police.  Kent stated, that was not indicated at the time, but we can inquire.  Mayor Thompson stated, I question the need to move a trailer around town.  I feel school zones are well enforced.  I understand there are times people drive faster but it is addressed.   I do not see the need for it in the community.  Commissioner Showalter stated, if we approve a variation to ordinance for law enforcement, we will have other groups asking for an exemption from the code.  If we do something like this I would rather have case by case basis with a permit.  I do not feel we should have a law enforcement exemption.  Mayor Thompson stated, I agree it will open the door for other requests.  Ordinances should blanket the community as a whole.  Commissioner Redlin stated, I do not see the need and feel there are other options.  Changing the ordinance is not the right precedent to set.  Commissioner Showalter stated, if the sheriff wants to purchase the trailer he can, he just needs to follow current ordinance.  We are not changing his ability to do it, he just has to follow the ordinance.  Mayor Thompson stated, appears the consensus of the Commission is not to discuss this issue any further.
  4. Commissioner Showalter asked, will the shooting range be public access.  Zekke stated, I do not plan on it as a business, maybe a donation.  Mayor Thompson stated, there have been other people inquire about the property out there.  I feel we need to look at issue and follow a plan.  Kent stated, I can lay out the steps to de-annex property for commission. 


  1. City Manager – 1.  Manager memo is in the packet.  2. Police monthly activity report is in the packet.  3.  I have contacted Kenton and the school district to have snowplow naming contest.   May include both loaders and plows for a fun activity.  4.  EBH sent out invitation for bids on Caldwell Cost Share and Industrial Park Projects.  He got approval from KDOT on cost share so sent out request for January receipt and award in February to schedule project during construction season.  5.  City Holiday party is scheduled for Saturday January 6, 2024 at golf course.  6.  We talked about scheduling a joint meeting with the Planning Commission for the Community Matters discussion.  They are producing the executive summary to present next meeting on January 2, 2024.  Since holiday is January 1st, our meeting is rescheduled for the 2nd.  The planning commission will have summary presented to them at their meeting January 9th.  Would January 29th or 30th work for joint meeting?  Consensus of commission is to schedule joint meeting on 29th7.  We had a major issue on water system last week that the water crew addressed.  8.  Danny had requests for an additional pickle ball court at Chambers Park.  There is interest from the community and he is going to try to get one in.  9.  We had a request from individuals that purchased property at tax sale with demolition costs assessed.  They were not aware of the costs and have requested a waiver.  I asked them to make a request to the commission to make decision.  They indicated they would not have bought property if were aware of the cost.  Hard for staff to understand that we bore the costs for the projects and the community has to take on cost.  Mayor Thompson asked, was it an oversight or timing issue that it was not on tax sale docket?  Kent stated, the costs were sent to county on time, but did not get transferred to tax sale documents. 
  2. City Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Howard – 1.  Merry Christmas to everyone.

Commissioner Showalter – 1.  I was approached by members on east side of town that street department did a good job getting snow cleared from streets.  2.  Merry Christmas to City employees.

Commissioner Myers – 1.  Absent, No Report.

Commissioner Redlin – 1.  Merry Christmas to everyone, and safe travels. 

  • Mayor Thompson1.  Merry Christmas to everyone.


  1. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Under the Authority of KSA 75-4319 (b) (1) for personnel matters of non-elected personnel – Mayor Thompson made a motion at 6:29 p.m. to recess into executive session under authority of K.S.A.75-4319 (b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel not to exceed twenty minutes.   I request City Commission and City Manager be present.  Commissioner Redlin seconded the motion.  MOTION carried by a VOTE of 4-0.  Meeting resumed at 6:49 p.m.  Mayor Thompson made a second motion at 6:50 p.m. to recess into executive session under authority of K.S.A.75-4319 (b) (1) to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel not to exceed fifteen minutes.   I request City Commission and City Manager be present.  Commissioner Showalter seconded the motion.  MOTION carried by a VOTE of 4-0.  Meeting resumed at 7:05 p.m.  

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION BY Commissioner Redlin seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for January 2, 2024, due to holiday on January 1, 2024.


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk