June 17, 2024 Commission Minutes

June 17, 2024 Commission Minutes

June 17, 2024 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting

June 17, 2024                                                                                                                        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, Jason Erhart –Chief of Police, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Kenton Keith – Director of Streets and Facilities, Sami Windle – Museum Director, 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. 06/03/24 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances: 2024-12, 2024-12A and 2024-P12

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


  1. Ordinance 1770: Amend text Chapter 19 Section 452 of City Code – Kent stated, ordinance amends text for “R-1”.  It has been presented to Planning Commission and the public hearing was held last week and recommend ordinance to City Commission.  Ordinance was reviewed in depth by Planning Commission.  Commissioner Showalter asked, was there any public comment or concern at the hearing?  Kent stated, no comments were received.  Mayor Thompson asked, can we have an overview of major changes?  Zach stated, lot size was reduced to 7,000 square feet.  Side yard set backs are based on the ladder rule.  Conditional and permitted uses are in use table but people do not go there so included in zoning district.  Commissioner Showalter asked, all changes were recommended by CMI?  Zach stated, yes.  Mayor Thompson asked, the changes we were made aware of previously?  Kent stated, this also outlines uniform structure design codes.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Redlin to approve Ordinance 1770: Amend text for Chapter 19 Section 452 of City Code seconded by Commissioner Myers.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
  2. Ordinance 1774: Amend Text Chapter 19 Section 453 – Zach stated, this ordinance is a repeat of Ordinance 1770 for “R-2” Districts.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve Ordinance 1774: Amend Text Chapter 19 Section 453 seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
  3. Ordinance 1775: Amend Text for C-2 to D-MU – Kent stated, ordinance amends text “C-2” Central Business District to be renamed “D-MU” Downtown Mixed Use District.  Zach stated, the reason is if someone new comes to town they can develop downtown.  ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Howard to approve Ordinance 1775: Amend Text for C-2 to D-MU seconded by Commissioner Myers.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
  4. Ordinance 1776: Adopting and Amending Section 19-202 of City Code – Kent stated, staff has a couple questions on definitions in ordinance and would like to get clarification from Barbara Cole at CMI.  We would like to table discussion until next meeting.  ON A MOTION by Mayor Thompson to table Ordinance 1776: Adopting and Amending Section 19-202 of City Code until the next commission meeting seconded by Commissioner Showalter.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
  5. Ord 1777: Rezone 0000 Grand Avenue (southwest corner of 16th Street/Caldwell Avenue) from R-1 to C-1 – Zach stated, the proposal is to change zoning of property to C-1 to build storage units. That would only leave a few lots in middle as residential property.  Kent stated, it is basically three undeveloped lots that are currently used by neighboring property owners with permission.  We had a call the week leading up to hearing indicating they were a neighbor and do not want storage units in area.  Individual did not leave name, appear at hearing or submit anything in writing.  Zach stated, there are requirements for commercial buffers when abut to residential property, like fences, trees, etc.  Kent stated, this property is five lots from the corner.  Mayor Thompson stated, that half lot is undeveloped or property where houses were removed.  We have a lot of storage units in town but if they are developing property, I am not opposed.  Commissioner Showalter asked, did they inform you what type of units they are building?  Zach stated, it will be two buildings with a section for bays to store RV’s and boats.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I appreciate all the improvements they have made in town.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Showalter to approve Ordinance 1777: Rezone 0000 Grand Avenue (southwest corner of 16th Street/Caldwell Avenue) from R-1 to C-1 seconded by Vice-Mayor Howard.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.


  1. Pad mount Quotes – Dustin stated, this request is to replace transformer at old OYO Hotel on north side of building.  It is not safe.  Kent stated, OYO Hotel is currently closed so Dustin sees this as an opportunity to complete the project.  Dustin stated, I sent out three bids.  Quotes received were from Midwest Electric Transformer Services in the amount of $29,970 and Sunbelt Solomon in the amount of $32,640.  We did not receive a bid from Emerald.  We recommend the bid from Midwest Electric Transformer Services which is low bid and less lead time.  This will make property safer.  Kent stated, Dustin indicated the replacement has been needed for some time but not easy to do when business was in operation.  While it is closed we can make it a safer operation.  Commissioner Showalter asked, does transformer only supply OYO?  Dustin stated, it feeds the hotel and any business inside.  Commissioner Showalter asked, if business does not reopen and nothing is in building, can we use transformer?  Dustin stated, it is a basic transformer.  I would take it back to store on our dock until it is needed elsewhere.  It is similar to transformer at 24/7.    ON A MOTION by Commissioner Redlin to approve the bid from Midwest Electric Transformer Services in the amount of $29,970 seconded by Commissioner Myers.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0. 


  1. Date for Joint Meeting with County Commission – Kent stated, the County Commissioners have requested a joint meeting to discuss the Wolak Building and different operations.  Possible available dates are July 8th, 22nd or 29th.  Consensus of commission is that either of the dates will work.  Mayor Thompson stated, they want to discuss taking over ownership of building.  Before the meeting can we get the cost we put into building since ownership and current contract with County.  Kent stated, all current operations for building are scheduled through the county.  We will get remaining information.   
  2. Tree Farm Recommendation – Commissioner Showalter stated, at Strategic Doing meeting people discussed projects they want in community and how to be a part of bringing idea to fruition.  The idea of a tree farm was discussed.  We need a place to grow trees then transplant elsewhere.  We discussed the area by west school where community garden used to be.  We are currently looking for ways to fund project.  People were excited about the idea.  This is City property so feel commission is a good place to start.  We want to make sure project does not become another project on Danny’s plate but see if a community group will take over project.  There were a lot of great ideas.  Mayor Thompson stated, I feel it is a great idea.  I was going to think whether we have another location that would be better but feel this location is a good idea.  We need to have the trees to transplant to other locations such as the cemetery, walking trail, parks, etc.  Danny stated, reason I think this is good location is soil is fertile and we have a water system at location.  We could plant some bundles then after a few years put trees in 5-gallon container or burlap sack before they grow so big we need a tree spade to transplant.  City is always needing trees.  If another location becomes available or we want to sell this property, we can transplant the trees to a new lot.  We are in early stages of project.  Commissioner Showalter stated, we want to make sure property is available and commission thoughts about location.  Consensus of commission is to pursue project at this location.  
  3. 2025 Budget: Initial presentation of General Fund – Kent stated, this budget document is a work in progress, not a final recommendation for publication.  This only begins the budget conversation because there will be many challenges.  Objective is to have a balanced budget, this document is not yet balanced, but a continued work in progress.  We want to make sure City has secure reserves, invests in staff and facilities and make capital investments to diversify revenue base.  This is how we were able to lock in base grant project.  Conditions locally are steady but there is a lot of uncertainty.  Sales tax remains steady.  National inflation effects do not exist in equipment we purchase.  It is much higher than national level.  There is a small increase in estimated property valuation.  RNR this year is 49.374.  The estimate that each mill will generate is $ 42,471.99.  They will not set final levies until late in year.  In November 2023 final levy was $41,808.  Appears estimate is a small increase, and for 50 mills it is about $30,000.  If want to meet RNR we will have to cut an additional $30,000 from budget. 

General Fund is the main fund for the City.  We get revenue from property tax, sales tax and several different fees.  General Fund is made up of a number of departments.  I refer to revenues as a three legged stool.  First leg is property tax, which we show at $987,219 or 27% of fund.  Sales tax is 30% but when remove school pass through sales tax, it is closer to 20%.  Of the sales tax rate, the City gets very little as 6.5% is state, 2.25 % is county with 1% of that amount being split between city and county and .25 % is pass through to school.  We use fund transfers from utilities to help fund General Fund because we provide services for the utilities.  The transfer amount is about 21%.  There are a number of other user fees that make up 16.5% of budget.  How budget currently stands, we will use remaining cash in General Fund to help fund 2025.  When you review the totals for General Fund, the cash balance is being spent down every year to help keep property taxes low.  We have to deal with what we have and determine what portion we are going to use to help balance budget.  The audit always reviews the number of days the city can fund services with no additional money.  When the carry over balance is this low, it will not last long. 

Revenue presented in document is a 1.8% decrease with proposed expenditures at $4,038,459 for 2025.  It is happening everywhere but we need to determine how we plan to keep operations going.  Property valuations increased in 2023 and estimated fairly flat for this year.  Overall we need to reduce expenditures in General Fund another $180,000. 

In Administration,personnel services are budgeted at step increases.  Insurance costs have increased last couple year.  There is a slight increase in professional services, but majority is insurance.  We removed dispatch remodel payback and the car to CIRF.  The transfer to GIRF, which is our grant match was reduced. 

In the police budget, personnel costs increased for the additional officer in 2024 which will carry over to 2025.  This will be the same staffing as twelve years ago.  Contractual obligations increased with digiticket software because of current problems with ticketing software.  Annually digiticket is cheaper but more expensive to setup.  There was an increase in the telephone with cell phone and hot spot data connections to vehicles.  Vehicle maintenance caused a slight increase in commodities, but basically at same level.  Capital outlay is adjusted for body and dash cam payment and the taser program.  We did take out or reduce a number of items from first request for transfers to CIRF and MERF.  The flock system was removed from MERF and a number of other items to get amount to $37,000.  Jason requested an additional line item in the fund for duty equipment rather than track in operating supplies.  The budget total is $813,698 from $771,860 last year, but the major increase is digiticket.  Administration and police are two of the three largest department budgets in General Fund.

The increase in municipal court is in personnel for retirement expense.  Our current court clerk/judge plans to retire in 2025.  We have reduced the amount for special prosecutors to help reduce gap.  We are required to maintain an amount for prisoner care and indigent defense.  Remaining budget is standard. 

The animal control budget fulfills animal control contract. 

The increase in the van budget is for wages and phone to communicate with van.  Beyond that it is basically funding the program.  At Strategic Doing meeting they requested additional hours of operation to travel outside city limits or for local events.  State has requirements on operation of van and they will take grant away if do not follow policy.  It is busier now more than ever. 

Fire budget is a contractual agreement.  Chief James outlined in the summary we will not be able to stay at this level indefinitely.  They did not ask for increase in this budget, but will in future for equipment. 

In building inspection, personnel is step increase and slight increase in professional services.  At Strategic Doing meeting I was asked how many buildings we plan to address.  If we have to address a commercial structure like a motel, this is not enough money.  A few years ago the city had to address a structure in stages. 

Street and alley is the last of the three large departments in the General Fund.  It is the normal step increase in personnel.  Contractual services remain steady with bulk fuel funded at same level.  Minimal change in commodities to keep streets and alleys in good order.  The increase in capital outlay is basically to cover increase price in concrete.  The current street project concrete is $178 per yard.  Kenton received notice some concrete prices are over $200 per yard.  Transfers to CIRF and MERF have been reduced for many projects from initial request.  MERF was reduced from original request but he has a lot of big equipment that come with a large cost.  Commissioner Myers asked, poly patch actually reduced in price?  Kenton stated, yes it has.

 Airport is small budget amount to pay property taxes for T hangars and other buildings we own for profit.  Equipment maintenance increased to fund replacement parts for airport equipment.   This budget is lower budget than last year.  

There is not much change in parks.  We reduced mower replacement from $11,000 to $9,000. 

Museum has normal increase in personnel and we added money for the roof and new alarm system transfers to MERF/CIRF. 

Cemetery budget is our contractual obligation without much change.  Transfer for the land purchase is shown in the Cemetery Improvement fund. 

Economic Development fund remains relatively stable with SCCD obligation.  SCCD got a grant to change restrooms at Welcome Center and it is working out well. 

Recreation fund is our obligation to GAC for operation of recreation activities.  Budget remains relatively stable. 

Water Park is the pool which does not make money, but we have obligations to operate.  Large increase at pool is insurance.  The amount set aside for pool improvements helps maintain pool but we reduced from $10,000 to $8,000.  There are long term concerns with the mechanical equipment and slides for the pool system with.  There are ten heaters at pool.  This year one of them had to have major maintenance.  Commissioner Showalter asked, what is hourly pay for lifeguards, does it compare to surrounding communities?  They do an important job.  Kent stated, the rate is low then it increases every year with experience.  Commissioner Showalter stated, I would like to see this be a place to increase. 

That concludes General Fund.   Mayor Thompson asked, what is budget increase in personnel, is it the step or does it also include a percent?  Kent stated, the step and 3% increase.  Mayor Thompson stated, this is a lot of information and it is obvious there is a lot of time and attention to budget details. 

The Airport Fund is used for grant matches.  They are still working through numerous projects.  They have the rest of PAPI on RW 5/23 and pavement preservation grant is scheduled fall 2024.  We have two pieces of equipment to be delivered for SRE and then the building to house equipment.  We had small amount levied for 2025 but we moved it to General Fund. 

In the Self Insurance, funds are received from other departments to pay stop loss.  This keeps a healthy fund so we have to continue funding.  This is for insurance costs up to stop loss limit.  Blue Cross pays costs that occur above our stop loss amount. 

Employee Benefits proposal is to keep mill rate at same level.  As shown, this fund is using cash balance and budget does not balance at this time.  Again this is a work in progress.  The remittance to KPERS is up to 10.7% in 2025, from 9.26% in 2024.  The State plan was to increase over a number of years. 

Bond and Interest is our bond obligations.  In proposal, we kept at same mill rate and show a shortfall in budget.  Cash basis guarantee is an amount used if some property taxes become delinquent, we have money for pay bond payment. 

Library funds have a resolution showing a limit of 6.75 mills.  We currently provide less.  With same mill rate and request from the library board, the budgets are not balanced. 

In summary, staff remains lean with no additional personnel.  Our contractual obligations are met and the library is asking for a small increase.  We need to strengthen revenues soon or will have to reduce services.  There is $182,000 gap in General Fund alone.  This does not include other property tax funds.  This proposal is to get budget back to same rate as last year.  If commission wants to meet RNR rate, we will have to reduce budget an additional $30,000.  We need to have document to County Clerk by July 20th stating whether or not we will hold an RNR hearing.   Staff will come up with a suggested list of cuts but we need a goal from commission and suggestions for reductions.  RNR is not a big issue this year, but City is operating on slim margin. We need to budget without using up cash balance.  When revenues do not come in, it hurts.  This does not prevent commission from adding priority items to budget.  At the next meeting we will discuss utility fees and utility funds.  Mayor Thompson asked, you stated we need to strengthen revenue sources; do you have any ideas?  We have discussed utility fees in the past.  Kent stated, we have required updated information from KMEA on electric and water rates but have not received information yet.  Mayor Thompson stated, we appreciate the work that goes into budget.  If anyone has ideas please give them to Kent. 


  1. City Manager – 1.  Manager memo is in the packet.  2. Police monthly activity report is in the packet.  3.  We have done additional maintenance on Well #5 with Western Sprinkler.  Neal stated, filters at treatment plant were plugged with sand and we noticed well #5 was pumping sand.  They did the maintenance on the submersible pump and have agreed de-sanders will fix the problem.  Mayor Thompson asked, is the well pumping more sand a concern?  Neal stated, I am concerned about it long term.  The de-sander will keep sand out of the plant but not out of the well.  Commissioner Showalter asked, do we know why this is happening?  Neal stated, uncertain and will not know unless we pull well which is an expensive process.  Kent stated, the additional work by Wester Sprinkler is around $11,000 and will help operation.   Neal stated, with the weather right now we are pumping a lot of water.  Commissioner Showalter asked, do we need to consider restrictions?  Kent stated, we are close to enforcing simple restrictions like not watering during day.  4.  Kenton stated, we are ready to pour 170 yards of concrete in morning which will be half the street.  We plan to pour other half next week.  Commissioner Showalter asked, is that your biggest pour?  Kenton stated, yes and we appreciate assistance from Line Crew and Parks Department.  Kent stated, they have done a lot of prep work.  Kenton stated, the street has to cure for a week then seal, make joint cuts and paint lines while road is still closed.  Project is moving along well right now.  5.  Zach stated, emergency demolition at 320 W. 3rd Street is complete.  6.  Removal of demolition debris at 122 W 14th Street is not complete.  I have had no contact with owner.  They worked two days on property since last meeting.  Mayor Thompson stated, I feel it is in our best interest to move ahead on bid process to remove debris.  Zach stated, we held public hearing for demolition; just need to remove debris.  Mayor Thompson stated, we need to continue moving forward.   7.  The exterior nuisance at 1526 Caldwell is cleaned up.  8.  Sami stated, I am taking the mammoth husk to Lawrence to be restored and stabilized.  This is possible by a grant from SCCF.  9.  Dustin stated, power outage today was phase to ground situation.  Three breakers were tripped, we isolated area and found voltage regulator in north sub-station we put in in 2014 went out and caused outage.  We have been in contact with Sunbelt Solomon and KMEA Midstates to work on equipment and get replacement regulator.  We were out of power longer than would like.  Mayor Thompson stated, we appreciate the work your crew does getting electricity restored.     
  2. City Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Howard – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Showalter – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Myers – 1.  No Report 

Commissioner Redlin – 1.  No Report 

  • Mayor Thompson1.  No Report 
  • \

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION BY Commissioner Showalter seconded by Commissioner Myers.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for July 1, 2024. 


ATTEST:                                                                               Aaron Thompson, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk