April 01, 2013
The Governing Body of the City of Pratt met in Regular Session in the Commission Room located in City Hall.
Bill Hlavachick, Mayor
Jeff Taylor, Commissioner
Gary Skaggs, Commissioner
Karen Detwiler, Commissioner
Luke Kumberg, Commissioner
Dave Howard, City Manager
LuAnn Kramer, City Clerk
Ken Van Blaricum, City Attorney
Diana Garten, Finance Director
Russell Rambat, Public Works Director
Gary Myers, Chief of Police
Brad Blankenship, Building Inspector
Kelly Hemphill, Dir. of Electric Utilities
Bruce Pinkall, Recreation Director
CALL TO ORDER:
The regular meeting was called to order by Mayor Hlavachick. The Mayor instructed the Clerk to note that all Commissioners were present.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Commissioner Taylor led the staff and audience in the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner Kumberg made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 18, 2013 regular Commission meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Skaggs and carried unanimously.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF A DISC GOLF TOURNAMENT IN MAY DENNIS PARK ON MAY 11TH AT 10:00 A.M.:
Mr. Michael Nall requested the Commission’s approval for a disc golf tournament to be held in May Dennis Park on May 11th. Mr. Nall stated that this would be a fund raiser for the Sacred Heart Youth Group. Mr. Nall commented that this was one of the better courses in Kansas and should bring a large crowd. Commissioner Taylor questioned if the tournament would only be in May Dennis Park. Mr. Nall stated that it would and they hoped to host another one in September. Commissioner Taylor commented that this was a great thing for the community and questioned how long it would last. Mr. Nall stated that they would have registration at 9:00 a.m., start playing at 10:00 a.m. and should be done by 4:00 p.m.
Commissioner Detwiler made a motion to allow the Disc Golf Tournament on May 11th to start at 10:00 a.m. in May Dennis Park and to include the alternate date of May 18th in case of inclement weather. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg and carried unanimously.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF RE-APPOINTMENTS TO THE PRATT AIRPORT AUTHORITY BOARD:
City Manager Dave Howard stated that the Airport Authority Board terms of Mr. Keith Sexson and Mr. Bob Blasi were going to expire at the end of the month and the board recommends that they both be reappointed. Commissioner Taylor made a motion to approve the reappointments of Mr. Keith Sexson and Mr. Bob Blasi to another three year term on the Pratt Airport Authority Board. Commissioner Skaggs seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF RE-APPOINTMENTS TO THE BUILDING BOARD:
Building Inspector Brad Blankenship stated that Mr. Gary Schmidt should have been reappointed to the Building Board last year, but was missed and Mr. Brian Gordon and Mr. Dan Shumway’s appointments were expiring at the end of April. Mr. Blankenship informed the Commission that they were all willing to serve an additional term.
Mr. Blankenship requested that the Commission allow the appointments to be staggered; therefore, Mr. Schmidt’s term would include last year as his first year of his term. Mr. Blankenship added that Mr. Gordon and Mr. Shumway were both very helpful on the Board. A motion by Commissioner Skaggs to approve the reappointments of Mr. Gary Schmidt, Mr. Brian Gordon and Mr. Dan Shumway to the recommended three year terms on the Building Board was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg. The motion and second passed unanimously.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL FOR THE SELL OF A 1966 CESSNA AIRCRAFT:
Police Chief Gary Myers explained to the Commission that the police department had seized a 1966 Cessna 310K airplane in December 2010 that had been trafficking cocaine. Chief Myers stated that the Police Department was awarded possession after the court proceedings in April 2011 and the DEA having no interest in keeping it. Chief Myers commented that the plane had cost about $5,500 in storage fees at the airport since the Police Department had been awarded possession. Chief Myers explained that the plane had flying status when it was seized, but had no current paperwork and was illegal. Chief Myers added that he had visited with Mr. Randy Huitt and he had suggested selling it for scrap since it would take thousands of dollars to bring it into compliance.
Chief Myers stated that Detective Jeff Ward had met with a prospective buyer that was interested in rebuilding the plane and having it flight worthy. Chief Myers added that this person was willing to pay $15,000 for the plane the way it sits now. Chief Myers stated that he was requesting the Commission allow the sale of the plane without the requirements of auction or sealed bids. Chief Myers stated that they would proceed with a meeting with the buyer if the request was granted. Chief Myers stated that Assistant County Attorney Gaten Wood was involved and they wanted to make sure that there was an understanding that there was no title. Commissioner Detwiler questioned if we had advertised the plane at all. Chief Myers stated that they had not, but Mr. Huitt had informed them that they would have to advertise it as salvage. Commissioner Taylor questioned what price it would bring if it was salvage. Commissioner Detwiler stated that it would be more than $15,000. Chief Myers stated that the plane was flying when it came in, but he was not sure about the mechanics and engine and the cabin was not in good shape. Chief Myers explained that smugglers transport cocaine in these types of aircraft so that they were not out much money if they were seized. Chief Myers commented that no one was going to look at the plane for free and he had asked Mr. Huitt to look into that about a year ago and he had not gotten back to him.
Commissioner Skaggs suggested that we goggle it and see what we could find out. Commissioner Detwiler stated that we should advertise it for sell as is, telling them what it is and we still had the right to reject any and all bids. Commissioner Kumberg commented that you have to know how to advertise it and should be careful. Mayor Hlavachick stated that the plane came to us free and we were in debt now $5,500 and was costing us every day. Finance Director Diana Garten informed the Commission that it cost $209 per month for storage. Commissioner Detwiler questioned why it was housed when City vehicles were not. Commissioner Taylor stated that the wind would tear the wings off. Chief Myers added that there was no space available at the airport for an unprotected plane. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if the plane was all they got. Mr. Howard commented that they also got a lot of cocaine. Chief Myers stated that any money they would have gotten would have been put in the forfeiture fund.
Mr. Howard stated that he had suggested putting the sell on the agenda so that it could be talked out. Mr. Howard added that Detective Ward had stated that the plane would have been worth about $50,000 if it were certified and legal. Mr. Howard explained that you do not know what all could be going on with a drug plane. Chief Myers stated that the prospective buyer was from a well-to-do family out of Wichita and owns an aircraft school and this fits his bill perfect. Chief Myers added that he (the potential buyer) felt that this was a reasonable amount for this plane and understood that he would have to put thousands of dollars into it. Commissioner Detwiler pointed out the paragraph in Chief Myers’ letter concerning the buyer offering $15,000 as is and free of warranties on the condition that a mechanic he supplies determines that the motor is repairable. Commissioner Detwiler stated that we were not selling it as is with that condition on here. Commissioner Kumberg commented that he had friends who were commercial pilots in Salina and he thought that they would not transport the plane on a truck, but would get it flyable to get to where they need to go. Commissioner Detwiler stated that that was still not taking it as is.
Chief Myers stated that they were still in negotiations and he was only asking for permission to move forward with those negotiations and to have the Commission waive the ordinance bid requirements. City Attorney Ken Van Blaricum commented that we could advertise on Craig’s List or the Wichita Eagle, but then you have more City staff time involved in checking it out and getting it done. Mr. Van Blaricum added that we might get more out of the plane, but we would spend a lot more time researching it. Mayor Hlavachick stated that this was an encumbrance and we should take the money and run. Commissioner Detwiler stated that she agreed with that, but she would like to see it on the condition that a mechanic we supply determines the motor is repairable, because they could be moved on a truck or trailer if you take the wings off. Chief Myers stated that the plane was not legally registered and did not have the proper FAA paperwork and it was his understanding that the individual was going to truck it out. Commissioner Detwiler questioned if it had to be determined runnable if they were going to truck it out. Chief Myers stated that the engines were running when it was seized, but it had not been started since then because we do not have any insurance on it. Chief Myers added that insurance would have been an added expense and Mr. Huitt had removed the battery so no one could come in and attempt to start it. Commissioner Detwiler questioned if this individual was going to supply and pay for the mechanic or if the City was. Chief Myers stated that it was his understanding that the offer was with no warranties. Chief Myers stated that the individual wanting to purchase the plane had come to look at it and now he wants to bring out a mechanic to look at it before anything is finalized. Chief Myers added that any expense for inspection would be his responsibility.
Commissioner Taylor made a motion that we should sell the plane for $15,000, with the understanding that the individual foots the expense of the mechanic and to get it started. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg. Commissioner Taylor explained that his thinking was that, if Mr. Huitt was not interested in it, there was probably a small audience of people that would want to do this. Commissioner Taylor added that we continue to pay for it every day. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that Chief Myers had made a good point earlier when he explained that the plane could have been forfeited by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s office and they could have kept the money, but it was more trouble and expense to them to keep it. After no more discussion, the motion and second to sell the 1966 Cessna 310K for $15,000 passed unanimously.
DISCUSSION AND UPDATE ON WELL AT THE AIRPORT:
City Manager Howard reminded the Commission that he had informed them a couple of months ago about tearing down the building, capping the well and moving the water rights to the other well at the airport. Mr. Howard explained that that process had been approved; therefore, we could pump twenty-two acre feet on that well, which takes care of any problems of over-pumping.
Mr. Howard stated that the well still in use was high in nitrates, but it was a transient site since there were no residential properties using it. Mr. Howard commented that the conditions were that we had to plug the well and Water Superintendent Kelvin Clay was working on the cost of that. Mayor Hlavachick questioned if the well would be filled with concrete. Mr. Howard stated that it would be, but they would get someone to do that.
Mr. Howard commented that the only action needed from the Commission would be their permission to plug that water well so that it would not exist anymore. Mayor Hlavachick questioned the Commission and everyone was in agreement to plug the water well at the Airport.
• Items stolen and destroyed:
Mr. Luca Matei, owner of Country Club Apartments, commented that he had been gone for twelve days and he came back to the laundry room being broken into and two washers being destroyed and this happened many times over the years. Mr. Matei stated that the point was that none of the stolen items were recovered even when he had given the police addresses of where the air conditioner and air compressor were. Mr. Matei stated that he had called the police today and he was told to raise the rent for better tenants, but people get on the edge because prices were high and he wanted to take care of them some way. Mr. Matei commented that he was also told to become a policeman if he wanted a copy of the police report.
Mr. Matei stated that the City controls the institutions and police work for everybody, so he proposed that they help them. Mr. Matei added that an $80 processing fee was outrageous and a way for the government to make money.
• Turn lanes on Hwy. 54:
Mr. Howard stated that there had been a meeting with KDOT representatives concerning the turn lanes on 54 Highway. Mr. Howard explained that there would be a private engineer working for us at KDOT’s expense. Mr. Howard commented that there would be a public hearing or they would come before the Commission when they get a draft of what they want to do.
• Miss Kansas activities:
Mr. Rambat stated that the City had met with the Miss Kansas Organizer and discussed what role the City would have during that week.
• WWTP Project:
Mr. Rambat commented that the wastewater treatment plant project should get started next Monday, April 8th.
• Pool Project:
Mr. Rambat explained that the contractors would be moving in and doing some sandblasting on the pool along with patching and painting.
• Car Wash update:
Mr. Blankenship stated that he had met with the car wash owner and they should be open the first or second week of May, weather permitting pouring of concrete.
• Arrowhead West:
Mr. Blankenship commented that Arrowhead West had poured concrete and they were waiting for the metal building to go up.
• Trinity Evangelical Church:
Mr. Blankenship stated that Jorns Construction had set a pole for temporary electric at Trinity Evangelical Church and should start digging footings pretty quick.
• Building evaluations:
Mr. Blankenship shared new building evaluations for the last three years with the Commission. Mr. Blankenship explained that these figures were for evaluations of what they cost and not the cost of the permits.
• 2011 $1,656,806
• 2012 $2,649,300
• March 2013 (1 month) $9,285,902
• 2013 $9,379,000
Mr. Blankenship stated that this year was quite a jump and those figures did not include the hospital project. Mayor Hlavachick questioned if we had heard anything about the apartment complex. Mr. Howard stated that he had talked to Mr. Mooney and it was a waiting game, but he had applied for the housing tax credit, so it was in the hands of the State.
• Gas Leak:
Mr. Hemphill stated that there had been an accident that caused a gas leak last week at Stanion Wholesale Electric and the line gang had reacted quickly and as they should.
• Hospital Transformers:
Mr. Hemphill informed the Commission that the transformers for the hospital had been ordered from Stanion Wholesale Electric.
• Question concerning leak:
Commissioner Skaggs questioned how the electric department was involved with a gas leak. Mr. Hemphill explained that the emergency preparedness people had asked that the power be shut off. Mr. Hemphill stated that they had to shut off the entire east side of Main Street and that prevented any sparking from the transformer that was in the alley behind the building, which was where the broken gas line was.
• New addition:
Mr. Pinkall informed the Commission that his newest employee, Ms. Katherine McAllister, had given birth to a little boy on Saturday. Mr. Pinkall commented that it had been a long time since anyone had had a baby in his department.
• #7 intercoolers:
Mr. Smith stated that they had been working on #7 intercoolers and had one done and were working on the others before putting it back together.
• Sales Tax for March:
Ms. Garten informed the Commission that March sales tax shows the first quarter of 2013 up by $56,000. Commissioner Taylor questioned if that was just what the City received. Ms. Garten stated that that was correct. Commissioner Taylor stated that that would make sales in the millions of dollars.
• KMU voting delegates:
Mayor Hlavachick stated that the 2013 Annual KMU meeting was May 10th in Wichita and they were asking for the City’s voting delegates. Mayor Hlavachick commented that he would be going and he would like the Commission’s support to be the voting delegate and Mr. Howard to be the alternate. Commissioner Skaggs made that motion. Commissioner Taylor seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
• Building by Woody’s:
Commissioner Skaggs asked Mr. Blankenship if he had found out anything about the building by Woody’s. Mr. Blankenship stated that he had not, but he looked through it. Mr. Blankenship commented that it had been that way for ten years according to people that he had talked to. Commissioner Skaggs commented that it was unsightly and unsafe and a good habitat for animals. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if we knew who the owner was. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he could find out.
• Municipal Building Janitors:
Commissioner Skaggs commended the Municipal Building janitors for the outstanding job they did during the Rotary chili feed. Mr. Pinkall stated that he would pass that along and added that he had also gotten a nice letter from Ninnescah Rural Electric.
• Growth in Pratt:
Commissioner Taylor commented that it was good to hear reports on the growth in Pratt and that things were going well. Commissioner Taylor added that the country was in hard economic times, but Pratt has growth and people can see what is going on.
• Explosion by VFW:
Commissioner Detwiler questioned what the explosion was by the old VFW. Mr. Howard stated that he was not sure, but it happens occasionally. Commissioner Detwiler commented that there was a rumor that someone had blown off fingers. Chief Myers stated that the hospital had a requirement to report those types of accidents and he had not had any. Chief Myers commented that they were having individuals creating their own M-80’s and they had not been able to track them down yet. Chief Myers added that there were also soda bombs, which are explosive devices, and it was a serious offense if they get caught.
• Transformers in Lemon’s Park:
Commissioner Detwiler commented that there were two big transformers sitting between the ball diamonds in Lemon’s Park that looked like they were tipping. Mr. Pinkall stated that Line Distribution Superintendent Huber had looked at those recently. Mr. Hemphill explained that there were several options for those and they needed to see what the best option was. Mr. Hemphill added that they would take care of it.
Commissioner Taylor made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Skaggs seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
BILL D. HLAVACHICK, Mayor
LUANN KRAMER, City Clerk