February 02, 2015
The Governing Body of the City of Pratt met in Regular session in the Commission Room located in City Hall.
Jeff Taylor MayorBill Hlavachick Commissioner
Gary Skaggs Commissioner
Lucus Kumberg Commissioner
Doug Meyer Commissioner
Dave Howard City ManagerLuAnn Kramer City Clerk
Ken Van Blaricum City Attorney
Diana Garten Finance Director
Gary Myers Police Chief
Russell Rambat Public Works Director
Brad Blankenship Building Inspector
Bruce Pinkall Recreation Director
CALL TO ORDER:
The regular meeting was called to order by Mayor Taylor. The Mayor instructed the Clerk to note that all Commissioners were present.
Mayor Taylor reminded the audience and staff that this meeting was being recorded and/or taped.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Mayor Taylor led the staff and audience in the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 19, 2015 regular Commission meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Skaggs and passed unanimously.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF THE USE OF LEMON PARK FOR THE 3RD ANNUAL PAHS COLOR FUN RUN ON SATURDAY, MAY 16TH AT 10:30 A.M.:
Ms. Pam Howell informed the Commission that the Pratt Area Humane Society would be having another color run on May 16th. Ms. Howell stated that they had had the event at the lake last year, but they liked Lemon Park better. Ms. Howell commented that there had been a little problem with paint being used on the streets, but they would be using chalk this time. Commissioner Hlavachick questioned if this would be their third year. Ms. Howell stated that it would be and they had raised $5,000 last year.
After some discussion on the route, Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to approve the request from PAHS to hold their 3rd annual Color Fun Run in Lemon Park on May 16th at 10:30 a.m. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg and carried unanimously.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF APPOINTMENTS TO THE CEMETERY BOARD:
Public Works Director Rambat stated that Ms. Rita Hitt and Mr. Tom Jones were on the Cemetery Board and their appointments were going to expire. Mr. Rambat commented that they had been contacted and both were willing to serve an additional term. Mr. Rambat added that they both were very involved. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if they were new to the board. Mr. Rambat stated that Ms. Hitt had been on the board for some time and this would be Mr. Jones’ second term. Commissioner Skaggs made a motion to reappoint Ms. Rita Hitt and Mr. Tom Jones to another term on the Cemetery Board. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Meyer and carried unanimously.
DISCUSSION ON PRATT NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY PROJECT:
City Manager Howard commented that the Armory wanted to expand their west and south parking lot Mr. Howard explained that they would be cutting down the rise in the ground and they would need about 20’ from the City. Mr. Howard added that they did not think they would need the easement, but two pine trees and one elm tree would be taken out. Commissioner Hlavachick stated that he could see a need for that, but he was concerned about all the trees they were going to remove. Mr. Howard commented that we could not do anything about them removing theirs. Commissioner Hlavachick explained that those were one hundred year old trees. Commissioner Skaggs commented that we should accommodate them if this was going to make it a more permanent facility.
Commissioner Skaggs questioned whether the area to the west was theirs. Mr. Howard stated that there was an alley there that had not been abandoned. Mr. Howard added that the lot had been plotted and a majority of the trees that would be coming out were theirs. Commissioner Meyer asked if it was going to all be paved. Mr. Howard stated that they had not decided on gravel or paving. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if we needed any fill dirt anywhere if they were going to cut that rise down. Mr. Howard commented that they would be using that in other places.
Commissioner Kumberg made a motion to grant the request from the Armory for 20’ of land from the City as described for the parking lot for the National Guard and to possibly work around the trees. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Skaggs and carried unanimously.
· Vernon Filley Art Museum:
Director of the Vernon Filley Art Museum Wes Norman stated that they were starting their legacy drive and were contacting businesses in town. Mr. Norman commented that visitors from Hutchinson had come by Saturday, because they were looking to build one also. Mr. Norman explained that art classes would be starting, so it was turning into a busy place.
Commissioner Skaggs asked if $2,500 was a minimum or if there were other levels. Mr. Norman stated that the City was at that level because of their size of business. Commissioner Hlavachick commented that he did not mind giving them $2,500; therefore, he made a motion to give the Vernon Filley Art Museum Foundation $2,500 annually. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if we give to the Historical Museum annually. Ms. Garten stated that we do not, but they occasionally come to request funds from Travel and Tourism. After no more discussion, the motion and second passed unanimously.
· Luca Matei’s comments:
Mr. Luca Matei stated that he needed support from the City and that there were issues with the police department. Mr. Matei commented that the economic situation was not better and he continued to have damage to his apartments with no support from the City. Mr. Matei stated that people intentionally do damage and he needed help to recover the cost. Mr. Matei added that he had not heard yes or no from the City the last time he had made that request.
Mayor Taylor asked Police Chief Myers what happens when the police were called after a renter of Mr. Matei’s was evicted and tears up a wall. Chief Myers stated that it would depend on the damage that had been done, but you had to be able to prove that that person did the damage intentionally. Mayor Taylor asked if the City could give Mr. Matei the address of where that tenant moved to in town. Chief Myers and City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that the City could not give out any addresses. Mayor Taylor informed Mr. Matei that there was nothing the City Commission could do.
Mayor Taylor questioned if Mr. Matei could take these claims to small claims court. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he could. Mr. Matei commented that the point was that he did not have a copy of the report of the damages. Mayor Taylor asked if Mr. Matei could get a copy of the report. Chief Myers stated that he could get a copy of the first page but not the narrative. Mr. Matei stated that he needed an address. Mayor Taylor repeated that the City would be held liable if anything would happen to that person and we were the ones that gave out that address. Mayor Taylor questioned if the court would find out where they live if the court rules in Mr. Matei’s favor. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that that was not the court’s job. Mr. Matei stated that he could not open a case without addresses and the police do not do anything if it was a big issue. Mayor Taylor stated that that was due process and you had to prove that that person was guilty. Mayor Taylor asked where Mr. Matei’s witnesses were that saw the wall be torn up and who was to say that someone else did not do the damage if the door was unlocked.
· Steam unit tested:
City Manager Howard stated that the steam unit had been tested last week and it had a few glitches, but overall it went well.
· Pit Bull Ordinance:
City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that he had been receiving several phone calls from young people who do not like the ordinance about pit bulls. Commissioner Hlavachick stated that he had gotten calls too. Commissioner Hlavachick commented that pit bulls were not that bad. Chief Myers stated that there was a certain group of people that were attracted to pit bulls, but Doberman Pinchers and German Shepherds used to be in that group also. Chief Myers commented that the concern was that the ordinance was breed specific; however, there were a lot of reports about pit bulls even attacking children of their owners. Chief Myers added that he did not think that we needed to change what we had established.
· Parrish project:
Building Inspector Blankenship informed the Commission that he had been checking on the dust situation at the Parrish Hotel and that the contractors were making a big effort to keep the dust down with water. Mr. Blankenship added that they were dropping materials down from the eighth floor. Mayor Taylor stated that he was impressed that they were doing that. Mr. Blankenship commented that he had to stop them last Tuesday because there was no water available to them. Mr. Blankenship explained that they were pulling water from the Municipal Building and that they had no choice. Mr. Blankenship stated that he told them to talk to the contractor about the water making the loads heavier.
Mr. Blankenship stated that the phone calls had not been about the dust, but about the safety of breathing it. Mr. Blankenship commented that the dust would become less as they move down. Commissioner Skaggs asked if we had had complaints from the area businesses. Mr. Blankenship stated that we had not. Mr. Blankenship explained that the City would not allow asbestos type stuff to be in the air. Commissioner Skaggs questioned how many more days they had. Mr. Blankenship stated that they do a floor a day and they were on the seventh floor Friday but did not quite get done. Mr. Howard commented that we had the misfortune of some windy days.
· Steam engine:
Mr. Ernie Smith commented that he was turning the reins over to Mr. Brian Evans since he was on an ‘as needed basis’ now. Mr. Evans stated that the steam engine project was a challenge, but everyone had done a good job.
· Crime stats:
Police Chief Myers stated that the crime stats for 2014 were as follows: 72,420 patrol miles logged, 829 citations written for traffic violations, 997 misdemeanor and traffic cases filed in Municipal Court, 8,398 calls for service (385 less than 2013), 1,417 criminal cases investigated (1,611 in 2013) and 345 accidents (219 in 2013). Chief Myers commented that the crime report for the City had declined in criminal cases and increased in certain areas, such as property crimes, counterfeiting and fraud cases. Chief Myers stated that his opinion was that this was due to the economy.
Chief Myers stated that the department had filed a total of 260 criminal cases in district court and 212 of those were filed by the City. Chief Myers continued by informing the Commission that there were 141 felony cases and 133 were by the City, 119 misdemeanor cases and 79 of those were filed by the City and 8 of the 10 felony juvenile cases were filed by the City police department. Chief Myers stated that it had been a busy year, but the total figures show that crime had decreased over the County this past year.
· Pit Bull issues:
Chief Myers stated that there had been some concerns concerning pit bulls and under the ordinance the pit bull was considered vicious. Chief Myers reminded the Commission that the ordinance reads that a dangerous animal was ‘Any animal which behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of serious injury or death to one or more person or domestic animals’ and ‘Any animal having a known disposition or propensity to attack, bite, or injure any person or animal without provocation’. Chief Myers also pointed out that the ordinance defines the pit bull as ‘Pit bull dog means any and all of the following dogs: 1. The Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dogs; 2. The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dogs; 3. The American pit bull terrier breed of dogs; 4. Any other breed commonly known as pit bull, pit bull dog, or pit bull terrier; or 5. Dogs which have the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds of dogs known as the Staffordshire bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, or the American pit bull terrier.’
Chief Myers stated that the police department does not make it a habit to destroy animals and they had been accused of looking for pit bulls, but they were not. Chief Myers commented that several animals had been taken to Skaggs Veterinary Clinic because they were aggressive or attacking. Chief Myers added that it had cost $3,750 in boarding fees for those type of animals last year. Chief Myers explained that the department had the ability to capture these animals by using a catch pole, but they also had a net gun and the equipment for a chemical capture. Chief Myers explained that, if they destroy an animal, they were attacking and had been tased; however, the officer could be bitten if they missed. Chief Myers clarified that no officer wants to use their weapon to destroy an animal.
Commissioner Skaggs questioned how many encounters they had had with pit bulls. Chief Myers stated that they had to destroy two but had captured four that were taken to Skaggs Veterinary Clinic. Mr. Howard stated that the Humane Society tries to find a rescue for the pit bull since they were not allowed in the City. Commissioner Skaggs asked if the Humane Society took vicious animals. Mr. Howard stated that they do not and they were not equipped to. Chief Myers commented that they had captured a vicious animal per the Ordinance, but the Humane Society had taken them since they were not aggressive. Chief Myers added that they take them knowing that they were not to be incorporated back into the City. Mr. Howard stated that he would rather deal with an owner rather than a parent whose child had been attacked.
· Police #’s:
Commissioner Skaggs asked how many officers Chief Myers had. Chief Myers stated that he had fourteen commissioned officers. Commissioner Skaggs questioned how many vehicles they had. Chief Myers commented that he had two primary patrol units and other older cars were the supervisor’s individual vehicles. Commissioner Skaggs asked how many miles a vehicle had before it was traded in. Chief Myers stated that it was around 100,000.
· New Dispatch equipment:
Commissioner Kumberg questioned if the new dispatch equipment had been installed. Chief Myers stated that that would start tomorrow.
· Sales tax:
Finance Director Garten stated that January sales tax was up about $8,800 over last year and that was based on November sales.
Mayor and Commission:
· Downtown Park:
Commissioner Skaggs questioned the status of the downtown park. Mr. Howard stated that the last contact he had had with the group was in December, but EBH Engineering had been working on the easements for the Parrish project. Commissioner Skaggs asked if the ball would be carried by someone else due to different ones being associated with Leadership. Commissioner Kumberg stated that there should not be any trouble seeing this to the end.
Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kumberg and carried unanimously.
________________________________JEFF A. TAYLOR, Mayor
LUANN KRAMER, City Clerk