NOVEMBER 02, 2015
The Governing Body of the City of Pratt met in Regular session in the Commission Room located in City Hall.
Lucus Kumberg MayorBill Hlavachick Commissioner
Jeff Taylor Commissioner
Gary Skaggs Commissioner
Doug Meyer Commissioner
Dave Howard City ManagerLuAnn Kramer City Clerk
Ken Van Blaricum City Attorney
Dana Garten Finance Director
Gary Myers Chief of Police
Russell Rambat Public Works Director
Brad Blankenship Building Inspector
Jamie Huber Dir. of Electric Utilities
Bruce Pinkall Recreation Director
CALL TO ORDER:
The regular meeting was called to order by Mayor Kumberg. The Mayor instructed the Clerk to note that all Commissioners were present with the exception of Commissioner Skaggs.
The Mayor reminded the audience that this meeting may be taped and/or recorded.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Commissioner Taylor led the staff and audience in the invocation and Mayor Kumberg led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioner Meyer made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 19, 2015 regular Commission meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hlavachick and carried unanimously.
UPDATE ON LEMON PARK PROJECT:
Mr. Blake Himmelwright informed the Commission that there had been several committee meetings over the Lemon Park project and he felt that they had established a first phase of the project. Mr. Himmelwright stated that the first phase included a new entrance to the park and a parking lot in the llama area. Mr. Himmelwright added that there would be a trial run to see what type of space would be needed for parking. Mr. Himmelwright pointed out that the old entrance to the park would be landscaping and he also pointed out where a dog park would be located. Mr. Himmelwright stated that Santa Fe Road would still be there and, with defining islands, he estimated a cost of around $130,000 without the dog park. Mr. Himmelwright commented that there would also be a bathroom, so $200,000 would be a high estimate. Commissioner Hlavachick reminded the Commission that the City would be doing a lot of the ground work. City Manager Howard stated that the first phase would not include the new road.
Commissioner Skaggs commented that the dog park had been a pet project of Commissioner Hlavachick’s, but questioned if we really needed three runs in the dog park. Commissioner Hlavachick commented that this was the architect’s design and concept; however he felt that we could get along with one or two. Mr. Howard commented that he had been to two dog parks and they had one run for larger dogs and one for the smaller ones. Mr. Howard added that one had had a sidewalk around it. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if the bathroom would involve the lift station. Mr. Howard stated that we would do that when there was another bathroom deeper into the interior. Mr. Howard added that they would have to work with FEMA concerning the flood plain.
Commissioner Skaggs questioned what they were proposing for the Christmas event. Mr. Howard stated that they would be barricading part of the grassy area for the band and Santa. Mr. Howard added that that event was the weekend before Thanksgiving and the Chamber would be having someone organize the parking. Mr. Himmelwright stated that he told the architect not to get too specific yet. Mr. Himmelwright added that the dog park was terribly important and a new entrance with a sign would look great, but we need appropriation of funds for that. Mayor Kumberg questioned if a public viewing for this project was still on the table. Commissioner Hlavachick stated that it was. Mayor Kumberg suggested that now would be a good time to do that. Commissioner Skaggs commented that we should wait to see how the parking situation develops before we commit any money.
Mr. Himmelwright stated that he was tired of waiting and the Commission had appointed the committee and this was what we saw as a priority. Mr. Himmelwright commented that it was not a problem to have another public meeting, but it would be appropriate to spend some money. Commissioner Meyer questioned how much Mr. Himmelwright was talking about. Mr. Himmelwright stated that it would be around $200,000 plus. Commissioner Meyer asked if this would include concrete for the parking lot. Mr. Himmelwright commented that it was and a bathroom, which was expensive. Mr. Himmelwright stated that he could defray some of the costs with a capital campaign to raise funds. Commissioner Taylor stated that he would like to see estimates for these costs so that there were no surprises. Mr. Howard explained that they had worked with some contractors, but they did not want a cost out there so we could still do competitive bidding. Commissioner Hlavachick stated that this was a combination of several meetings and the project had been downsized. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if there were two portions. Commissioner Hlavachick stated that there was. Commissioner Skaggs commented that he would like to see more definitive architecture if we were talking a bathroom and a parking lot. Mr. Himmelwright questioned how specific the preparation plan had to be. Mr. Himmelwright commented that we could go out for bid, but that was getting the cart before the horse. Commissioner Skaggs stated that that was not what he was worried about, because we were in favor of what had been talked about. Commissioner Hlavachick commented that the water line was already there. Commissioner Meyer stated that those things could be worked out.
Commissioner Meyer questioned where the money was coming from. Finance Director Garten stated that there had been some money set aside in Travel and Tourism, but not that much and we would have to work out all the details. Ms. Garten added that we would need about $100,000 for this and revenues were down. Commissioner Meyer asked if the special park and improvement funds were touchable. Ms. Garten stated that they were. Commissioner Taylor suggested putting something together and discuss it with the City Manager and go from there. Commissioner Taylor commented that we would see if we need a fund raising event. Mr. Himmelwright stated that he would not campaign for a fund raiser if something had not been committed to by the City. Commissioner Taylor questioned if Mr. Himmelwright had people who would commit $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 if we fall short. Commissioner Taylor stated that this was a project that the Commission had funds dedicated to, but we needed to see how much of the funds had already been committed. Mr. Himmelwright stated that he could round up funds contingent of appropriation of funds by the City. Commissioner Skaggs questioned if he could match $100,000 if the City committed to that amount. Ms. Garten explained that some of that money had been committed to other projects and to assist with recreation and the Sports Complex. Ms. Garten commented that that fund was not as plentiful and she was not sure when it would be replenished.
City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that we should talk about more specific numbers. Mr. Howard stated that we could get more specific numbers, but we did not want to hurt any of the local contractors. Mr. Howard suggested scheduling another public meeting and let the public know where we were at. Mayor Kumberg stated that the main purpose of the public meeting was to draw attention to the project and another meeting would give us enough time to see where and what type of funding we could commit to. Mr. Howard stated that the utilities were there and some of that we would do. Mr. Himmelwright questioned if nothing was going to happen if he did not raise funds. Commissioner Taylor stated that we could go further if he raised funds. Commissioner Taylor explained that, if we spend $150,000 and no other funds were available, we were going to be finished until more comes available. Commissioner Taylor added that it was not a stop to the project, but whether we could go further.
Mr. Howard stated that there would be a playground towards the entrance and we could kick the dog park further south. Recreation Director Pinkall commented that playground equipment could cost as little as $50,000 or you could spend what you want and they do them for different age groups. Commissioner Skaggs stated that we could get funding started and the money would come, just as it had with the walking path. Mr. Himmelwright stated that parking lots and bathrooms were not good selling points. Commissioner Skaggs stated that the City would pay for the parking lot. Mr. Himmelwright stated that he could start a campaign to top that off. Commissioner Meyer stated that we did not want to violate the integrity of the park; however, the recommendation would be to see where we could get $200,000 and go from there. Commissioner Meyer added that the City did not know how many dollars we could commit.
Mr. Himmelwright stated that we had the estimates for the parking lot and we could take out the entrance parking lot. Mr. Himmelwright added that that would be an easy start and we could see if there was any money left over for the bathroom. Mr. Himmelwright commented that the dog park could be done by donated funds, as well as the entrance. Mr. Himmelwright stated that that was a worthwhile project and should be fairly non-controversial. Mr. Himmelwright added that that should cost around $70,000 to $80,000. Mr. Howard suggested that we may be able to dedicate $100,000 if we were to dedicate any money for a parking lot and new entry way. Commissioner Taylor commented that we need to see what funds are available. Commissioner Meyer questioned if there were any grants from Wildlife and Parks. Mr. Howard stated that we would have to get started on that relatively soon, but we would probably get it if there was money there. Mr. Howard added that timing could be the restraint.
Mayor Kumberg stated that the committee had done enough to phase that project out. Commissioner Skaggs commented that people would be more willing to donate if the City were to put in the parking lot. Mr. Howard stated that he had already visited with one lady that was interested in helping with the dog park. Mr. Howard commented that, if estimates came back at $150,000 for the parking lot, curb and guttering and the sign, we were well within the estimates we had.
DISCUSSION ON TRAFFIC AT ‘OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS’ EVENT IN LEMON PARK:
Public Works Director Rambat showed a map to the Commissioners concerning traffic and parking during the Old Fashioned Christmas event. Mr. Rambat stated that they were looking at designating South Main Street and Santa Fe Road as the official entrance to the event. Mr. Rambat added that Santa Fe Road would be made a one way road so that there was easy access to the llama pen for parking. Mr. Rambat explained that, if the area was not wet, we could get 80% of the parking in there and there could be some parking on the north side of Santa Fe if it was needed. Mr. Rambat commented that there would be a group of people to help with the parking. Mr. Rambat informed the Commission that there would be an area barricaded off for the band and vendors. Mr. Rambat added that people could also park in Sixth Street Park if they did not mind walking. Mr. Howard stated that we would be marking the streets accordingly.
Mr. Howard stated that there would be some emergency services at the event, so they would have to be able to get in and out. Mr. Himmelwright questioned where the vendors would park. Mr. Rambat stated that there would be a staging area in the old Konkel property. Mr. Howard stated that two way traffic on Pine Street and Shaffer Drive were the biggest problem. Commissioner Meyer questioned using the parking lot between the diamonds. Mr. Howard explained that they did not want any traffic going through the park. Commissioner Skaggs asked what plan B was if it were wet. Mr. Howard stated that we would go to the Municipal Building for an indoor event.
CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE 1501 AMENDING SECTION 31 OF THE STO FOR KANSAS CITIES, ‘FLEEING OR ATTEMPTING TO ELUDE A POLICE OFFICER’:
City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that, every couple of years, the City adopts by Ordinance the Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas Cities that is put out by the League. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that the ordinance modifies the standard codes in the book so that it better fits our needs. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that one section addresses fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. Mr. Van Blaricum explained the difference in a misdemeanor violation and when it becomes a crime. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that the problem with the ordinance was that it was for motor vehicles and not anyone on a bicycle. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that we needed to fix that for the City of Pratt so that officers could stop a bicycle for fleeing or eluding.
Mr. Van Blaricum explained that he had modified the existing ordinance so that it includes any driver of a vehicle or bicycle or any other means of transportation. Commissioner Taylor questioned if that included anyone on foot. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that it did not, but that was covered under another ordinance. Mr. Van Blaricum clarified that this ordinance covers people that try to get away.
The following Ordinance 1501 was then presented to the Commission for their approval: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 31 OF THE STANDARD TRAFFIC ORDINANCE FOR KANSAS CITIES, “FLEEING OR ATTEMPTING TO ELUDE A POLICE OFFICER”. Commissioner Hlavachick made a motion to approve Ordinance 1501 amending Section 310 of the STO for Kansas Cities, ‘Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer’. Commissioner Skaggs seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
· Jeff McCaskey:
Mr. Jeff McCaskey stated that he was curious about the response to his material. Mayor Kumberg stated that he had had a family issue and would have something in the mail by Friday. Mr. McCaskey commented that he felt that a capital campaign was a good idea for the Lemon Park project and that a public meeting was appropriate. Mr. McCaskey questioned why the City does not go out for bids and keep them sealed until they get a more targeted amount. Mr. Howard stated that we open bids at a specific time and we know what we are doing concerning our bid policy. Mayor Kumberg stated that these procedures were described in great detail by State statute. Mr. McCaskey suggested taking the median areas out and that would save money and take less upkeep. Mayor Kumberg commented that the difference in putting medians in or taking them out was very small and did not matter either way. Mr. Howard stated that it was better to pave since you could not plow in the winter.
Commissioner Meyer questioned if we had ever approved a new landscape ordinance and whether it would apply to us. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that we had not approved a new ordinance, but he did not think this would apply to us. Mr. Howard stated that there were trees in the drawing, so it would meet the requirements.
· Fincham Street project:
City Manager Howard stated that he had met with Smoky Hill and KDOT concerning North Fincham Street and they should get started on that project next Monday. Mr. Howard explained that they would not start on South Fincham Street for about thirty days, but they did have a temporary parking plan to access Wal-Mart.
· Railroad construction:
Mr. Howard stated that he had also met with the railroad and they would be working on the crossings on Mound Street, New Street and Starr Street in the near future. Mr. Howard added that they were giving us notice so that we could let the residents know.
· Mr. Matei’s petition:
City Attorney Van Blaricum stated that Mr. Luca Matei had presented another petition and he wanted the Commission to know that he takes Mr. Matei’s complaints seriously. Mr. Van Blaricum explained that this situation had involved some hitting and the same sort of thing that had been going on for some time. Mayor Kumberg commented that it was a coincidence that Commissioner Meyer was on the ride along for that event and the petition was not exactly accurate. Mr. Van Blaricum commented that Mr. Matei has it in his mind how it happened. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that the City did not need to take any action on the petition.
· Land Banks:
Mr. Van Blaricum stated that there had been discussions about Land Banks at the City Attorney’s meeting a few weeks ago. Mr. Van Blaricum commented that there was Land Bank legislation due to a problem in Junction City. Mr. Van Blaricum explained that the City of Junction City geared up for a large increase for housing by building roads, sewer lines and special assessments; however, the demand slighted and they ended up with a thousand City lots that went unsold. Mr. Van Blaricum added that there were still about 750 of those lots unsold and that created a mess of taxes and specials assessed on those properties with no one to pay them.
Mr. Van Blaricum stated that the purpose of City Land Banks was to acquire, hold and convey property that had been abandoned. Mr. Van Blaricum commented that one of the ways that a Land Bank would come into play would be to acquire County tax foreclosures. Mr. Van Blaricum explained that the County sells a property at an auction and takes title, but does not want it and it could be suggested that they deed it over to the Land Bank. Mr. Van Blaricum commented that all taxes and specials would stop when it went to the Land Bank, taxes would be abated and specials would be advertised if sold. Mr. Van Blaricum added that the Land Bank would have the power to sell without an appraisal or other authority and was not subject for oversight by any entity.
Mr. Van Blaricum commented that this was a management tool to look over lots and would be an expense. Mr. Howard stated that we had had people give us property due to excess mowing bills and we have made deals to sell to the neighbor or neighbors. Mr. Howard added that it was not usually a property that anyone would want to build on. Mr. Van Blaricum commented that we act as our own Land Bank, but he would be glad to look into it further. Mr. Howard commented that it worked best when you could get a whole area or a block was available. Mayor Kumberg commented that the thought behind that was whether the back taxes or liens would be forgiven if it was put into a Land Bank and the pay off point would be when it sold.
· Nuisance properties:
Mr. Van Blaricum stated that he had been working with Building Inspector Blankenship on nuisance properties. Mr. Van Blaricum commented that 322 West Blaine Street had indescribable activity going on and it had been filed in Municipal Court and there would be others to come. Commissioner Skaggs questioned what the next phase was after filing it in court. Mr. Van Blaricum stated that they show up and answer to the charges of a nuisance. Mr. Van Blaricum added that they could be fined or sentenced to six months in the County jail and we get an order to clean it up.
· Parrish alley:
Public Works Director Rambat stated that the alley was back open by the Parrish Lofts.
· Broken water valves:
Mr. Rambat stated that the water department had been hard at it working to fix broken water valves and doing annual maintenance.
· Complaints about gas company:
Commissioner Meyer stated that he had gotten several complaints about the gas company and taking so long on a project. Mr. Rambat stated that they had a contractor doing some work boring the gas mains and they had had a mishap crossing one of our utilities. Mr. Rambat added that we had to go out and direct them, which ended up with having to tear out more street than expected. Commissioner Meyers questioned if they pay us for that. Mr. Rambat stated that they do.
Mr. Rambat explained that he had tried to stay in contact with the concrete contractor to pour the alley entrance in there. Mr. Rambat stated that he had been seeing locates coming through regularly. Mr. Rambat commented that we charge them if we had to go back, but they will correct it anywhere from six months to a year after. Mr. Rambat added that it sometimes takes years for those things to show up.
· Parrish gas line:
Commissioner Skaggs questioned when they would be working on the gas line by the Parrish. Building Inspector Blankenship stated that they were not going to do it anymore. City Manager Howard added that they had decided to not relocate the line. Mr. Howard stated that the City had not filed the easement with the County. Commissioner Meyer questioned if we should undo that easement by motion. After little discussion, Commissioner Meyer made a motion to rescind the easement granted to Kansas Gas Service. Commissioner Taylor seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
· Property by Woody’s:
Commissioner Meyer asked if anything was being done to the property next to Woody’s. Building Inspector Blankenship stated that it had been cleaned up. Commissioner Skaggs commented that it would look better if they would board up the front. Mr. Blankenship stated that he would see what he could do.
· Running steam units:
Director of Electric Utilities Huber informed the Commission that we would be running the steam units next week. Mr. Huber commented that Sunflower would be doing work on their substation and may take about two or three days. Commissioner Skaggs stated that he had heard on the news how vulnerable the grid was to sabotage. Mr. Howard commented that we would probably be knocked out if the grid was and it would take a while to get the generators up. Commissioner Skaggs commented that we had a cushion over big Cities. Mr. Howard stated that there were several times that we could have gone an extended period without electricity if we had not had our own grid, but we can stand alone. Commissioner Meyer questioned if we pass any of that along. Mr. Howard stated that we do not adjust our rates. Commissioner Skaggs asked when we would have to. Mr. Howard stated that we would have to be on our own for six months, but we would not readjust short term. Commissioner Meyer commented that we would have other issues if that happened.
· Fly ash on Main Street:
Recreation Director Pinkall informed the Commission that the contractors would be starting the fly ash process on North Main Street and it would be dusty. Mr. Pinkall suggested that residents keep their windows and doors closed. Commissioner Taylor questioned when they would be pouring. Mr. Rambat stated that it could be as early as the next week. Mr. Howard added that they had fifty working days. Commissioner Taylor asked if it had to cure for a week. Mr. Rambat stated that it did.
Mayor and Commission:
· School threat:
Mayor Kumberg thanked the officers for their work with the school on their threat.
· Noise complaint:
Commissioner Taylor questioned if there were fines for a ‘certain’ neighbor that creates a noise problem. Commissioner Taylor commented that the police could not even reach them due to the noise level. Police Chief Myers stated that he would look into that. Commissioner Taylor questioned why you would call the police if they were not going to be fined. Commissioner Skaggs commented that they probably had a scanner. Commissioner Taylor stated that the music was still up when the police come and they leave because they could not reach anyone.
· LEC meeting:
Mayor Kumberg commented that they had a LEC meeting last week and went through the current contract and there had not been any substantial changes. Mayor Kumberg added that the contract would come before the City Commission at some point.
Commissioner Meyer made a motion to recess until Monday, November 16th at 11:00 a.m. for the City/County joint meeting at City Hall. Commissioner Hlavachick seconded the motion and it carried unanimously._____________________________________
LUCUS KUMBERG, Mayor
LUANN KRAMER, City Clerk