City Council Meeting Minutes- April 1, 2015

NOTE: The following minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

April 1, 2015

The Norton City Council met in regular session Wednesday, April 1, 2015, at 5:30 p.m., with Council President Jerry Jones presiding. Other council members present were Roberta Ryan, Jeff Urban, Chriss McDiffett, Gary Lacy and Ron Briery. Mayor Corns was absent. Others present were Larry Nelson, August Muehe, Scott Sproul, Robert Bowman, Dana Paxton, Marvin Matchett, Dan Bainter, Ron Ridley, Karen Griffiths, Chad Buckley and Darla Ellis.

Motion was made by Roberta Ryan and seconded by Jeff Urban to approve the March 18, 2015, council meeting minutes as written. Vote taken. Motion carried.

The following building permits were presented:

Ag Valley Coop – $12,000 – demolish former Brady Grain scale house at 306 W. Washington St.

Ag Valley Coop – $15,000 – demolish metal storage building at 224 W. Washington St.

Berlier Family Trust – $ 500 – re-roofing at 511 E. Washington Street

Steve Cole – $ 1,200 – re-roofing at 209 N. Norton

Chris Davis – $ 3,000 – re-roofing at 608 E. Lincoln St.

Lucas & Jill Wiseman – $ 1,400 – construct 8’ privacy fence at 508 West Street

August Muehe stated when school gets out, 90% of the people don’t stop at the intersection of Second and Crane, including the school buses. He stated he sees City, County and State employees who run stop signs too. Council President Jerry Jones stated the Chief of Police will look into these concerns.

Larry Nelson of New Age asked if the council would consider adding another electric rate level for high users. He stated they will probably use 200,000 kilowatts with their new air conditioner. They will be starting it in the near future. Chriss McDiffett suggested that the City Administrator check with the Engineer who is doing the electrical study, to see if he has any recommendations. The Utility Committee will meet on April 6 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss the request. Larry Nelson left the meeting at 5:34 p.m.

Scott Sproul stated a group of community volunteers, along with the Norton County Community Foundation and the Norton City/County Economic Development organizations have been working to put together a bowling alley project with conference facilities. He said they have a business plan put together, but have been unable to find a location that will work. He asked the City to consider letting them put a new historic looking building at the west end of the parking lot, southeast of the intersection of First and Main Streets, for the bowling alley and conference center. Some parking would need to be changed on the west side of First Street, and approximately twelve parking spots would be lost; he will visit with the businesses in the area regarding the parking issue. Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Chriss McDiffett to give them their support in locating the bowling alley project in this area. Scott will proceed with plans for the project and come back to the council in the future to work out whether the lot would be leased or purchased, contingent upon the project going through. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Roberta Ryan to approve Resolution #9-2015, supporting and approving the development of affordable rental housing to be located within the city limits of Norton at a location west of Reagan Street and north of Crane Street. This would be for two single-family houses and it is planned to do two more in that area later. There would be no cost to the City; it would be funded through tax credits from Northwest Kansas Housing, Inc. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Karen Griffiths reported a work session was held with Nex-Tech to review a video service agreement, which will replace the cable franchise agreement. A five year agreement with five year extensions was proposed, with a 3% video provider fee on all gross revenues for cable services rather than just on the basic cable service. This has been prepared and sent to Nex-tech for their approval and then it will come back to the City. Karen Griffiths also reported the City of Almena will take up the emergency work agreement at their next meeting, and then an ordinance will be prepared to repeal the interlocal agreement.

Motion was made by Jerry Jones and seconded by Gary Lacy to offer the vacant Police Officer position to Ryan Morrill at a starting salary of 11-B. He is a certified officer with prior law enforcement experience and has a degree in Criminal Justice. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Chief of Police Ron Ridley reported the patrol car which was ordered in January is in, but had a paint flaw which is being fixed. It and the vehicle approved in March should go to the up fitter by next week; they hope to have both vehicles in service by next month.

City Administrator Chad Buckley reported bids were opened for the Geometric Improvement project on Highway 36, and Smoky Hill, LLC of Salina, Kansas, was the low bidder with a total bid of $1,932,642.33. The work would be completed in the summer of 2016. The State has committed a maximum of $1,500,000 to the project, and the City’s estimated share of matching funds is $656,000, which will need to be submitted to the State on or before May 14, 2015. Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Roberta Ryan to accept the low bid from Smoky Hill, LLC for the base bid plus the alternate at a cost of $1,932,642.33, and approve the Authority to Award Contract Commitment of City Funds for grading and surfacing from US Highway 283 to West Street. Vote taken. Motion carried.

City Administrator Chad Buckley reported the individual who was offered the summer electric internship position has not responded to the offer. Several messages have been left and he has not returned any calls. A Prison Crew leader position has been advertised, to supervise an inmate work crew to repair brick streets in town.

City Administrator Chad Buckley reported the Norton Classic Cruisers 12th annual car show will be held on July 11-12. Some streets will need blocked off in the downtown area for the car show. Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Gary Lacy to approve of the closing of the necessary streets in the downtown area for the Norton Car Show on July 11-12. Vote taken. Motion carried.

City Administrator Chad Buckley informed the City Council and the public that the animal gas chamber at the animal pound has been permanently taken out of service. He also reported the LMI surveys were mailed out on Thursday, March 26, and thanked the volunteers who came in to assist in getting them distributed to the public in a timely manner.

Motion was made by Jeff Urban and seconded by Chriss McDiffett to hire Jill Lively as the 2015 Pool Manager at a salary of $450 per week beginning with Memorial Day. She will be expected to work at least 40 hours each week. Vote taken. Motion carried 5-0 with Roberta Ryan abstaining from the vote.

Motion was made by Gary Lacy and seconded by Roberta Ryan to hire Alec Melvin as the 2015 Assistant Pool Manager at a salary of $400 per week beginning with Memorial Day. She will be expected to work at least 40 hours each week. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Jerry Jones and seconded by Ron Briery to waive the formal first reading of Ordinance #1671, amending Chapter 9, Article 1 of the Norton City Code relating to municipal court costs. This will increase the court costs for criminal class A, B and C misdemeanors from $76 to $100. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Jerry Jones and seconded by Chriss McDiffett to not advertise for a Municipal Court Clerk as directed at the last city council meeting. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Roberta Ryan stated some people have yard waste already but cannot take it to the landfill. Motion was made by Roberta Ryan to start yard waste pickup next week. Motion died for lack of a second.

Motion was made by Chriss McDiffett and seconded by Roberta Ryan to adopt Resolution #8-2015, making additions and amendments to the City of Norton Employee Handbook, regarding the Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy. This will update the policy to current state and federal rules. Adds police officers, electric distribution, switch gear, water and sewer plant to safety sensitive positions. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Gary Lacy asked staff to review the intersection of Second Street and Highway 36 and see what can be done so it isn’t as hard to get around, especially on the east side. There has been some discussion of making restricting parking on the east side of the street by the intersection. Gary suggested that staff talk to the school about re-routing their buses instead of using that route.

Gary Lacy stated some of the trees north of Armory Drive have died, and he wondered if the Parks Department and prison crew could replace the dead ones to get a good windbreak established. There is a drip system in place that could be used to water the replacement trees.

Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Roberta Ryan to approve Request #5 for Payment of CDBG Funds for the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation project at 109 E. Main Street in the amount of $9,303.12. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Jeff Urban to approve Thunder Promotion LLC’s use of the grandstand area for consumption of cereal malt beverages during the sanctioned race dates of April 18, May 16, June 20, July 25 and August 15, 2015, as per Section 3-103(e) of the Norton City Code. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Ron Briery and seconded by Jeff Urban to approve the cereal malt beverage license for Thunder Promotion LLC, to have a beer garden in the grandstand area in Elmwood Park, during sanctioned races for the 2015 race season. Gary Lacy stated he is not in favor of allowing consumption in the entire grandstand rather than having a designated beer garden area. Vote taken. Motion carried 5-1 with Gary Lacy voting no.

Jerry Jones stated Norton is a very progressive community and we are growing. He stated at the Chamber of Commerce banquet, they had a list of the older businesses in town as well as 5 new businesses. He stated good things are happening in Norton.

Motion was made by Roberta Ryan and seconded by Jeff Urban to approve Appropriating Ordinance #7. Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Ron Briery to adjourn. Council adjourned at 6:26 p.m.