Minutes 05-02-2011

CITY COUNCIL

MAY 2, 2011

7:00 P.M.

 

The Council of the City of Augusta, Kansas met in regular session on May 2, 2011, with Mayor Kristey Williams presiding.  Council present were Holly Harper, Matt Childers, Michael Huddleston, Michael Wallace, Mike Rawlings, Sue Jones, Ronald Reavis, and Matt Malone.  Also present:  City Manager Bill Keefer, City Attorney David All, Assistant to the City Manager Josh Shaw, City Inspector Dan Allen, and City Clerk Erica Jones.  Visitors present were:  Michael McDermott, Martin Goedecke, Eric Christinat, and Steve Compton.

 

Prayer:  Pastor Steve Hollingsworth, Central Baptist Church, gave the invocation.

 

Minutes:  Reavis made a motion to approve the minutes from the April 18, 2011 meeting.  Harper seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Appropriations:                                   

April (4A):  Huddleston inquired about the two payments on page 1 and page 2 referencing API.  Jones stated it was for loan payments made to the City for the loans made by API and Network Kansas.  E. Jones stated the City is paid an administrative fee to handle these payments.  Huddleston inquired about the payment to Dave’s for towing.  Keefer stated it was for towing a New Holland tractor for the Park Department.  Wallace made a motion to approve Ordinance 4A in the amount of $386,630.98.   Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Visitors:

Eric Christinat, Executive Director of Downtown Augusta, Inc. requested the closure of the 400,500, and 600 blocks of State Street on the afternoon and evening of Friday, June 10 for the annual Grasshopper Festival.  Wallace made a motion to close the 400,500, and 600 blocks of State Street on the afternoon and evening of Friday, June 10 for the annual Grasshopper Festival.  Harper seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Old Business:

Kelly & Ohio Intersection:  Williams stated that there were three different options discussed at the work session and that the roundabout option is no longer feasible due to requirements by KDOT for larger trucks.  Wallace made a motion authorizing a change in the scope of work for the Kelly & Ohio Intersection Project from a roundabout to a traditional four-legged intersection and authorizing the City Manager to notify KDOT of the same.  Childers seconded the motion.  

 

Huddleston stated that a square intersection is now going to cost us $35,000 more.  Huddleston stated when the roundabout was first proposed that more people than just him asked if it would support fire trucks, school buses, and interstate trucks, and that Goedecke did not explain his answer the same as he did in his memo and now the City is stuck with an additional expense of $35,000.  Keefer stated we would be responsible for the remainder of the engineer’s contract and an additional $35,000.  Williams inquired about when the radius was originally measured an approved and why now is KDOT not approving it.  Goedecke stated that the roundabout is a compromise of right of way cost, public safety, vehicle operation, and large trucks.  Goedecke stated he felt as few large trucks as there are that use this intersection the roundabout would be able to accommodate them if they swing out on to the apron, just as they swing out into the intersection now, to make a right turn.  Goedecke stated KDOT does not consider that acceptable and would require the roundabout to accommodate a right turn by those large trucks without pulling out on to the apron, and that is not the type of roundabout we were looking at. 

 

Williams asked Goedecke if he felt any of this was avoidable.  Childers stated he does not recall Goedecke using the word “compromise” during the work session, and that the governing body had been told the roundabout would be able to handle large trucks.  Goedecke stated all projects have some compromises.  Malone asked Goedecke if he has worked with KDOT in the past and if they have a good working relationship.  Goedecke state he has, including the current 7th Street project, but that you work with different people at KDOT on different projects.  Williams stated she thinks the roundabout would have been a good project, but that she is disappointed we got this far. 

 

Goedecke stated he had not designed a roundabout for KDOT before, but that he did a lot of work to look at things.  Goedecke stated he felt like it was the right thing to do for the City with the benefits that had been identified, within the budget of the project.  Goedecke stated he did not realize there would be an issue with really large trucks making right turns.  Williams asked if there is a mathematical formula that could have been used.  Goedecke stated there is not a formula that could have been used, but that there is software that could calculate that but that he does not have that software.  Goedecke stated he did look at KDOT’s design criteria.  Reavis stated that at the public meeting that was held with staff, Goedecke, and representatives from KDOT a man asked if a truck with a 63 foot trailer could use the roundabout and everyone, including the person from KDOT, said that it would.  Reavis stated he didn’t specifically inquire about right turns.  Goedecke stated he felt by pulling out on the apron they would be able to make a right turn at the roundabout, but that KDOT now disagrees.

 

Huddleston stated the next item on the agenda is a request for an additional $35,000 to be paid to Goedecke for the new intersection when we have already paid for the design of the intersection.  Goedecke stated he will have to re-create all of the drawings for a new intersection design.  Williams stated she is frustrated that we wouldn’t be here now if we had all the information from the beginning.  Goedecke stated he followed KDOT’s design manuals for the roundabout.  Williams stated the governing body should have understood the complexity of the project. 

 

S. Jones asked if we have received any information back from Westar about their pole and the easements.  Goedecke stated he had not, but that he included the cost to relocate the pole in the cost of the project.  S. Jones asked if Goedecke is the appropriate person to handle this or if it should be staff or the city attorney.  Goedecke stated at some point the decision will have to be made, but that he is doing the legwork and keeping staff informed.  Goedecke stated it will not be known where it will have to be moved until the plans are drawn and that they are still looking for the easement.

 

Reavis stated he doesn’t think we will know the property requirements until the plans are completed, so he would not recommend notifying the property owners until that is known.  Keefer stated it is important to notify at least two of the property owners, because they were originally told we would be purchasing their full property.  Keefer stated they need to know so they can move forward with their plans for the property, but that we will note that they will be contacted in the future about construction easements and right of way.  Williams stated we should let them know that their buildings are no longer in jeopardy.

 

Huddleston stated Kansas is an ownership by record state, and stated that if Westar does not have a recorded easement then why do we keep going back to them.  Goedecke stated they do not have a recorded easement, but that they do say they have an easement so he has asked them to provide us with a copy.  Wallace stated they should be given a deadline to produce it.  Keefer agreed and stated that Westar does not have a franchise, so they are saying they have an easement with the property owners.  Keefer stated there is an easement on record, but that their pole is located outside of that easement.

 

Motion carried without opposition.

 

            Childers asked what would happen if the amendment to the Engineering Agreement is not made.  Keefer stated we would not have a project because we wouldn’t have plans.  Keefer stated we would have to hire a new engineer and pay for the cost of an entirely new design.  Childers asked if we do not approve this could we lose the $500,000 funding from KDOT.  Keefer stated that is a possibility.  Malone stated we paid $65,000 for the design of the roundabout and asked staff if they thought Goedecke would honor the cost in the original agreement.  Keefer stated that the $12,000 remaining out of the $65,000 original agreement would not be enough to cover the costs of the new plans, but that he would have to defer that question to Goedecke.  Malone asked how much is budgeted for this project.  Keefer stated there is $200,000 in the project fund, plus and additional $75,000 that will be added this year.  Keefer stated we will have to issue temporary notes for this project, but not issue debt.  Malone stated he would like to know what he is voting on before throwing more money at this project.  Keefer stated we will not know the actual costs of the project until we let bids, but that they generally come in under Goedecke’s estimates.  Goedecke asked the governing body if instead of a contract, they would be more in favor of paying by the hour.  Goedecke stated he does not want to hold the city hostage and that he wants to work with the city, but that he will have more expenses. 

 

Wallace stated that he told the governing body a year or two ago that the engineer should be liable for mistakes.  Wallace stated he doesn’t think this was a mistake on Goedecke’s part, but that the governing body has said in previous meetings that Goedecke is exempt from his mistakes.  With that Wallace made a motion to approve an amendment to the Engineering Services Agreement with Goedecke Engineering for the Kelly & Ohio Intersection project.  Rawlings seconded the motion.  Wallace amended the motion to include amend the agreement to be paid at an hourly rate not to exceed a total amount of $35,000.  Childers seconded the motion to amend. Motion to amend carried without opposition.  Williams disagreed that the Council exempted Goedecke from errors.  Motion carried without opposition.  Malone inquired about the hourly rates.  Keefer stated we will pay an hourly rate up to the $35,000.

 

New Business:

Dike Road:  Wallace made a motion to approve an agreement with Butler County as part of the Vacation of the Dike Road right-of-way between Highway 54 and Thunder Road.  Harper seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition. 

 

Levee Enhancement Project:  Rawlings abstained from the discussion and voting due to a conflict of interest.  Reavis inquired about the location of the new field entrance.  Keefer stated it would be in the same proximity where Dike Road intersects with Thunder Road.  Reavis stated he doesn’t want to promise access if we cannot since we don’t own that property.  Keefer stated as trail manager we do have the authority to allow access.  Reavis made a motion to approve the purchase of Tract 9-A (0.10 acres) in the amount of $250, the small tract that is a remnant of Tract 9-A (1.6 acres) and Tract 34-B (0.4 acres)  in the amount of $1,000, for a total of $1,500 from Jerry Fritchman for the levee enhancement project.  Wallace seconded the motion.  Huddleston stated the sign at US 400 says the road is Hunter Road, but that everyone refers to it as Dike Road.  Dan Allen stated it is officially called Hunter Road and is indicated as such on all flood maps.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Sanitary Sewer Easements:  Childers made a motion to approve two Sanitary Sewer Easement for Butler County as part of the levee project and the relocation of the sewer force main serving Sewer District #12. Reavis seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Public Hearing:  Council considered scheduling a public hearing to take input on moving forward with the issuance of General Obligation Bonds for the City’s Levee Project and to appoint appraisers for the project.  Keefer stated the Corp is accelerating the project, so we have no choice but to move forward with this.  Keefer stated the statute requires we appoint three disinterested householders to make sure no one is receiving special considerations.  Keefer stated that the Division of Water Resources is required to sign off on this part of the project as well.  Keefer stated he was able to identify two individuals, Paul Oliver and Rick Blue, who were interested in serving as appraisers.  S Jones asked what process was used to select the appraisers.  Keefer stated he picked two people that are members of the community who do not own property in this area and would not directly benefit from the project.  Huddleston recommended Steve Compton to fill the third position.  Dan Allen stated Compton lives in the project area.  Keefer stated the decision is up to the governing body, but that he doesn’t think their appointments would be challenged.  Wallace made a motion to approve Resolution 2011 – 05 authorizing several actions including the scheduling of a Public Hearing for 7 p.m. on May 16, 2011 to take input on moving forward with the issuance of General Obligation Bonds for the City’s Levee Project and to appoint Paul Oliver, Rick Blue, and Steve Hollingsworth as appraisers for the project.  Malone seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Appointments:  Wallace made a motion to approve the Mayor’s appointments to the various boards and committees of the City.  S Jones seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Official Newspaper:  Reavis made a motion to designate the Augusta Gazette as the City’s official newspaper.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Official Depository:  Rawlings made a motion to designate Emprise Bank as the City’s official depository.  Malone seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Zoning Regulations:  Williams thanked Downtown Augusta Inc. Executive Director Eric Christinat for his time and input on the changes to the ordinance.  Huddleston stated he still thinks the regulations are too restrictive and that it seems we are punishing those not on the list by charging them $325, which isn’t fair.  Huddleston asked how other Mainstreet Communities handle their zoning.  Christinat stated that some have a list of excluded businesses, but that doesn’t seem to work very well and it could be very exhaustive.  Christinat recommended reviewing the list once a year and making any necessary changes.  Christinat stated he thought the $325 charge was unreasonable at first too, but he wants to make sure the costs incurred by the city are covered and maybe reducing the fee will still cover those costs.  Huddleston asked if it would work better if the fee were more reasonable.

 

Childers inquired about the cost of notification.  Dan Allen stated he and his staff have to locate the CAMA #’s and legal addresses in a 200 foot arc around the four corners of the property requesting a conditional use permit and send a notification to the property owners and publish the notice in the newspaper.  Allen stated it takes a lot of labor hours to prepare all the notifications.  Huddleston asked if the costs associated with a commercial request is different than a residential.  Allen stated there is usually more property owners involved downtown.  Huddleston stated the city should share the cost of the conditional use permit in order to get businesses downtown.  Malone asked how many businesses have been told no.  Allen stated a couple have, but that the majority are granted a conditional use permit.  Mr. All stated that if you don’t have a list of acceptable businesses, you will have one you don’t want.  Mr. All stated this ordinance is the best way to take care of that, and that the process of amending the ordinance when necessary has been working.  Allen stated Christinat has tried to get people downtown involved in the meetings, but that no one has showed up.  Huddleston stated a clock repair shop would be prohibited under these regulations.  Rawlings stated that when the ordinance was first drafted, those interested wanted the downtown to be strictly retail. 

 

S. Jones inquired about the impetus for the proposed changes tonight.  Allen stated that last year a smoke shop moved in downtown over the weekend.  Allen stated when he told them they were not permitted to be there, they refused for file for a conditional use permit and pay the fee.  Allen stated he tried to work with them and told them if they sold coffee, they could be considered a restaurant that sells cigarettes and would be approved under the current regulations.  They agreed, but then decided to move.  Allen stated he tried to work with them but they didn’t want to be worked with.  Allen stated a Title Company that was located downtown when the regulations were first put in place decided to move to another location downtown, but since their type of business was not allowed and they were only grandfathered in for their original location they technically were not allowed downtown.  Allen stated if the business owners would notify people that they need to check with the city before moving in, it could address these issues in advance.  Huddleston stated if we are going to keep it as is and review it annually that is okay with him, but he still thinks the fee is excessive.  Huddleston stated the city will not go out of business because of three conditional use permits per year.  Keefer stated he understood and agreed with Huddleston, except that the city does have tangible expenses such as staff time, postage, publication costs, and bills from the County that will not go away.  Keefer stated we want to do all these things for our citizens but we do not want to raise taxes, and we cannot keep providing these services without a cost.  Huddleston stated he doesn’t think $1,000 per year would require us to cut services, and that we subsidize the pool and airport by more than that.  Keefer stated he has started to work on the 2012 budget and there will probably be some hard decisions to make this year. 

 

Keefer stated vary rarely has a conditional use permit ever been turned down.  Keefer stated that most don’t get to that point because of recommendations by Allen.  Keefer stated if the governing body wants staff to research our tangible costs we can do that.  Wallace stated if staff is making a recommendation to a business and telling them they will be approved and they are not, the city should absorb that cost.  Wallace made a motion to approve Ordinance 2021 amending the City’s Zoning Regulations.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

There was a consensus by the governing body to review the conditional use permit fee.  S. Jones stated that if a business cannot afford $325 upfront, they probably will not be successful anyway.

 

Work Session:  Wallace asked if FEMA is done with their stuff.  Keefer said no and stated that is a separate and distinct issue regarding levee certification.  Wallace made a motion scheduling a work session with the Corps of Engineers on Monday, May 9, at 7 p.m. to review and discuss the Levee Project.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried with Rawlings opposing.

 

Tornado Siren:  Keefer stated the Whitewater River Fire District has asked the City of Augusta to donate a used tornado siren to them that we are replacing.  Keefer stated staff does not have a problem with donating a siren and stated the one we would most likely donate is the one currently located on Arnold Drive.  Wallace stated he would like to see an article in the newspaper about the City donating the siren.  Wallace made a motion to donate a used tornado siren to the Whitewater River Fire District.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition. 

 

Informational Memorandum:

Wallace – Wallace inquired about the repairs needed for the Library roof.  Keefer stated the roof is 10 plus years old and that Dan Allen is getting an estimate so the funding can be included in the 2012 budget.  Keefer stated in the mean time we will be doing some basic patching repairs. 

 

Final Comments:

Huddleston – Huddleston asked if someone can close off a road without coming to the Council for permission.  Keefer said it depends.  Huddleston inquired about the Church downtown.  Keefer stated they did block of a couple of parking spaces, but stated if it had been a large event or would have required the street to be blocked for an extended period of time they would have had to come to the Council for permission.  Keefer stated we work with small groups and neighborhood block parties, etc.

 

Malone – Malone stated the red light on the stop light at 7th and Lulu is not working.

 

Wallace – Wallace stated there were a lot of maps to look at tonight and stated that staff needs to start projecting those for the citizens to be able to see them.  Wallace stated the property owner at 1210 passed away, but that the property is in bad condition.  Dan Allen stated he has sent letters and spoken in person to the person in charge of that property, but that there has been no response.  Wallace stated there is a lot of trash and weeds.  Childers asked if Allen needs assistance from the governing body in getting these types of properties addressed.  Allen stated it is not as easy to get these cleaned up as one would think and that there are certain procedures that have to be followed.  Childers stated there are several properties throughout town that are dangerous and need to be addressed.

 

            Wallace stated there will be a parade on May 14th at 10 a.m. to welcome home the 226th Engineering Company from their deployment.  Wallace stated the parade will be on State Street and will start at the Senior Center.

 

Executive Session:  At 8:40 p.m. Wallace made a motion to enter executive session for 15 minutes to confer with the City Attorney on matters that would be considered privileged in an attorney-client relationship.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

            At 8:56 p.m. Wallace made a motion to exit executive session with no action being taken.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

 

Adjourn:  At 8:57 p.m. Wallace made a motion to adjourn.   Harper seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.      

 

 

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