Minutes 10-17-2011

CITY COUNCIL

OCTOBER 17, 2011

7:00 P.M.

 

The Council of the City of Augusta, Kansas met in regular session on October 17, 2011, with Mayor Kristey Williams presiding.  Council present were Matt Childers, Michael Huddleston, Michael Wallace, Sue Jones, Mike Rawlings, Ron Reavis, and Matt Malone.  Council member Holly Harper was absent.  Also present:  City Attorney David All, City Manager Bill Keefer, Assistant to the City Manager Josh Shaw, and City Clerk Erica Jones.  Visitors present were: Kent Bush, Joe Hicks, Charley Havice, Max Hubbell, Briant Lewis, Troy Powers, Terry Deaver, Martin Goedecke, Kevin Cowan, Brent VanDyke, and Dustin Avey.

 

Prayer:  Pastor Terry Deaver, First Baptist Church, gave the invocation.

 

Minutes:  Reavis made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 3, 2011 meeting.  Childers seconded the motion.  Huddleston stated that he must have missed something during the watering discussion last week because he thought he understood that the change only applied to new lawns where the homes were inhabited, not those that were unoccupied.  Williams stated it wasn’t specified, but that some of the unoccupied homes have been sold.  Keefer stated there have been five permits pulled and that all are for occupied homes.  Childers stated he was concerned that there is confusion about it because he saw someone watering on Sunday.  Williams stated she thought we made it very clear, but that we will have to continue to monitor that.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Appropriations:                                   

October (10):  S. Jones inquired about the payment to American Control.  Keefer stated it was a partial payment towards the work being done on the Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) at the water plant.   S. Jones inquired about the payment to Kriz Davis.  Keefer stated it was for various materials and supplies for the Electric Distribution Department.  S. Jones inquired about the payment to Randall Hladik.  Keefer stated it was for the playground analysis.  Keefer stated the Park Department is working on summarizing the report and will be presenting it to the Park Board and Council.  S. Jones stated that a month end financial report had not yet been provided for September.  E. Jones stated it will be provided at the next meeting.  Wallace made a motion to approve Ordinance 10 in the amount of $446,828.79.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition. 

 

Visitors:

Mayor Williams presented the VFW with a proclamation and stated the VFW would like to make their community aware of their Buddy Poppies fundraiser.  Williams stated the poppies are assembled by disable veterans and that their purpose is the desire to honor the dead by helping the living.  The poppies will be distributed on November 5th and 6th at Wal-Mart and Dillon’s and the funds raised will be used locally for veterans and their families.

 

Troy Powers of McCune Heating & Cooling requested the blocking off of School Street in front of their shop for their open house on October 29th from 11 am to 4 pm.  Powers stated it would be from the south end of the post office to the south end of the block.  Williams asked if Powers had spoken to his neighbors.  Powers stated he had not, but that he would.  Keefer asked that Powers provide a written request including any services that would be needed of the City.  Williams asked Powers to work with staff on that.

 

Wallace introduced his appointment to the Street Sales Tax Committee, Brent VanDyke 1209 Henry.

 

Old Business:

Airport Advisory Board:  Reavis made a motion to approve the appointment of Mr. Rob Kuhns to the Airport Advisory Board to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Karst.   Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

New Business:

Levee Project:  Dustin Avey with PiperJaffray provided a market update and stated that Country Club Bank had the lowest bid.  Wallace made a motion to approve the bid from Country Club Bank for the lowest net interest cost of $9,279.17.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

            Reavis made a motion to approve Resolution 2011-20 authorizing the issuance and sale of Temporary Notes Series 2011-3 for the Levee Project.  Malone seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

KDHE Revolving Loan:  Council reviewed and discussed refinancing the City’s KDHE Revolving Loan for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Dustin Avey, Financial Advisor with Piper Jaffray, addressed the council stated that between now and when we could do the re-financing the rates may change but that he projects we will be able to reduce the current rate of 3.04% to approximately 2.08% by refinancing.  Avey stated we will not be changing the term, but we would have more flexibility by refinancing and that it could mature earlier.  Avey stated the industry standard is a present value savings of 2% to 3%.  Avey stated that because this is a KDHE Loan for a sewer project there is more of a process involved in refinancing it.  Malone asked how refinancing would affect our debt limits.  Avey stated that since it is a sewer project it would be exempt from our debt limits.  Williams inquired about the financial commitment.  Avey stated there would be no financial commitment unless the council chooses to refinance. 

           

            Kevin Cowan, Bond Counsel with Gilmore & Bell, stated that if the city chooses a Home Rule action in pre-paying these loans you have to make sure you are not violating any existing state statutes.  Cowan stated you have to look at the process you had when you originally issued the bonds.  Cowan stated we would either have to do it by charter ordinance or by holding an election, but due to time constraints he is recommending a charter ordinance.  Cowan stated KDHE water loans are easier because they have that legislation in it but that the sewer loans do not have the same provisions. 

 

            Huddleston stated the charter ordinance states that we are exempt from K.S.A. 12-621, but other than the dollar limitations what else is in the statute that we don’t like.  Cowan stated the notice and protest provision.  Huddleston stated he is not comfortable removing the protest provision for future projects.  Huddleston asked if it can be written into the ordinance to raise the dollar limits but leave in the protest provision.   Wallace agreed that we should not take away the public’s right to protest.  Keefer noted in the last situation with regard to the WWTP we were told that we had no choice and had to do the project by KDHE.  Wallace stated he doesn’t want to put this one thing in there that affects the citizens’ rights in the future.

 

            Malone inquired about the original loan amount.  Keefer stated it was approximately $9.5 million and that we are 10 years into the loan.  Wallace made a motion to table this item.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.  Malone stated he would like the ordinance to include a protest period but have an exemption to paying off any existing loans.  Huddleston added increasing the limits to $1.5 million.  Cowan stated it is usually tough to beat the rate of a loan rather than issuing bonds.  Huddleston stated if we are reaching capacity then shouldn’t we be getting more in fees than we were when it was first built.  Keefer stated we are actually getting less in fees because people have learned to conserve in the winter to keep those fees down for the rest of the year.

 

Change Order:  Council considered approval of a change order with Bryant and Bryant Construction for Street Sales Tax Maintenance Repair projects.  S. Jones stated the cover letter said it is the amount of $93,637.33 but that the second page of the change order says $99,702.10.  Keefer explained that this change order is only adding $21,262.50 and that the $93,637.33 is the amount of the change order approved with APAC at the last meeting ($72,374.83) and the amount being considered for Bryant and Bryant now ($21,262.50).  Keefer stated the $99,702.10 is the new contract amount with this change order for Bryant and Bryant.  Malone made a motion to approve the change order with Bryant and Bryant Construction in the amount of $21,262.50 for the Street Maintenance repairs.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.  Keefer asked Goedecke when the project will start.  Goedecke stated APAC started the patchwork today and Bryant and Bryant plan to start November 1st and are supposed to be finished December 15th.

 

Kelly/Ohio Project:  Council considered approval of an agreement with Allied Laboratories to conduct field tests as part of the Kelly and Ohio Intersection Project.  S. Jones asked if we received an analysis from Allied on the single sample they took.  Goedecke stated we have not.  Malone asked if there had been a filling station or something else there in the past.  Keefer stated there used to be a grocery store where Stockton Memorial is but that no one is aware of a gas station or underground storage tank.  Keefer stated it could be a heating oil tank, that several of those were located during the Streetscape project.  Malone made a motion to approve an agreement with Allied Laboratories to conduct field tests as part of the Kelly and Ohio Intersection Project.  Rawlings seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.  S. Jones asked when the tests will begin.  Goedecke stated the tests will be completed in 10 days and that the results should follow shortly.

 

Frisco Railroad Right-of-Way: Council reviewed and discussed the Survey for the old Frisco Railroad Right-of-Way.  Goedecke stated all of the descriptions had to be rewritten because there was a difference between what the County and the City showed for descriptions.  Goedecke stated that the biggest problem that was encountered had to do with an encroachment of a fence and a building on the south side of Thunder Road and adjacent to the refinery property.  Goedecke stated he spoke to David Alfaro with the County and the plan is for the County to give the property with those structures on them to the adjacent property owners and the remaining right of way will be given to the city.  Goedecke stated the Senior Citizen Center parking lot also encroaches onto the railroad right of way, as does a portion of the Augusta Saw and Mower fence.  Goedecke stated the owner of Augusta Saw and Mower had a survey done before the fence was built, but that the monuments were not the same as those used during Goedecke’s and those monuments are no longer there.  Huddleston asked if these two other encroachments will be handled the same as the two mentioned before.  Goedecke stated they will not be handled by the County.  Huddleston asked if the fence will have to be moved.  Goedecke stated the City can make an agreement with the property owner that the fence can remain in its current position.  Wallace asked if after a certain amount of time, doesn’t the property become his.  Mr. All stated that adverse possession occurs at 15 years.  Huddleston asked why the County would not release this encroachment like the others.  Keefer stated we didn’t ask them to, but if the Council desires we could ask them to address this one as well.  Huddleston stated if the County is willing to do that with some why not do it to all to put the issue at rest.  S. Jones stated she thinks Huddleston’s request is the reasonable thing to do.  Malone asked if the County isn’t willing to do this, couldn’t the City do the same thing.  Keefer stated we could do a quit claim deed. 

 

            Huddleston asked if there are other encroachments.  Goedecke stated there is a small encroachment for a fence off Walnut.  Williams asked if it is necessary for us to do anything with these small encroachments.  Mr. All stated the council just needs to decide how important it is to have them move the fence or deed it to them.  Williams asked if the fence can’t just remain where it is without doing anything else.  Mr. All stated he has been involved in several adverse possession cases and that the council may want to resolve it now.  Wallace stated just let them get a quit claim deed now to avoid a legal dispute later.  Wallace asked how many of these types of encroachments there are.  Goedecke stated maybe five total. 

 

            Huddleston stated that when the senior center was built they were well aware that it wasn’t their property, where the others did not know they were encroaching on property that wasn’t theirs.  Williams asked for a consensus on whether to include the senior center in the request to the County about the encroachments.  The consensus was not to include the senior center in the request. 

 

            Reavis asked if the right of way thing is an all or nothing deal.  Reavis stated the only benefit he sees for the city is the waterline and utility easements and that he thinks the trails are a “pie in the sky” type of a deal.  Reavis asked if there is an advantage for the city to have property all the way down into the refinery.  Keefer stated the original discussion included a little piece of right of way into the refinery, but we could ask the County to keep that piece.  Williams stated she sees no advantage to the city to have that right of way.  Reavis stated it would not have any benefit with the new levee.  Rawlings asked if could be used for a future ball park.  Keefer stated it would be too far west for that.  Huddleston asked if we could sell this property in the future.  Keefer stated we could sell it as is.  Wallace stated he disagrees with Reavis and thinks it would be prudent for the city to keep that portion.  Williams stated she believes we need to move forward with creating trails.  Keefer stated he has heard people say they would like to have a path to the river.

 

            Wallace made a motion directing staff to prepare a letter to the County requesting them to move forward with clearing the encroachment of a fence and a building on the south side of Thunder Road and adjacent to the refinery property and the Augusta Saw and Mower fence.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Malone asked if the railroad wanted to reactivate the line if they could and Keefer said yes.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Final Comments:

Rawlings – Rawlings stated he had a phone call from a citizen who was upset that the city did not personally notify him that we were increasing his water rates and that the utility office told him they had gotten several calls and told him to call his council member.  E. Jones stated she had spoken to that person and told him that a notice was delivered to his door and that it indicated the governing body was considering a conservation fee.  E. Jones stated that she told the person that the fee was set by the governing body and if he was upset by the fee he could contact his council member.  Rawlings stated he explained to the person that the fee is a penalty to reduce water usage.

 

Reavis – Reavis stated the County’s minutes said their health insurance costs are dropping and asked what we are doing wrong that ours keep going up.  Keefer stated that the County has a very active wellness program that helps reduce costs, but that prior to this year they have had a couple of years with big increases.  Reavis asked if we are going to discuss a wellness program.  Keefer stated we have and will continue to do so.  Keefer stated he doesn’t know the cost of the County’s wellness program.  Williams stated there are a variety of brokers that could assist with this.

 

            Reavis stated he would be in favor of making the transition to electronic agenda packets.  Childers stated he has begged for that since he came on to the council.  Malone asked if Keefer saw how the packets are delivered.  Keefer stated you can use a thing called “drop box”, use a pdf, or many other options that are available.  Keefer stated either way there would probably need to be some training.  Keefer stated he is not sure of the cost involved, but we will be in the minority in the near future with paper packets.

 

S. Jones – Jones asked Shaw if the sanitation committee will be meeting again before the work session.  Shaw stated they would not, but that they would be at the joint work session.  Shaw stated the council instructed staff to provide more information on privatization.  S. Jones asked if the committee had any input in the information included in this report.  Shaw stated they did not.

 

Adjourn:  At 8:30 p.m. Wallace made a motion to adjourn.   Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.      

 

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