DECEMBER 5, 2011
The Council of the City of Augusta, Kansas met in regular session on December 5, 2011, with Mayor Kristey Williams presiding. Council present were Holly Harper, Matt Childers, Sue Jones, Mike Rawlings, Ron Reavis, and Matt Malone. Councilmen Michael Huddleston and Michael Wallace were absent. Also present: City Attorney David All, City Manager Bill Keefer, Assistant to the City Manager Josh Shaw, Human Resource Manager Angela Casper, Santa Fe Lake Caretaker Rod Davis, and City Clerk Erica Jones. Visitors present were: Kent Bush, Linda Archer, Joanna Tillman, BJ Tillman, Louis Perez, Dana Perez, Larissa Deaver, Lyle Clark, Sharon Forrester, Terry Haynes, Gorden MacPhail, Gary Rogers, Myrna Rogers, Bill Savage, Ron Coppeck, Bruce McEllis, Jay Anglemyer, Keith Ayotte, and John Black.
Prayer: Pastor Paul Andrews, Life Church, gave the invocation.
Minutes: Harper made a motion to approve the minutes from the November 21, 2011 meeting. Reavis seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
November (11A): S. Jones inquired about the payment to California State University for Education. Keefer stated it was a class for a wastewater treatment plant operator and included the course and books. Keefer stated the course assists with their training and obtaining their certification. S. Jones inquired about the payment to Solomon Corporation in the amount of $14,513.88. Keefer stated it was for several transformers. Reavis made a motion to approve Ordinance 11A in the amount of $952,823.87. Harper seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
The Council recognized Linda Archer for 25 years of service with the City of Augusta and Louis Perez, Lyle Clark, Sharon Forrester, and Joanna Tillman for 10 years of service.
City Engineer RFQ: Council reviewed and discussed revised Request for Qualifications document to be used to solicit proposals from engineering firms to serve as City Engineer. Keefer stated the blanks in the document need to be filled in with dates. Keefer stated that a committee made up of him, S. Jones, Rawlings, and other staff will review the proposals that are received and will make a recommendation to the council. Malone asked if we move forward on this when the proposals will have to be back. Keefer stated January 6th. Reavis asked if that is enough time with the upcoming holidays. Keefer stated he will be sending them out this week which will give them almost a month to return their proposals. Reavis asked how it will be sent out. Keefer stated by mail. Keefer stated he has a list of firms and contact names and that the Wichita Business Journal just recently published a list of all the engineering firms in the area. Reavis made a motion to approve the Request for Qualifications document to be used to solicit proposals from engineering firms to serve as City Engineer and to set the deadline for the proposals as January 6, 2012. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Utility Abatements: Williams stated the council held a workshop prior to the council meeting to review and discuss the abatement applications. Williams stated the applicants were as follows: Augusta Arts Council (Theatre) $8,500, Augusta Arts Council (Gallery) $1,500, Augusta Chamber of Commerce $1,700, Augusta Community Caring Center $3,200, Augusta Historical Society $4,000, Augusta Public Library $22,000, Augusta Senior Center $3,500, Kansas Museum of Military History $4,000, and Mid-Kansas CAP $8,000. Reavis made a motion to approve the abatements as read and to continue to provide free service to the Augusta Girls Softball. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Developer’s Agreement: Reavis stated the wording in Section 1a. and 1b. of the agreement implies that all of the improvements will be done at Wal-Mart’s expense. Keefer stated that Section 1 states that “…except as otherwise specifically provided:” and section 1b. states “In order to improve and extend Lulu Street….at the City’s sole cost and expense…”. Reavis stated that some of the paragraphs say at Wal-Mart’s sole cost and expense and others do not. Keefer stated the first sentence under Section 1 covers that. Keefer stated that with the exception of extended Lulu at our request all other improvements are at the cost of Wal-Mart. Terry Haynes, representing Wal-Mart, stated that is correct. Haynes stated the project is moving along and is on schedule. Haynes stated they are still working on the time frame, but want to present the plans after the first of the year. Reavis asked if the bids will be open for local contractors. Haynes stated Wal-Mart has a group of general contractors they work with and that it is up to them but Wal-Mart encourages them to hire local sub-contractors. Childers made a motion to approve a Developer’s Agreement with Wal-Mart for a new store that is proposed for the SW corner of 7th and Lulu Streets. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Employee Health Insurance Program: Keefer stated that Human Resource Manager Angela Casper spent a lot of time working with several companies to come up with this plan. Keefer stated we are looking at using the cost savings to develop a wellness plan, but that it is a work in progress. Keefer stated the plan is to create a employee committee to help develop the wellness program and to gain support for the plan. Williams stated there had been some discussion previously about using a broker, but that there was not enough time this year but it could be considered in the future. Malone stated he was not aware of what employees paid for the plan and that he was shocked by the amount. Malone stated this is a very good benefit for the city’s employees. Keefer agreed. Keefer stated that other private businesses are able to pay their employees at a higher rate, and this insurance benefit helps offset that while ensuring that our employees have health coverage. Keefer stated that employees did not pay any premiums six to seven years ago. Keefer stated each year moving forward our employees will have to pay more and more out of pocket, but hopefully the wellness program will help keep those costs down. S. Jones asked if dental, vision, and life insurance is paid 100% by the city. Keefer stated it is and that he can provide that premium information at the next meeting. S. Jones stated the wellness program is a step in the right direction. Reavis stated several businesses have made hiring conditional on no tobacco use. Reavis asked if that is something we could do. Keefer stated that would be up to the governing body. Reavis made a motion to approve the City’s proposed 2012 Employee Health Insurance Program. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Wichita Model Railroad Club: Council considered approval of a new lease agreement with the Wichita Model Railroad Club for space in the old Fire Barn. Gorden MacPhail was present representing the Wichita Model Railroad Club. S. Jones asked MacPhail why they refer to themselves as the Wichita Model Railroad Club as opposed to the Augusta Model Railroad Club. S. Jones stated that troubles her. S. Jones stated she also finds the amount of the rent troubling and that this is a five year lease troubling. S. Jones asked MacPhail to explain what they do in their meetings and what community service they provide. MacPhail stated they can change their name to the Augusta Model Railroad Club and that there membership is open to the public. S. Jones asked what they have done in terms of providing community service. MacPhail stated they are open to the public on the first Saturday of every month. He stated they assist local Boy Scouts in obtaining a badge and they give tours to various groups. MacPhail stated they would like to improve their PR. S. Jones agreed they need to get the word out. MacPhail stated they have a website but couldn’t recall the site address. Williams asked them to provide their website information and asked if they have any signage. MacPhail stated there is signage on their door.
S. Jones asked if the rent basically just pays for utilities. Keefer stated for the most part it does but did not last year, but that they have taken measures to improve their usage including a programmable thermostat. S. Jones inquired about last year’s utilities costs. Keefer stated he thought it was around $1,400, most of which was incurred in three winter months. MacPhail stated they are working on insulating it better and that they have taken aggressive steps to reduce their usage. MacPhail stated they are reading their meter monthly to monitor their usage and programming the thermostat to keep usage down.
S. Jones stated she would propose extending the contract one year and challenging the Club to do a better job of getting out into the community. Harper agreed but stated she would recommend two years. Williams stated that with all the time and investment they have put into that she would rather see two years. MacPhail stated they were open to an annual review. Reavis asked if the original agreement was for five years and MacPhail answered yes. S. Jones stated this is city property and she would like to see that the city in general benefits from them being there. Malone stated he would be in favor of an annual contract that would allow us to make changes if necessary.
Reavis stated this space is city-owned property but that this is a club that needs long range planning. Reavis stated he wouldn’t want to see them to continue to improve that space and then lose their lease. Reavis stated a five year agreement would still work if there is an annual review. Mr. All stated there is a termination clause in the agreement. MacPhail stated a five year lease gives the club time to plan and upgrade the model railroad. He agreed that they should have an annual review of their utilities and if they are not meeting the requirements then the lease can be terminated. S. Jones stated her concern isn’t the five years but the use of city facilities. She stated that if we are going to continue with the lease there needs to be something done to make it a community asset. Williams stated they are occupying a space that would otherwise be vacant and if the choice is between using the space in a healthy and educational manner rather than keeping it vacant she would choose using the space. Rawlings stated he thinks the five year lease with an annual review is a good thing.
Reavis made a motion to approve the new lease agreement with the Wichita Model Railroad Club for space in the old Fire Barn. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried with S. Jones and Malone voting in opposition. MacPhail thanked the council and invited them to visit the Club after the meeting.
D & J Engineering: Council considered a request from D & J Engineering to allow for an encroachment in a dedicated alley right-of-way. Reavis asked if this unit was part of a building project. Keefer stated it is a new HVAC unit that was part of an upgrade to one of their buildings. Reavis asked if a permit was required. Keefer stated it was but that they didn’t get it until after the fact. Rawlings stated certain parts that are produced there require certain temperatures. Rawlings stated they add units to maintain temperatures for those parts. Reavis asked who is responsible for the trees. Keefer stated that D & J Engineering is responsible for maintaining them. Williams stated the trees may pre-date the buildings. Malone made a motion to approve a request from D & J Engineering to allow for an encroachment in a dedicated alley right-of-way. Reavis seconded the motion. Rawlings asked if there would be any cost for preparing these documents. Keefer stated there would not be. Motion carried without opposition.
Bid: Reavis made a motion to approve a bid from Mid-America Power Sports in the amount of $9,265.90 for a utility vehicle for Santa Fe Lake. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Ohio/Kelly Project: Rawlings made a motion to approve an agreement with Land Acquisitions, Inc. for real estate acquisition services related to the Ohio and Kelly intersection project. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Special Alcohol Grants: Harper made a motion to approve a special alcohol grant in the amount of $500 for Youth Leadership Butler and $2,500 for The Family Life Center Safehouse and to approve increasing the maximum amount for a Special Alcohol Grant to $5,000 beginning with the 2012 Grant Application Process. Rawlings seconded the motion. W. Jones asked if The Family Life Center Safehouse would come back and request an additional $2,500 would it be approved. Keefer stated it would be difficult to get the request in and approved at the next meeting, but that he would contact them. Motion carried without opposition.
Harper made a motion to approve allowing The Family Life Center Safehouse to apply for an additional Special Alcohol Grant in the amount of $2,500 for 2011. Rawlings seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition. Keefer stated that the limitations on how those funds can be used only allow for certain organizations to be qualified to receive those funds.
Public Hearing: Reavis made a motion to schedule a public hearing for 7 PM on December 19, 2011 to consider amendments to the 2011 Budget. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Reavis – Reavis referenced the November 22nd Butler County Board of Commissioners minutes and Commissioner Woydziak’s comments that the County has given up authority to a governing body that is not elected by the constituents. Keefer stated we have established a growth area and we have the authority of planning oversight granted by state statute. Keefer stated the zoning is relegated to the County, but we have an inter-local agreement with the County allowing us to have zoning oversight of the growth area as well. Keefer stated he believes Woydziak may be referring to the Planning Commission who isn’t elected, but that the County has authority to disapprove their recommendations. Keefer stated we should have input and oversight on what happens in the area surrounding us where we may at some point grow into the area. Reavis asked if the County reviews the proposed changes first. Keefer stated yes and that the Planning Commission has to have a super majority to overturn the County’s position. Keefer stated he will follow up with Will Johnson at the County regarding these comments.
Childers – Childers asked Keefer if he had been contacted about the issue related to the sewer backups. Keefer stated he has heard from one of the property owners.
Reavis – Reavis referenced the Wichita storm water situation and EPA requirements and asked if that is something we need to start looking at. Keefer stated that because of our location we do not come under those EPA requirements. Shaw stated that the requirements are two-part and tied to location and population. Shaw stated we are not part of the metro area and we have not met the 10,000 population threshold. Shaw stated we are years away from it happening, but it is an eventual thing that we will fall under the requirements. Reavis stated we need to keep in our minds that we will need to address this in the near future. Shaw stated that most of the requirements have to do with monitoring.
Reavis stated we broadcast our council meetings on our local channel and asked what it would take to stream the meetings live on our website. Shaw stated money. Williams stated the quality of the video on the cable channel is not good. E. Jones stated you could post the videos on YouTube and put those on the website, but they would not be live and not the greatest quality. Shaw stated that live streaming would require upgrades to some of our equipment due to space and speed requirements. Shaw stated there are a number of vendors out there and that he can research it further if that is something the governing body is interested in. Reavis stated it would be a way to have more community involvement. Childers stated we are getting ahead of ourselves. Childers stated he thinks we need to improve what we have now and work our way in to that. Shaw stated that you can go independent or have an outside group that can handle that for us. Williams stated we need to fix the volume problems. Keefer stated part of that problem is not using microphones. Williams stated that those at home wanting to weigh in on this issue need to contact their council members.
Executive Session: At 8:20 p.m. S. Jones made a motion to enter into executive session for 5 minutes to consult with the City Attorney on matters that would be deemed privileged in an attorney-client relationship. Harper seconded the motion. Rawlings and Malone abstained due to conflict of interest.
At 8:27 S. Jones made a motion to exit executive session with no action being taken. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Adjourn: At 8:28 p.m. W. Jones made a motion to adjourn. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.