The Council of the City of Augusta, Kansas met in regular session on March 4, 2013, with Mayor Kristey Williams presiding. Council present were Matt Childers, Michael R. Martin, Michael Huddleston, Sue Jones, Mike Rawlings, Ron Reavis and Matt Malone. Councilman Michael Wallace was absent. Also present: City Attorney David All, City Manager Bill Keefer, City Inspector Dan Allen, Assistant to the City Manager Josh Shaw, and City Clerk Erica Jones. Visitors present were: Kent Bush, Gary Rogers, Myrna Rogers, Dustin Avey, Jeff Best, John Bowman, Debbie Bowman, John Black, Willis Wilson, Larry Henry, Rachel Cain, Even Cain, Willis Wilson, Mark McCollom, Mark Sudduth, Randy Johnson, and R.C. Sandifer.
Prayer: Councilman Mike Rawlings gave the invocation.
Minutes: Reavis made a motion to approve the minutes from the February 19, 2013 meeting. Rawlings seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
February (2A): S. Jones inquired about the training received from the Lyon County Sherriff. Keefer stated it was the annual Sherriff’s spring training and that a representative from the Augusta Department of Public Safety attended. S. Jones asked if the payment to Utility Contractors is the balance of what is owed to them. Keefer stated we are still holding $10,000. He stated the last change order will be on the appropriation ordinance for the next meeting. Rawlings made a motion to approve Ordinance 2A in the amount of $1,202,793.50. Reavis seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Downtown Augusta, Inc.: Holly Ross, Executive Director of Downtown Augusta Inc. requested the closure of the 500 and 600 blocks of State Street on Saturday, May 4th for their Second Annual Women’s fair. Malone asked if there will be any changes from last year’s event. Ross stated she hopes there are more vendors. Malone made a motion to approve the closure of the 500 and 600 blocks of State Street on Saturday, May 4th for DAI’s Second Annual Women’s Fair. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Wal-Mart: Jeff Best, landscape architect with Law Kingdon, presented a request on the behalf of Wal-Mart for accommodations to the City’s watering restrictions as it pertains to the installation and maintenance of their landscaping. Best stated they have made a shift from fescue to bermuda grass and are changing 25% of their plant material to more drought tolerant plants. He stated the establishment period is tricky and while they will apply for the 30 day watering permit it may not be enough. Best stated they are looking at watering 3 acres and that there are 23 zones that will run 15-20 minutes each. He stated they will use a high efficiency drip system for the trees and shrubs. Best stated they are also asking that if the city fully restricts outdoor watering they are asking to be allowed to keep their drip system going. Williams stated she would prefer to see landscaping versus cement and asked how often they would be using their drip system. Best stated they could use it within the restrictions once they get past the 30 day permit. Williams asked how a conservation fee would be assessed to Wal-Mart since it is usually based on a winter average and that location has not had any winter usage. Keefer stated it would be difficult to establish and would depend on the timeframe.
Rawlings asked if they are landscaping 3 acres. Best stated they have 3 acres total of landscape area. Rawlings stated a typical residence is a ½ acre lot so the Wal-Mart property could be considered to be 5 or more commercial lots. He stated their watering in April and May would not be an issue but could be in July and August. Keefer reminded the council that the school district watered within the restrictions and the 30 day permit and had to truck in any excess water needed. Rawlings asked Best about the use of a well. Best stated one was used for construction but there wasn’t enough water. Huddleston inquired about the possibility of holding off the planting for one year. Best stated Wal-Mart would be willing to look at that but that we don’t know that the water conditions will be better next year. Williams asked if they considered planting the grass this spring and waiting to plant the trees and shrub until the fall. Best stated that he hadn’t thought of that but there may be merit to that. Williams stated it might be a safer option. Huddleston stated the water demand might be lower at that time.
S. Jones asked Best if they had considered hardscaping as opposed to what we are accustomed to in this area. Best stated we may be too far down the road to do that but it would also depend on what the city would want to see out there. S. Jones stated she is concerned that there is so much uncertainty and with the citizens would be upset that Wal-Mart can put in a lawn but they can’t. Malone stated he would be in favor of granting them the permit the school district got and then they would have to truck in more water if it was needed.
Best stated they are mandated by the State to cover the dirt in a permanent fashion. Williams stated this will be an investment for the whole community and the corridor. Best stated because the site is so large they will not be able to complete a full water cycle in two hours. Huddleston stated he doesn’t have an estimate on how much water they will need. Dan Allen asked Best why they could not do the front in sod and buffalo seeding in the back and along the dike. Best stated it would not be in their best interest as far as the establishment period because it has to permanently covered per the state. Williams inquired about the dormancy period of bermuda grass. Best stated they would not pull the permit until it was out of dormancy and that would be dependent on temperatures. Reavis asked if more than one zone can be run at a time to lower the watering time. Best stated that some could but that there is only a 2 inch main line so that would lower the water pressure. Huddleston asked if the sod is a drip system. Best stated it is not.
Williams asked Best how they would move forward if the city does not provide a permit beyond the two hours of watering per day. Best stated he did not know. Childers stated he would hesitate to act on this given the city made the school district hold off and given that our current situation is worse than it was last year. Malone stated that during the construction Wal-Mart trucked in water and asked if that would be feasible for watering. Best stated it would be up to Wal-Mart. Best stated to apply time limits to watering regardless of size isn’t equitable in his opinion since they would not require more water per square foot. Williams stated that would make sense if we had an equitable water supply. She asked if it would be possible to table the item and Wal-Mart could look at their options.
Huddleston asked for clarification on what exactly they are asking for. Best stated they are asking to be able to use their drip system for watering regardless of whether the restrictions change and looking for more than 2 hours of watering time per day during the permit period. After surveying the council Williams stated it looks like the council has decided to have Wal-Mart adhere to the current policy. Keefer stated that the current drainage plan was based on all 3 acres absorbing rain and if it is hardscaped it may affect the drainage. Best asked if it would be acceptable to put off planting trees and shrubs and whether they would get an occupancy permit if they put it off. Keefer stated that the city would work with them on that.
Watering Restrictions: Council reviewed and discussed the City’s Watering Restrictions and related issues. Keefer stated he has seen articles in the Wichita Eagle about Cheney Lake running out of water in 2015 and that Wichita is looking at their options for water resources. He we need to be paying attention to our interest in the water from the City of El Dorado because he is concerned about what Wichita pulling 30 million gallons a day would do to the supply. Malone stated he noticed Mulvane’s usage is considerably higher than it was this time last year. He stated we might ask them when or if they will turn their wells back on. S. Jones asked if we are still looking into a water authority with them. Keefer stated Willis Wilson is working on that study.
Wage and Benefit Survey: Council reviewed and discussed the City’s Wage and Benefit Survey. Angela Casper stated she prepared a wage and benefit survey from neighboring cities. She stated she compared mid-points, health benefits, and paid leave plans. Malone stated he would like more time to look at this and made a motion to table this agenda item for a future meeting. Childers seconded the motion. S. Jones stated she understands the City of Wichita is included because we’ve lost employees to them, but that she thinks it has skewed the results. Casper stated that removing Wichita would reduce the total average by about 2% under mid-point, but that most of the positions were fairly comparable with the exception of upper level staff position. Malone thanked Casper for her work and stated this was a lot of information to compile. Reavis inquired about the total cost if this scenario is accepted by the council. Casper stated it would cost around $10,000 to bring those below the pay scale into the pay scale by giving an additional $0.25 raise per year. Huddleston asked if “better opportunity” translates to more money. Casper stated it does. Huddleston stated if you are comparing pay categories and benefits, the City of Wichita has a different retirement system. Casper stated she did not include any pensions in the survey, only pay scales, health benefits, and paid leave. Huddleston stated some of our employees receive other retirement benefits and asked if we should look at that. Casper stated that would almost be impossible to do without hiring an outside consultant to do that. Childers stated he didn’t notice anything comparing total compensation. Huddleston asked if the council will receive revised reports with the City of Wichita removed. Casper stated she could provide a summary of that information or per classification. Malone asked that it be emailed to the council instead of reprinted. Childers stated that since the City of Wichita is a direct competitor he doesn’t know why the council would want to exclude them. Huddleston stated if you are a small employer you can’t compete with them. Childers stated that was no reason to ignore the information. Casper recommended pulling out the staff positions and leaving the line employees in the survey. Keefer agreed it would be reasonable to remove the top key staff and upper management member positions from the City of Wichita. Motion to table carried without opposition.
Downtown Design Codes: The council decided to develop a committee made up of S. Jones, Malone, Keefer, Dan Allen, and Mark McCollom to review the downtown regulations and to bring back a draft with recommendations for the council at a later meeting.
429 State Street: A Public Hearing was conducted to take input on the request for a “Waiver to Distance Limitations” for 429 State Street per Section 3-306(b) of the City’s Code of Ordinances. John and Debbie Bowman addressed the governing body about the event business they are planning for this location. J. Bowman stated they are looking at revitalizing the building and turning it into an event center that hosts events where there may be a demand for serving liquor. D. Bowman stated there will also be an event rental supply business located upstairs. Huddleston asked when they plan to be ready to operate. J. Bowman stated they plan to be open by the end of 2013. He stated they are in the process of obtaining contractor bids and then will move forward with financing and then construction. He stated they did have the building registered as a historical building. Reavis inquired about the occupancy. J. Bowman stated they are planning for 200-250 occupancy.
R. C. Sandifer, Pastor of Trumpets Of Yahveh Ministries, addressed the council and stated he objects to the use of the building for alcohol purposes. Williams asked Sandifer when their church took occupancy on State Street. Sandifer stated it was 20 years ago. Williams asked if a conditional use permit was required back then. Keefer stated it was not. Huddleston stated he always understood that you cannot prevent a church from moving into any area. The Public Hearing was closed.
S. Jones made a motion to approve the Waiver to Distance Limitation for 429 State Street per Section 3-306(b) of the City’s Code of Ordinances. Malone seconded the motion. Reavis asked the Bowman’s if they will require security on site during events. J. Bowman stated they will. He stated they will not have events on a daily basis. Malone asked how far the other two bars are from the church. Dan Allen stated they are all within the 200 foot limit. Allen stated that this request is for the purpose of selling the alcohol, but that even without this waiver anyone could bring alcohol in to the events. Motion carried with Rawlings voting in opposition.
Neighborhood Revitalization Plan: A Public Hearing was conducted to take input on the renewal of the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. Mark McCollom addressed the council and stated he is in support of the NRP Program. He stated that if not for the program a lot of the projects south of Kelly would not have happened. He stated he would like to see the dollar amount cap increased.
Randy Johnson addressed the council and stated the NRP program he likes best is the 10 year program south of Kelly. He stated he has done several remodels and plans on doing more. Johnson stated he would like to see the 5 year program north of Kelly reinstated and the cap raised as well.
Mark Sudduth addressed the council and stated he thinks the NRP program south of Kelly is one of the smartest things the council has done for revitalization. He stated it has been a really good sustaining factor for our community. Sudduth stated he does not see any viable reason for not continuing the program south of Kelly. The Public Hearing was closed at this time.
Williams stated that several years ago Eric Grooms came to the council and showed that it only took 1 ½ years for Augusta to get it’s money back from this program. She stated that no matter what the council decides the program will have to be presented to three other entities. Williams stated that there has been a change in the County Commission and Commissioner Palmer is no longer in support of this. Williams stated she thinks this is a great program and would like to see it continued south of Kelly indefinitely, but not north of Kelly. Malone stated the council would be foolish not to extend what we have now for the next year and then start to phase it out north of Kelly. He stated that would give the builders time to prepare and if there is an expiration date on the program it might spur some growth. Huddleston asked if there is any detailed report that shows what will be hitting the tax rolls each year. Keefer stated the amounts are included in the valuations because it is a rebate program and that we receive an annual estimate of those amounts from the County. Huddleston asked if we can show over time how much it is actually helping our valuation because of the NRP. Keefer stated he can provide the assessed value of improvements for each year. Huddleston stated he thinks this is a good program for what it was originally intended for and that it improves the valuation of the entire neighborhood. He stated it was expanded recently and that we may need to scale that back at some point to get back to what it was originally intended for. Childers stated it works for what it was originally intended for, but that a couple of years ago we perverted the original plan. He stated he was willing to support it in its current state for one more year.
Childers made a motion to approve Ordinance 2048 adopting a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan and Designating a Neighborhood Revitalization Area and repealing the Plan as adopted by Ordinance Number 2033. Huddleston seconded the motion. Malone stated that over the next year sometime he will bring back something to the council to phase out north of Kelly. Williams stated possibly ending it completely for north of Kelly. Motion carried without opposition.
Malone made a motion to approve Resolution 2013-03 authorizing and directing the Mayor to execute a new Interlocal Agreement with the Board of Butler County Commissioners, Unified School District #402 and Butler Community College. Rawlings seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Water System Improvement Financing: The City’s Financial Advisor, Dustin Avey, addressed the governing body. He stated there were temporary notes issued in 2011 to fund the Spillway/Dam and Levee projects. Keefer stated funds have been set aside for silt sedimentation and restocking of the lake, but after that there will be approximately $200,000 left over in the project fund. Avey stated we are looking at issuing $900,000 in general obligation debt for the Spillway/Dam project when the temporary notes mature in September and when all the work is completed. He stated since the Levee project will not be complete by September he would recommend rolling that temporary debt over for one more year. He stated that would also allow the effect on the mil levy to be spread over two years instead of all at once. Avey stated the second item that needs to be considered is the funding for the Water Supply project. He stated he is in the process of looking at a long term funding analysis for the entire Water Supply project and will bring that back to the council at a later date. Avey stated the refinanced water bonds allowed for the restructuring of the bonds in 2014 and he will include the new sales tax revenues and water rates for the analysis. Avey presented the council with a mil levy analysis and said that the document should help with the 2014 budget process for the mil levy. He stated it gives some perspective for how future projects may impact future mil levies. Keefer stated the Bond and Interest fund is subsidized by a transfer from other funds to reduce the mil levy. He stated when we first got started on this 3-4 years ago it was estimated that the debt for these projects would require a 4-6 mil increase but it may end up slightly better than that.
Malone asked if the information on the Water Supply System projections came from Willis Wilson. Keefer stated it did and that Avey is including items 1-8 in the temporary financing of the Water Supply project. Avey stated there will be a full year of sales tax receipts prior to when the permanent debt will need to be issued which will give a clearer picture of what those receipts will be. Malone asked Avey where he has seen interest rates go since the first of the year. Avey stated from the first part of December to the end of January rates went down and then they went up the first part of February. He stated they are holding steady right now. Avey stated he needs direction from the council that this is the direction the council wants to take. He stated he will have documents for consideration by the council at the next meeting.
Rawlings made a motion authorizing the City’s Financial Advisor and staff to move forward with the paperwork to issue temporary notes for the Water Supply Project, to extend the term of the Levee Project Temporary Notes for one year, and the issuance of General Obligation Bonds for the Spillway/Dam project. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
One Million Gallon Water Tank Repairs Bids: Willis Wilson, Aqua Tech Engineering, stated there was good bidder participation and the bids ranged from $513,770 to $560,000 which was higher than the $450,200 engineer’s estimate. He stated he got with the low bidder to figure out where the pricing differences were between their bid and the engineer’s estimate. Wilson stated what drove the price up were the painting costs. He stated that instead of the $5.00 per sq ft he estimated they came in at $12.50 a sq ft. Wilson stated the low bidder worked the hardest to get the city’s business, so he chose to negotiate with them. He stated they said the schedule was a big issue and that they could not meet the schedule so their bid included $7,000 in liquidated damages for exceeding the schedule. He stated Caldwell Tanks offered to change the project schedule to 105 days for the tank to be out of service, use a conventional urethane coating system on the outside tank wall instead of the specified epoxy system, and change how the tank accessories are fabricated so less field work is required. Wilson stated the revised bid from Caldwell Tanks included the offered deducts is $472,520.
Malone inquired about the life expectancy of this tank if the repairs are made. Wilson stated if it is kept painted it could live on into perpetuity. Malone asked what the time frame would be if the council decided to install a new tank instead of repairing this one. Wilson stated the time would be a non-issue because the old tank would be kept in service until the new tank was on line. Rawlings stated he is looking at the time scenarios related to taking this tank out of service. Williams asked when the project would start. Wilson stated it could start tomorrow and would be complete at the end of June. S. Jones stated according to Wilson’s memo a new tank would cost $621,000 versus the $507,000 for the rehab of the existing tank. She stated recoating the old tank every 10 years for the next 30 years could make the price exceed $600,000 over the long term and asked if we would be better off procuring a new tank instead of rehabbing this one. Wilson stated no. He said the $621,000 would go up in price and we wouldn’t get any part of it back until it reached 10 years. Martin asked if the tanks are the same sizes. Wilson stated they are. S. Jones stated she wants to make sure the council is not being short sighted and just taking the lease expensive route. Keefer stated there have been a lot of conversations about this and if we had the money he would prefer a new tank, but that we don’t have funds available for a new tank.
Williams stated we’ve delayed this project once already but she is concerned about it being out of service into the summer. Wilson stated that because of the painting requirements you can only do it this time of year. Martin asked how old this tank is. Keefer stated it was built in the mid 50’s. Williams stated the worst case scenario would be that we would only have 2.5 million gallons of water per day for the entire city. Childers stated this makes the point as to why we should not have granted changes for Wal-Mart.
Williams inquired about the chance for human error while the tank is out of service and what impact that could have on the system. She asked if this is going to be difficult for our staff to handle. Wilson stated he believes it is completely doable. Rawlings stated the tank was taken out of service 20 years ago for about 30 days and the staff at that time was able to do it. Malone made a motion to approve the bid from Caldwell Tank in the amount of $513,770 and to approve a deduct change order in the amount of $41,250. Reavis seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Sanitary Sewer Line Repairs: Larry Henry with MKEC engineering stated that Mayer Specialties was hired to televise the sewer lines and that they determined the sanitary sewer line under the Kelly/Ohio Intersection need to be replaced. Henry stated it would be prudent to look at those and make the repairs before starting the Kelly/Ohio project. He stated we are under a time crunch to get the repairs completed before the street work starts in late May. Reavis asked how this will impact traffic. Henry stated it will impact traffic during the repairs. Keefer stated the water line repairs will also be done during that time frame. Reavis asked if the city’s crews will be repairing the water line. Keefer said yes. Williams addressed the community and stated there will only be about 1 ½ months of hassle-free driving at the intersection of Kelly and Ohio before people will have to find a different route.
Rawlings made a motion authorizing the repair of the sewer lines in and around this intersection as part of the Kelly and Ohio Intersection Project. Childers seconded the motion. Motion carried without in opposition.
Malone made a motion to approve an Engineering Services Agreement with MKEC for the design and construction inspection services for the School Street Water Line replacement project. Rawlings seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
School Street Waterline Replacement – Engineering Agreement: Larry Henry, MKEC Engineering, stated the School street project was put off from 2012 to 2013 to review the utilities first and it was found that the water line is in need of repair. Rawlings asked Henry if he has referred to the water study MKEC prepared for the City several years ago. Henry stated he had not and that he was not aware that they had done one. Reavis asked if anyone has contacted the gas company about repairs in this area or in the area of the Kelly/Ohio Intersection project. Keefer stated the gas company has already done all of their relocating at Kelly/Ohio but that he was not sure about School Street. Reavis made a motion to approve and Engineering Services Agreement with MKEC for the design and construction inspection services for the School Street Water Line replacement project. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Annexation Public Hearing: Rawlings made a motion to approve Resolution 2013-04 scheduling a public hearing for Monday, May 6, 2013 at 7 p.m. to take input on whether to annex two tracts of property located adjacent to the City of Augusta. Childers seconded the motion. S. Jones recalled that the last time the council went through this the Planning Commission opposed it. Keefer stated they questioned whether it complied with our comprehensive plan. S. Jones asked Keefer if he thinks this will happen again. Keefer stated he does, but that we have to ask them per the statute. S. Jones asked if they have to approve it. Keefer stated no. Motion carried without opposition.
KS Dept of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Grant Agreement: Williams publically thanked Myrna Rogers for her hard work in obtaining this grant. Huddleston stated this is a reimbursable grant and asked if we have to come up with that funding. Keefer stated it will be set up as a project fund which will go into the red but we will reimburse ourselves. Shaw stated that the time frame for reimbursement is short. Reavis made a motion to approve an agreement with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for the LWCF Grant for the Garvin Park Playground. Malone seconded the motion.
Williams asked when we can expect to see this completed. Shaw stated that staff has three or four park designs in hand but there are several questions about how the bid process will work if we are getting bids from the vendor who helped write the specifications. He stated there are also questions regarding the Davis Bacon Act and that staff is waiting for several responses from the State. Keefer stated staff is waiting to see if the city can work under the State’s bids for playground equipment since they already comply with the federal regulations. Huddleston asked at what point the Park Board will be involved. Keefer stated staff is working toward that goal. Motion carried without opposition.
Web Streaming and City Hall Camera Equipment: Council reviewed and discussed the draft RFP for Web Streaming and City Hall Camera Equipment. Williams stated that she like Shaw’s recommendation that we can provide day after viewing of the meetings at little to no extra cost and later consider budgeting for a full upgrade. Huddleston asked if there is only one vendor for that. Shaw stated this is not the only vendor that offers this type of equipment but he consulted with them since they installed our current system. He stated they provided and estimate so Shaw would have information for the council, but if we went that route we would bid that project. Williams stated staff found that usage of live streaming was very minimal. Huddleston stated in the past he has inquired about keeping the VHS tapes and that staff has said that it is recommended that you don’t keep them. E. Jones stated that is correct. She stated the archived videos of the meeting would not be an official record of the meeting and could not be used to change the minutes after they were approved. She stated that is the reason why cities have been encouraged not to keep the second record. E. Jones stated that if the videos were archived she would strongly recommend the minutes be reduced to recording only the official action and motions of the council and not the discussion. She stated the archived videos would contain the discussions if there were questions.
Attorney General Settlement Agreement: Council reviewed and discussed the draft Settlement Agreement with the Attorney General’s Office. Williams asked Mr. All if he asked about what would happen if the council didn’t all sign the agreement. Mr. All stated he tried to contact the Attorney General’s office starting on Friday and left messages but did not hear back from them. Huddleston stated item #7 should be changed from County to Council. S. Jones stated if the County Attorney sends a letter about the council completing training and his displeasure in not being brought into the discussion then she doesn’t see any reason to deal with this agreement. S. Jones made a motion to table this item. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.
Informational & Final Comments:
Huddleston: Huddleston inquired about item #4 and whether it was originally a drip hose. Williams stated it was not originally but has been changed to one. Huddleston asked who is KS DCCCA. Shaw stated it is an independent contractor that will observe the use of seat belts. Huddleston asked if we pay for this. Shaw stated it is paid for by the State.
Williams: Williams asked where you can get an application for the Adopt A Pot program. S. Jones stated it is on the city website and at Downtown Augusta Inc, and has to be submitted to Downtown Augusta Inc. Williams congratulated Brian Alfaro for helping us get the Tree City USA designation. Malone asked what the designation does for us. Keefer stated it gives us access to trees and the designation shows we are working towards preserving trees. Williams stated it is a blue ribbon for the city.
Adjourn: At 9:38 p.m. Reavis made a motion to adjourn. Malone seconded the motion. Motion carried without opposition.