September 21, 2020 Commission Meeting Minutes
GOODLAND CITY COMMISSION
September 21, 2020 5:00 P.M.
Mayor John Garcia called the meeting to order with Vice-Mayor Aaron Thompson, Commissioner Jay Dee Brumbaugh and Commissioner J. J. Howard responding to roll call. Commissioner Gary Farris was reported absent.
Also present were Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, LeAnn Taylor – Municipal Court Judge/Clerk, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Neal Thornburg – Water/Sewer Superintendent, Frank Hayes – Chief of Police, Danny Krayca – Parks Superintendent, Brian James – Fire Chief, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Andrew Finzen – City Manager.
Mayor Garcia led Pledge of Allegiance
Commissioner Farris reported to meeting.
- Lincoln Wilson –Lincoln Wilson, representing Flatlander Festival stated, the 2019 program was a great success. We had twenty-two vendors and estimated crowd at 5,500. We estimate 40% of the crowd are local residents. We had the first BBQ kickoff and 1,000 visitors in park on Sunday. We regret to inform you after some lengthy discussion and research, the 2020 event is cancelled. However, we continue to have ongoing expenses with insurance, marketing, website, etc. We are asking for continued support toward fixed costs in the amount of $1,800 and ask Commission to use remaining amount toward those in community that need assistance.
- 09/08/20 Commission Meeting Minutes
- 09/16/20 Special Commission Meeting Minutes
- Appropriation Ordinances: 2020-18, 2020-18A, and 2020-P18
ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Thompson to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Commissioner Howard. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
- Ordinance 1733: Corner Lot Setbacks – Andrew stated, Commission reviewed ordinance last meeting and recommended no changes. Ordinance loosens regulations for corner lots to comply with existing building lines of both streets or if no existing line, recommend fifteen foot setback. ON A MOTION by Commissioner Howard to approve Ordinance 1733: Corner Lot Setbacks seconded by Commissioner Farris. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0. M
- Ordinance 1734: Uniform Public Offense Code 2020 – Andrew stated, Commission reviewed ordinance last meeting. This is the annual ordinance for public offenses committed in the City of Goodland. Mayor Garcia stated, LeAnn gave a good overview last meeting. ON A MOTION by Commissioner Brumbaugh to approve Ordinance 1734: Uniform Public Offense Code 2020 seconded by Commissioner Howard. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
- Resolution 1568: Changes to Cemetery Rules and Regulations – Andrew stated, this recommendation is by Cemetery Board who met to discuss changes. There was an incident a few weeks back with three burials scheduled one hour apart which creates congestion and tight timelines for the caretaker and grave digger. The recommended change is in Section H, items 11 and 13, changing to two hours between burials and requiring the Funeral Director’s to coordinate schedule with the caretaker. Anything related to cemetery is pretty delicate and two hours clears confusion. ON A MOTION by Commissioner Brumbaugh to approve Resolution 1568: Changes to Cemetery Rules and Regulations seconded by Commissioner Howard. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
- Topside Aquatic Incentives – Andrew stated, Shannon Cure requested an extension of incentives at last meeting. Topside Aquatics is asking for a six month extension of incentives or a discounted rate on a permanent basis. Staff does not recommend a permanent rate at this time. We have a concern the at cost rate is too generous and City does not cover our expenses. The at cost rate is calculated as the cost we buy electricity for but we still have fixed costs. If incentive is extended, we prefer it not be at cost. Commissioner Howard asked, when was the last rate study conducted? Andrew stated, it has been several years. Commissioner Howard stated, I feel we need to look into at study for both the electric and water utility. Mayor Garcia asked, Dustin can you do a study? Dustin stated, some information can be done in house but most of the work needs to be done by a professional. Right now we are actually selling more electricity; I thought we would see a drop with COVID. I feel it is going to continue to increase with new motel, 24/7 remodel and new houses being built. A true rate study needs to be done professionally. Andrew stated, the issue if you do an internal study, what is the validity if you find costs too low. An outside entity is beneficial. Dustin stated, the electric department helps subsidize other departments. Commissioner Howard stated, if you offer extended incentive rate for one, you are going to have everyone come in for another six months and opening a can of worms. Commissioner Farris stated, may not have another virus like this. They went a long time being closed and maintained. I feel we should help them, it is a good thing for community. Commissioner Howard asked, what other businesses are on the meter? There are office spaces rented out there. Thompson stated, everything off that side is running off one meter, but Topside Aquatics is paying the bill. Mayor Garcia asked, what kind of arrangement is that? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, can we get two meters put in for other businesses? Dustin stated, that would be at property owner’s expense. If we are giving incentives away we need to make sure it is for the business, not additional businesses on the meter. Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, what is incentive for property owner to bear cost? Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, we would have to cease incentive and Topside Aquatics would have to approach landowner. Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, what is cost to add another meter? Dustin stated, anywhere between $1,000 and $4,000, depending on internal wiring needed. Might be cheaper to put transformer on south side of building. Mayor Garcia stated, the Commission needs to decide what adjustment we want for Topside Aquatic’s rate and how to address meter situation. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I do not like the idea of other businesses getting incentive given to a business. I still like idea of a different rate, like add to large commercial, which is at a cheaper rate. I do not like the at cost rate because we will have people wanting same incentive. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I do not want to penalize Topside Aquatics for how service is hooked up. Whether it is a business or non-profit, it is an incentive to get people in community I recommend the incentive only for a startup business. For non-profit and businesses, the first year is important to get business started. The point is, incentives should only be available for a startup business, not an existing business. This will prevent people requesting same rate. Dane Hansen Foundation gave $75,000 in grant money to project and I do not want to be on the side of not supporting a Hansen project. They had problems with COVID and having the wrong pool sent. It will be hard to survive if charge full rate on electricity. The business needs to be there. They need to get through the first year to see how survive. I wish we had a number for what additional costs will be to determine a rate less than the full retail rate. I am in favor of helping through first year then they need to figure out what to do. I do not want to see their doors close and the City not support a Hansen project. A different rate may not be as much of a discount, but anything will help them out. When they were shut down they did not get full benefit of incentive. Commissioner Howard asked, what is cost they were charged? They were probably closed two months so let’s extend two months with an adjusted rate. Dustin stated, to date they received about $5,000 in incentives. Commissioner Farris stated, 90% of the bill is for Topside Aquatics because the offices do not use much. Dustin stated, when the economic development committee is putting together incentive packages I do not want electricity to be at our cost. When it comes to budget time you say budget is tight but we choked the City by giving electricity away at cost. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I agree we need to look for a different way to offer incentives. Dustin stated, I reached out to other municipal utilities, Colby does not do anything like this. They pull back a little on rate, but still get labor costs. Russell does not offer anything like this. I am just trying to make it fair. If a downtown business is struggling because of COVID and they come in, what is Commission going to do? Commissioner Howard asked, what is City ratio now with rate offered? Dustin stated, electricity costs at retail was $11,000 and they received about $5,000 discount so a little less than 50%. Mayor Garcia asked, is the twelve will get you six still in operation? Andrew stated, this incentive was a means to do away with the twelve will get you six because that program was money out of City pocket. We thought this incentive was easier on City. Mayor Garcia stated, we want to do incentives but need to find what will work for City. We need to determine a middle number that would benefit. Extending incentive two months will give us time to find a rate that would benefit. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, Dustin is asking new economic development committee to come up with incentives outside of using electric incentives. Mayor Garcia stated, they will offer new incentives but if we formulate an electric rate they need to stand with it. Dustin stated, with our Sunflower Contract we are held at a higher rate. KMEA indicated we can get cheaper power but that is over four years away. If you have a rate for new business incentives, it needs to be a solid number because fluctuation in costs is difficult to do in billing. Mayor Garcia asked, what does Commission think about extending incentives an additional two months? Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, there were a lot of businesses that had a tough two months with COVID and I have a problem with the other tenants getting the discounted rate. It is not right. Mayor Garcia stated, that will have to be addressed. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, that was not the intent of incentive, I do not like it either but I do not want to penalize Topside Aquatics. I agree extending incentives an additional two months. Mayor Garcia stated, I agree with two month extension but we need to address what solid rate should be. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I would like to consider incentives for non-profits at a rate of nine cents. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I am fine with that too. Dustin stated, at the rate of nine cents, we are still making money. We cannot do it at cost. Someone has to come up with number. If you have rate study you can create own rate but the study will cost money. Commissioner Howard stated, I would like a study done. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I agree. Commissioner Howard stated, we need to see what a study will cost us. Mayor Garcia stated, we need to contemplate a rate study and bring back as discussion item. ON A MOTION by Commissioner Brumbaugh to extend the electric incentive for Topside Aquatics at cost for two months; during this time period we evaluate rates to determine a rate offered for incentives for startup businesses seconded by Commissioner Farris. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I will vote for the two month extension but after that the rate needs to be sorted out and the other businesses in building need to be off this meter. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
- Accessible Parking Spaces on Main Street – Andrew stated, Brian reached out to Ray Petty, Great Planes ADA Center Technical Assistance Coordinator on this issue. Handicap parking must be maintained on public streets and signs need to be in center of stall to be in direct sight of driver. It can be placed on the building but does not advise sign or stall be moved. Commissioner Howard stated, we need to keep stall and sign where they are. Vice-Mayor stated, there are other blocks on Main Street that do not have good handicap parking. For next meeting can we have a map of handicap spots on Main Street to evaluate?
- Transfer of Property at 1008 Main Ave – Andrew stated, Ben Schears had staff from NWKT College in building at 1008 Main. Property has been under discussion for some time. The agreement has been to transfer ownership to the college and they would utilize classes to proceed on building. The college is interested in moving forward and feel best way to proceed is to transfer ownership to NWKT College. Mayor Garcia stated, in the future they want to hold endowment association there. Andrew stated, yes they have plans for an event space and sell merchandise. The biggest problem with the building is it is beyond profitability for a private business. Commissioner Howard stated, you are talking about giving the building to them. You want to give something away and I wanted to buy property from the City and you turned me down. I think this should be put out for bid. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, when the building was purchased was the intent for college to end up with property? Why did the college not buy the building? Andrew stated, the City purchased it because the City had previously abated the roof on structure and assessed cost to taxes for building, which allowed us to forfeit that cost. Any purchaser would have to pay for the abatement so it was a way around the abatement. Mayor Garcia stated, the previous Commission had the choice to demolish the building which would have left an empty lot on Main Street and gain no taxes. This was way to make it a viable building on Main Street. No community wants a Main Street with a vacant lot. The previous owner put us through the ringer to purchase the building. Andrew stated, the Commission’s concern with property was that someone would buy it and just sit on it because investment to make it better was so high. Commissioner Howard stated, if that is the case we need to put deadlines on the transaction. I have a problem giving it away when my offer to purchase lots from the City was not even considered. You did not even ask questions to see what I wanted. Mayor Garcia stated, having a history on the situation, I understand where you are coming from but this has been an ongoing conversation with the college to allow them to fix building. up. You wanted to build on lots and one of the concerns was Topside Manor could require more space. I continue to be in favor to transfer building. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, Ben was here and discussed using property for classes or applications but they have always been involved. Even if they took their time to get it remodeled. It sounds like their plan has changed. Commissioner Farris stated, when we put the roof on, I do not remember the college was even mentioned. Andrew stated, that discussion took place before the purchase of the building. We had concern about the nature of the building so we put a roof on. The college became involved when we took ownership of the property. Consensus of the Commission is to bring Ben Schears to next meeting for discussion. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I feel the City should not have purchased the building in the first place; I agree with Commissioner Howard in that the property should be put out for bid. I do not think the City should be controlling the market with real estate. If we have invested interest we should get rid of it the right away and let people bid on it. Mayor Garcia stated, it will be good to bring Ben to next meeting for discussion.
- SPARK/MOU with Sherman County – Andrew stated, we received word from the County that Sherman County SPARK request was funded and City will receive about $30,000 in funds. In order to receive the money we must have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County. Funds are for the reimbursement of costs the City has incurred during COVID. We included costs to stream meetings, PPE purchased, direct aid items like touchless hand dryers for City facilities. I have no concern with MOU. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, we were going to do the streaming equipment so not sure why it should be covered. The MOU states that as of today there are no positive cases but we have had positive cases. Do we need to include official number from County? Andrew stated, I can make that change to MOU. ON A MOTION by Commissioner Howard to approve Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) removing the language on zero cases in Sherman County seconded by Commissioner Farris. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
- City Manager – 1. The Economic Development/Chamber of Commerce/ CVB Board have met and are working with legal counsel to form a 501(c) 3 to move forward. The Board has a good direction and intend to put together an Inter-local Agreement for both Commissions to review in near future. 2. Street Department continues work on GAC alley. 3. We have a couple request for bids out: 1521 Kansas demolition, Tree Abatement and Internet and Telephone Service contracts. All requests are on website and advertised in the paper. Mayor Garcia asked, on the bids for Internet/WIFI is anyone bidding besides Eagle and S& T? Andrew stated, AT&T is interested and we heard Nex-Tech, was interested but uncertain. We feel S& T and Eagle will be the main bids. Mayor Garcia asked, what is bid for? Josh stated, the original contract with Eagle was telephone/internet bundled with one year extension and we used the additional year. This bid request separates internet from telephone to make it easier to bid. We are not expanding, just asking for same services. Andrew stated, we see internet speeds going up with costs coming down. Josh stated, yes that will be a change. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, why are we asking for five year contract? There is a lot of change in cost year to year. Josh stated, there are changes but basic service stays same. We have massive bundles that we have to deal with and changing them every two to three years is additional stress and burden. We need stability, not the latest and greatest. Mayor Garcia asked, have you heard back about complaints on sewer smell we heard about last meeting? Andrew stated, we are still looking into it. There is a lot to figure out there.
- Fire Chief/Building Inspector – Brian stated, we continue to wait to get pumps and aerial tested. We need to do residual testing on hydrants for ISO. I am losing two good fireman to Wichita Fire Department. They are the two that saved the elderly lady and child from fire structure. I talked to County Commissioner Topliff, the County Attorney lost documentation for merger of Fire Departments, so that will be pushed back. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, our City Attorney has been involved with this, should he not have copies of documentation they have been working with? Andrew stated, Jake did not have information pertaining to the merger. It was going to be a County Department, the County needed to create merger documentation. We provided information but did not create documents. Mayor Garcia stated, Jake’s only responsibility was to provide description of City assets but merger contract was not finalized. Information was sent to County but we have not received anything back from County. Brian stated, I will have to submit information again, adding equipment we have purchased since information was provided, then review replacement costs. The Chief vehicle has been ordered. Dan Brenner indicated with COVID, delivery will be a couple weeks longer. Our department is on pace to have over one hundred calls this year, currently sitting at ninety calls. In Building Inspection Department, I completed final electrical inspection on main floor at Holiday Inn Express. They are continuing with painting and putting in furniture. Electrical Contractor wants final inspection of entire building later this week. I received plans for 24/7 and been answering questions from outside contractors to get licensed in Goodland to work on project. We are down on roof permits this year. Many properties with weed nuisances in past went up for tax sale and property is being maintained by new property owners, so our revenue and costs for mowing are down. Commissioner Farris asked, on the demolition bid is a permanent office required, or is that something new? Brian stated, it has always been in the bids. Andrew stated, that is to help with local bidder preference.
- Director of Public Power – Dustin stated, my crews have good crew leaders in Lukas Wolak and Chris Douglas. At the power plant the spill prevention measures are being updated. We continue with general maintenance and cleaning. They are working on unit #13 catalyst and exhaust elements. Looking like may have to replace catalyst. Unit #7 had a water leak so did maintenance and its operating. We are working on monthly reports. Chris found a problem with unit #3 exhaust which is a 1938 unit. It has rusted out with age, but determining if structurally sound to lift unit out to weld. Our compressor issue has been addressed and we are spraying weeds in the yard. The Line Crew had two guys attend underground school in August and three more attending overhead school later this month. The Apprenticeship program is going well and our guys are ahead of schedule. We are working with USD 352 on track lighting project, finished alley upgrade from 5th to 8th Streets between College and Walnut and finished a service request for a service update. This is time of year for tree trimming to get line clearance. I worked with radio station last week on a power source for the movie and vendors last weekend. Mayor Garcia asked, do you think we can lift the engine out and do welding? Dustin stated, Chris is a good welder; we just need to get engine to a place we can safely weld. The engine is so old it is not listed on our insurance so we are trying to determine if feasible. It also is not listed on our capacity listing. If we replaced it, we would not replace with same size, but bring in more efficient unit that we could run more when we are get another power contract. Please feel free to stop by plant.
- Parks and Recreation Director – Danny stated, we continue daily park checks, pick up trash, maintain equipment, mow and weed eat. Just finished fall program and put down two ton of fertilizer. With first frost we will be doing herbicide spraying. We are trying to get everything winterized by Halloween then do tree trimming. During inclement weather we do maintenance and servicing on equipment. When you talk about the Parks Department, it is more than the City Parks. We are grounds keepers for all City facilities so we keep busy. The Water Park has been winterized. For the Recreation Department the company is coming to recondition the tennis courts. We have groups gathering to play pickle ball at Chambers Park, GAC is hosting flag football at complex, playing basketball on West School courts, grade school is using Phillips Park and JR/SR High is using Steever Park. We have a group that wants to repaint shuffle board at Chambers Park. Mayor Garcia stated, congratulations on your promotion. Danny stated, please visit our shop across from City Shop.
- City Commissioners
Vice-Mayor Thompson – 1. In spring we postponed city wide clean up, any discussion to do in fall. Andrew stated, we paused it with COVID as not sanitary environment at this time. Staffing issues also make it difficult. Mayor Garcia stated, staff is also working on alleys and sidewalks. There is quite a bit of work to complete this fall. What is left to do in alleys? Andrew stated, they are still working on alley behind GAC and doing alley behind Hallmark. Right now the concern is weather, time and staffing. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I would like this as a discussion item at next meeting.
Commissioner Brumbaugh – 1. No Report.
Commissioner Howard – 1. What are we short on employees? Frank stated, the Police Department just hired two, still have one position open. They both will go to the Academy November 9th. We made a conditional offer to another individual. Dustin stated, we made an offer to an individual, waiting on the physical. Neal stated, I am down two employees in water and Kenton is down two in Street and Alley. He has extended one offer. Commissioner Howard stated, I would like to thank the employees for all you are doing.
Commissioner Farris – 1. Things around town are looking good, everyone is busy.
- Mayor – 1. When we did Main Street project between 10th and 11th Street, there were some changes made but I thought the entire sidewalk should have been done. Since then there had been some people that have issues with the sidewalks. If they are willing to pay for material and guys are willing to help maybe we should look at getting them done? Andrew stated, we have had discussion; we need to decide ownership and cost share from property owner and how project fits into schedule. 2. How much would it cost to put lights in park for pickle ball? Dustin stated, lights were there and we took them out when Commission put in gazebo. It was a parking lot now a pickle ball court. It would not be that hard. The majority of cost is lights and poles. Commissioner Brumbaugh brought up same question on volleyball court. Might save money if use poles that we have on hand and the cost for LED lights are coming down. We have the poles to finish Highway 24 project but need time to place them. It can be done just need to find time. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, can we also look into lights at skatepark as well? Dustin stated, even if bought new poles, I would estimate costs to be $5,000 at each location using two poles. We can try to have this as a late fall-early winter project. Mayor Garcia stated, please bring us a cost estimate. 3. Can we have Dakota drive by 416 Main, there is a lot of stuff in yard? Commissioner Howard stated, another one is the vehicles parked on sidewalk on corner across street.
- Executive Session – Under the authority of KSA 75-4319(b)(1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnel – Mayor Garcia made a motion at 6:50 p.m. to recess into executive session under authority of K.S.A.75-4319 (b)(1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnel not to exceed twenty five minutes. I request only the Commission be present. Commissioner Brumbaugh seconded the motion. MOTION carried by a VOTE of 5-0. Meeting resumed at 7:15 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Howard seconded by Commissioner Farris. Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m. Next meeting is scheduled for October 5, 2020.
ATTEST: John Garcia, Mayor
Mary P. Volk, City Clerk