City Council Briefs
City council approves development plan
After considerable discussion Monday night, Tonganoxie City Council members approved the city's comprehensive plan, Vision 2020.
Council member Kathy Graveman said she took exception to some language in the strategies section of the proposed plan. She asked to have additional time to review that portion of the plan.
However, city staff members said the plan must be approved by May 6, so the city doesn't lose a $5,000 federal grant that was used to fund some of the work on the plan.
If the council had made changes at Monday's meeting, the plan would have been sent back to the Tonganoxie Planning Commission, which would have returned the plan to the council for final action.
Council member Pat Albert said he didn't believe the language in the section was objectionable.
"You might say they're nit-picky, but I've gotten bitten before," Graveman said. "We were told site review was a guideline, but it's a bible now."
She was referring to the city's Site Review Committee, which makes recommendations on new development to the planning commission.
After about 30 minutes of discussion, council members agreed to approve the plan.
In October, the mayor will appoint a task force to review the plan and make recommendations for changes to the city council.
Firm to complete salary review
During the next few months, a Kansas City, Mo., firm will review salaries of Tonganoxie city employees.
City Administrator Chris Clark said Monday night that when he was hired he was asked to undertake a review of salaries and that some concerns have been raised about the competitiveness of city salaries and benefits.
Council members agreed to pay $7,000 to Labor Management Advisory Group for the salary review, which also will include training on sexual harassment prevention.
Steve Cohen, partner in the firm, said he will develop a compensation plan for the council to consider. It's likely he'll look at compensation packages of at least 15 cities and firms to arrive at the city's proposed plan.
"By having an outside person do them, objectivity is built into that," he said.
City continues work on housing codes
City council members agreed Monday night to move forward with adoption of new housing codes for Tonganoxie.
The need for updated codes was underlined Feb. 14, when a fire broke out at a local apartment complex. Following the fire at Cedar Ridge Apartments, residents raised concerns about electrical problems, as well as other maintenance problems, they'd been having.
City council members said they wanted to ensure that area builders and subcontractors were aware the city plans to consider adoption of the new codes.
"I think we need to give them six months, or something like that," said Tim Pinnick, city building inspector.
The city also is considering adoption of state fire safety guidelines.
City stands to lose tax pass-through
If the Kansas Legislature takes no action to make up its revenue shortfall, the city could lose some funding, according to City Administrator Chris Clark.
Presently, the city receives about $2,600 from an alcohol tax, about $20,000 in city-county revenue-sharing and about $90,000 from the special highway fund.
Clark said some of that funding could disappear if state lawmakers do not raise other taxes to handle the shortfall.
At Clark's request, the council agreed to adopt a resolution urging lawmakers not to make cuts in those fund transfers, saying the loss of money would interfere with city services and possibly mean a local property tax increase.
City administrator plans census appeal
City Administrator Chris Clark thinks the federal government made a few errors in the 2000 Census.
"I do believe they may have left a few of the blocks outside the city limits," Clark told city council members Monday.
If that's true, Tonganoxie has about 2,800 residents, rather than the 2,728 residents the 2000 Census says it has. In addition, he said growth of about 180 people has occurred in some local subdivisions during the year since the census counts were made, which would bring the city's present population to about 2,980.
He said he plans to request that the government correct the errors.
Council reschedules second May meeting
Tonganoxie City Council members handled several housekeeping tasks Monday night.
Because the city council's second meeting in May falls on Memorial Day, council members decided to meet a week earlier, on May 21.
Mayor John Franiuk appointed new council members to serve as liaisons to local city boards. Steve Gumm was appointed to the library board, and Emmett Wetta was appointed to the tree board. Council member Pat Albert, who had been tree board liaison, now will work with the recreation commission. The council members are non-voting members of the boards.
Franiuk also signed a proclamation declaring Friday as Arbor Day in Tonganoxie.
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