Archive for Wednesday, April 19, 2006

City council briefs

April 19, 2006

Weather alert radios to be sold at city hall

Weather radios soon will be available for sale at Tonganoxie City Hall.

Chuck Magaha, emergency preparedness director for Leavenworth County, said Midland weather alert radios were available for the city to purchase to resell to residents. The radios, Magaha said, must be purchased in bulk -- in groups of 25.

Magaha said Lansing, Leavenworth and Basehor already are selling the radios.

"I think it is a great thing," Mayor Dave Taylor said. "I wish I had one."

Magaha instantly became a salesperson at the April 11 meeting.

"You could have one, for $29.95," Magaha said, eliciting laughter from the council.

That is the price other cities have sold their radios for, Magaha said.

The council agreed to buy 25 radios for $715.

Magaha said the radios, which receive their signals from the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Mo., provide beneficial warnings, day or night, not just of threatening weather, but also amber and terrorist-threat alerts.

The radios help residents become more "self-disciplined," Magaha said, when it comes to weather safety.

On Saturday, when Tonganoxie was in the path of severe weather, the city's outdoor warning siren did not go off, Magaha said Tuesday. Tonganoxie was without electricity, which affected the siren.

"Electricity was knocked out of town before the storm even arrived," Magaha said.

The siren did not sound properly April 5 when another storm was in the area. But Magaha said the siren was fixed Thursday and will sound -- if it has electricity.

Magaha hopes the county commission will approve five new outdoor-warning sirens in the coming weeks, one of which would be installed near the Leavenworth County Annex at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Laming Road. That siren would signal warnings for a 4 1/2 mile radius. The siren near city hall has a 3-mile radius.

Although the outdoor-warning sirens signal residents about severe weather, Magaha said the weather-alert radios provide the best warning.

The radios should arrive at city hall Thursday or Friday, Magaha said.

City administrator to attend conference

City Administrator Mike Yanez will attend the International City/County Managers Association conference Sept. 10-13 in San Antonio.

The council unanimously approved Yanez's trip to the conference, which he estimated would cost about $2,000. Yanez factored in airfare ($200), conference registration ($565), lodging ($800) and meals ($240) for the four-day event.

To accommodate expenses, Yanez said he reduced his participation in state and regional municipal conferences and did not ask to attend last year's national conference, which was in Minneapolis.

City prepares for BPU water line connection

The council met in executive session with local Realtor J.W. Evans, city attorney Mike Kelly and City Administrator Mike Yanez to discuss real estate acquisitions.

The city contracted with Evans as its appraiser for easement acquisition for a planned water line that will stretch from 142nd Street to Tonganoxie. The line will carry water from the Board of Public Utilities in Kansas City, Kan., to Tonganoxie.

"Process is being made," Yanez said Monday. "There's nothing at this point.

"As expected, with 68 property owners, it's a time-consuming process."

Last month, the council voted to authorize the city attorney to begin negotiations with property owners for easements along the path.

No action was taken during the executive session, which lasted 10 minutes.

Council approves repair of fire truck

A Tonganoxie fire department truck is out of service because the packing seal on the shaft that turns the water pump has failed. The council approved funds to fix the truck, at a cost between $4,000 and $6,000.

The truck, which required other major repairs two years ago, has fueled frustration for Fire Chief Dave Bennett. A seal failure damaged the truck and required a transmission overhaul of $10,000. Bennett said that in the future he would like to find a way to replace the truck.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved the final plat for Stone Creek phase six.
  • Agreed to amend the police department's budget for the lease-purchase of three 2006 Chevrolet Impalas for nearly $29,000. The vehicles would be purchased through Ed Bozarth Chevrolet of Topeka. The council approved the purchase, contingent upon a public hearing. Because the purchase requires a budget amendment, the city must conduct a public hearing, assistant city administrator Kathy Bard said.
  • Approved the carryover of 32 hours of unused accrued annual leave for City Superintendent Butch Rodgers. Council member Velda Roberts said she didn't want the carryover to become a common practice. She said she understood in Rodgers' case he was unable to take the time off because of his workload.

"I think that if we continually have this year after year in certain departments, we need to review those departments, for more help, part-time help, etcetera," Roberts said.

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