Archive for Wednesday, July 12, 2006

City Council Briefs

July 12, 2006

Search is on for industrial sites

Leavenworth County's economic development arm is looking for a few good industrial sites.

On Monday, Leavenworth County Development Corporation officials asked Tonganoxie City Council members to begin thinking about land in the area that would serve as the next industrial park. Currently, the county has two industrial parks owned by the Leavenworth County Port Authority -- one in Leavenworth and Urban Hess Business Park in Tonganoxie. Two other industrial parks are privately owned.

Lynn McClure, executive director of LCDC, said most lots in the existing parks are small -- 1.5 to three acres.

"We need larger parcels, 200- to 300-acre parcels," he said.

And so, LCDC now is working to target sites that it then will put through a rigorous review process.

"The idea is when you pick a site, we will score this site," said LCDC member Dan Gutshall. "Keep in mind, when we do this process, that the high score doesn't win, necessarily, because this is just the quality phase of the project."

The industrial sites also must be judged on economic feasibility. And politics will play a roll, Gutshall said.

The process will be time-consuming and lengthy. By 2009, Gutshall said, the development corporation hopes to make recommendations to the port authority on land for industrial parks.

"We're running out of ground, believe it or not, and large parcels are getting harder to find in Leavenworth County," Gutshall said.

Also on Monday, the city received from the port authority $50,000 the city had contributed toward construction of an industrial building in the Urban Hess park, which is east of Laming Road. Because of increases in construction costs, the port authority has decided not to construct a building at this time, McClure said.

Council to consider three sign proposals

At the council's next meeting, three sign companies will outline their proposals for signs at Tonganoxie's city limits.

The city solicited proposals, and 11 were submitted. The council then whittled that number to three.

And then, in what city attorney Mike Kelly called an informal poll, council members voted for their favorite among the three: Star Signs of Lawrence; Miller Sign of Basehor; and Eagle Monument of Linwood. The poll was taken outside of a public meeting.

At Monday's meeting City Administrator Mike Yanez asked council members if they would like the top vote-getter -- Star Signs -- to attend the next council meeting. Star Signs received three votes; Eagle received two votes; and Miller received one, according to Yanez.

But a representative of The Mirror newspaper asked how conducting a poll fit with the Kansas Open Meetings Act, which requires public bodies to conduct the public's business in open -- not through private polling.

Council member Velda Roberts said, "I didn't feel like when I was asked to say which style of sign I preferred that I was eliminating any one of three. ... I listed my preference."

But council member Ron Cranor said, "How can you not ask for all three people to appear? You can't ask one person to appear. If you're doing it this way, you've got to ask all three people to appear."

The council agreed representatives of the three companies would attend the July 24 city council meeting.

"I think we ought to give the vendors an appropriate time to make a plea for their product and then I think a motion can be made as to which group or company we want to go with, and we can do it that way," Cranor said.

Special meeting set on turnpike road

Council members set a special meeting for 7 p.m. July 31 at City Council Chambers, 325 Delaware, to discuss the city's response to the county's request for funding to help with planned improvements to Leavenworth County Road 1 between Tonganoxie and Kansas Highway 32.

The road improvements are necessary because the Kansas Turnpike Authority has agreed to construct an interchange on the county road.

County commissioners have pledged $8 million of sales tax revenue toward the project, which is estimated to cost $14 million.

In addition, the KTA likely will contribute, and indications are that the federal government will allocate some funding for the road. In the past, the city council had voted to contribute up to $2.8 million. But that vote came with numerous stipulations.

The county recently asked the council to make a firm commitment, and council members agreed to discuss the issue at the special meeting.

Mayor reappoints rec commissioner

Council members on Monday approved, 5-0, Mayor Dave Taylor's reappointment of LeAnn Bond to the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission.

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