Archive for Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tonganoxie City Council action

June 14, 2006

A review of events from Monday's Tonganoxie City Council meeting.

City contributes to 24-40 corridor study
Tonganoxie city council members voted unanimously to contribute $19,679 toward the U.S. Highway 24-40 corridor study, which the Mid America Regional Council is spearheading.
Bucher, Willis and Ratliff will be conducting the study. The Kansas Department of Transportation, MARC, Leavenworth County and the city of Basehor also are contributing toward the estimated $250,000 to pay for the study.

Planning commission vacancy filled
John Morgan has joined the planning commission. Tonganoxie council members, by a 4-0 vote, selected Morgan as the newest member of the planning commission. He replaces Mike Weston, who resigned last month. Steve Gumm was absent at Monday's meeting.

Council approves sale of fireworks
The council unanimously approved four fireworks permits, two for Sacred Heart Catholic Church, one for Project Graduation and one for Happy Helpers 4-H Club. The council also voted to donate $100 to each of the groups to cover the city's permit fee, which is the same amount.

Police wages among lowest in area
Police Chief Kenny Carpenter and Fire Chief Dave Bennett spoke to the council about budget increases to pay their department personnel more money. Also, they'd like to increase the starting salary for new officers and firefighters in hopes of competing with salaries of area cities.
"We are the lowest paid in the entire Tonganoxie area," Carpenter said. "Somebody has to be at the bottom but the problem is the gap is getting bigger yearly."
For instance, Tonganoxie's starting pay for an officer with no experience is $11.87, while in Baldwin, which has a similar population, the starting pay is $15.22 per hour. For an officer with experience, Baldwin officers are paid $17.06, while Tonganoxie officers earn $12.17.
Council member Jason Ward said Tonganoxie "is right on the cusp of competing with some of these communities."
Because of available funds, he said the city couldn't make a big jump in wage increases currently. But, he hoped the council could work at the present time on ways to retain officers. The council took no action on the matter.
Council members will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers for a work session to discuss the capital budget for 2007 and the five-year capital plan.

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