Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

City Council Briefs

October 10, 2007

Post office petition gets 508 signatures

Downtown businessman John Evans wants to keep the U.S. Post Office in downtown, and he's got the signatures of 507 other people who agree with him.

At Monday's Tonganoxie City Council meeting, Evans shared the petition he's passed with council members.

In total, Evans spent about 16 hours -- a couple of hours in the morning and in the afternoon, Monday through Thursday -- asking customers walking into the post office for their signatures.

"I just like you to know that there is this many people interested in keeping the post office downtown," Evans told the council. "I would like for you tonight to make a motion with this petition that the city of Tonganoxie would like to have the post office stay downtown and the letter to be written by the city attorney and signed by the mayor."

There was some discussion about writing a letter to the U.S. Postal Service before the Oct. 22 council meeting. That's when Russ Rainey, project manager for the Postal Service, is slated to speak to the council about the post office plans.

"My only concern is that we haven't had the opportunity for him to stand in front of us so we can ask him questions " Council member Jason Ward said. "I would rather have that ability to ask him those questions and have him say there is no opportunity for us to have two post offices."

Ward said he did not want to tell the Postal Service to not build a new post office if there was a possibility of getting a new one and keeping one downtown, but if he had to make the choice he would rather the post office remain downtown.

Council member Jim Truesdell made a motion directing the city attorney to write a letter urging the Postal Service to keep the post office downtown. Council member Tom Putthoff seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

Fourth Street decision tabled

The council continued its struggle to finalize plans for the third phase in the Fourth Street improvements.

Brian Kingsley of BG consultants, the city's engineering firm, brought back new plans that took into account some of the concerns that had been expressed by the property owners on the south side of Fourth Street, where a sidewalk had been planned to be built.

The new plans had the sidewalk within existing right of way. To stay within right of way, the sidewalk would have to be put next to the back of the curb in front of Pat Sparks' land.

Sparks, who in the past has said he has given the city plenty of land for easements, told the council he would not give up any more land as long as it was possible for the city to build the sidewalk within the existing right of way.

Kingsley said he wanted to get people as far away from the street as possible and he wasn't sure if there would be any liability created from the city if it knowingly deviated from city regulations regarding sidewalks, although the plan still would be within state and federal regulations.

"We need to vote on this and get this done," Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal said. " I'm tired of talking about it; I'm tired of it. We're not getting anywhere with this. Let's just get this thing done and move on. We're just beating a dead horse with this."

The council tabled the issue until next week and asked the city attorney to look further into possible liability if the sidewalk is kept to the back of curb in front of Sparks' property.

Under a recommendation from the city attorney and after being presented a timetable for the completion of both the Fourth Street Phase III and Pleasant Street improvement projects, the council voted to shift funds from Fourth Street to Pleasant Street.

At the Sept. 24 council meeting, Tom Kaleko of Springstead Inc., the city's financial advisers, informed the council the city would have to pay income tax on money borrowed for the Fourth Street project that was supposed to have been used within three years.

The timetable presented for the council had the total number of project days for the Pleasant Street improvements at 130 and the total number for Fourth Street at 283. The city attorney advised the council to begin using the money immediately to avoid anymore income tax.

Additional money would have to be borrowed when Fourth Street is ready to move forward.

Fire ordinance requires Knox Box

Fire Chief Dave Bennett approached the council with a sample ordinance that would have the city adopt the 2003 International Fire Code, which includes a mandatory Knox Box for new businesses.

The Knox Box is a hidden, external lock box that would have a key to the business so firefighters would not have to break into a building in the case of a fire.

Honey Creek gets trash bid

The city will have a new contractor for refuse removal beginning in January.

The council unanimously voted to accept a bid from Honey Creek Disposal Services Inc. to take over for Deffenbaugh Industries Inc. for the city's refuse removal.

Honey Creek's proposal stated that trash service would be $12.75 a month for weekly residential pickup. Each home would be provided with a 95-gallon container provided by Honey Creek. Any additional containers would be available for another $3 a month. A voluntary drop-off recycling site would be provided to the city.

Honey Creek also will include one bulk item pickup each month without additional cost, and yard waste would be picked up between the months of March and November with the possibility of yard pickup in the offseason after severe weather.

The city's current contract with Deffenbaugh ends Dec. 31. Deffenbaugh currently charges $10 per month for curbside pickup and had bid $13.17 for the same service next year.

Executive session

The council met in executive session for 10 minutes on matters of attorney-client privilege. No action was taken as a result of the session.

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