Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Council to pitch in on airport study funds

City to contribute up to $3,052 for FAA-required justification study for regional airport

February 13, 2008

With the money for a study now lined up, Leavenworth County officials now will look into viability of putting a regional airport in the county.

Monday night, the Tonganoxie City Council, approved pledging up to $3,052 for a justification study to build a new airport after listening to a presentation by Greg Kaaz, chairman of the regional airpark committee.

Kaaz said the Federal Aviation Administration would not allow the county to use a 1992 study paid for by the FAA.

"Although some things don't change, wind direction, some of the air traffic, too much has changed to be able to use it again," Kaaz said.

Kaaz estimated the study would cost between $50,000 to $100,000. The costs will be split among the county's different cities and the county itself.

The amount the city had to pledge was based on tax valuations and population. The county would bear a majority of the cost.

Mike Yanez, city administrator, said the money for the study would come out of the economic development line item.

The council voted 4-0 to pledge the money. Council member Jim Truesdell abstained from voting because of a potential conflict of interest involving his employer, HNTB, which may be bidding on the contract for the study.

In other business, the City Council:

¢ Unanimously approved a payment of $428,450 to Prosser Wilbert Construction for completed work at the new Tonganoxie swimming pool.

¢ Unanimously approved a payment of $217,215 to Combes Construction for completed work at the new public works building.

¢ Unanimously approved the special event application for the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15.

¢ Unanimously adopted ordinance 1251, which removes the third driving while suspended offense from the standard traffic ordinance. A third offense requires a 90-day jail sentence, which costs the city approximately $5,600. By removing the third offense from current traffic law, a third-time violator would be taken to Leavenworth County District Court. Mike Kelly, Tonganoxie city attorney, advised the council that the county has not been consulted regarding the ordinance. "If the county chooses not to prosecute this, there could be a loophole and we may have to revisit this," Kelly said.

¢ Tabled adopting an ordinance that would change the council meetings to the first and third Mondays of the month until the Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal could meet with Schools Superintendent Richard Erickson.

¢ Unanimously voted to contract BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, to design and estimate a cost for a skate park. The $7,500 contract calls for engineers to look at aerial photos of the proposed site south of the Tonganoxie High School fieldhouse, develop a layout and prepare three-dimensional drawings. More importantly it will let the engineers talk to local skaters on what they would like to see in the park, said David Hamby of BG Consultants.

"We typically do have that interaction with the skating community because they are the ones that are going to be using it," Hamby said. "If they have something out there they don't feel like they have part ownership in they may not use it as much or take care of it."

¢ Heard Yanez about a trip to Washington, D.C., that he and Truesdell departed for Tuesday. Yanez and Truesdell, along with Chris Donnelly and Steve Jack of Leavenworth County Development Corp., Scott Miller, Leavenworth city manager, and County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson will meet with U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, and Reps. Nancy Boyda and Dennis Moore to ask for support in county projects.

The city officials will be requesting funding for improvements on 14th Street. The estimated $2,993,875 project will add turn, passing and deceleration lanes near the intersection of 14th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40.

The city and the Kansas Department of Transportation will be funding $2 million of the project. Yanez and Truesdell hope to convince the federal officials to fund the remainder of the project.

"You don't know until you ask," Yanez said. "We are going to do our best to try to go sell it. What's good for Tonganoxie is good for Leavenworth County."

Truesdell has high hopes for their proposals, but he knows there is a lot of competition for funding.

"We just have to give the best presentation we can," Truesdell said. "What we are asking for is going to help the city, the county, the state. It's economic development, and we need economic development right now," he said.

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