Archive for Wednesday, January 2, 2008

City offers answers on Pleasant Street questions

January 2, 2008

Property owners who will be affected by the widening of Pleasant Street received answers to many questions about the project at Wednesday's Tonganoxie City Council meeting.

During the open agenda portion of the meeting, Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, presented to the council some of the findings he had after meeting with property owners along Pleasant Street about the street widening project.

Some of the main issues homeowners had about the new street improvements were speed limits and the placement of Westar Energy power poles and how the placement would affect trees.

Kingsley said during the meeting that the new poles would be about 11 feet back from where they are currently. Trees near the poles would have to be substantially trimmed to accommodate for a 10-year growth, he added.

Westar had offered to go with taller, vertical power poles with no T-arm. These poles would be farther away from trees but would cost an additional $20,000. Although the taller poles would give tree's more clearance Kingsley said he wasn't sure if the trees would have to be trimmed less.

Mayor Mike Vestal wanted Kingsley to find out why there was an extra cost for vertical poles on Pleasant Street when the installation of vertical poles on Fourth Street did not require an extra expense.

Council member Paula Crook and City Administrator Mike Yanez also wanted to make clear to Pleasant Street residents that the widening of the street would have no affect on the city's application for federal money for the Pleasant Street bridge replacement.

Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, said Tonganoxie Police Chief Kenny Carpenter checked the speed of 137 cars along Pleasant Street to see how fast people were driving. Carpenter found that the average speed was 27 mph and the highest speed was 38 mph. The current speed limit is 30 mph.

Bard said the police chief would continue to survey the speed along the street and bring the results to the council before a speed limit is set for the wider street.

In other business the council:

¢ Unanimously voted to approve the 2007 budget amendment. The budget items being amended were: the police equipment reserve fund for $6,100 instead of $6,000; $213,358 for the Tonganoxie Public Library instead of $201,293; $22,524 for library employee benefits instead of $20,431.

"Kathy did a good job," said Yanez about the city sticking to the budget. "If anybody wanted to buy anything I said 'go see Kathy and see if you can afford it.'"

¢ Unanimously passed a resolution to adjust the city's 2008 pay plan. Among the adjustments were: a $50 increase in the monthly salary to the city attorney to $400; a $100 increase in the monthly salary to the municipal court judge to $400; a $100 increase in the monthly salary to the city prosecutor to $400; a $200 increase in the monthly salary to the public defender to $400; $50 increase in the monthly salary to the animal control officer to $350. All other salaries remained the same from last year.

¢ Accepted the Planning Commission's recommendation and unanimously approved the final plat for Eagle Valley No. 4.

¢ Approved no more than $4,500 for the purchase of four street benches with matching trash cans to be placed along Fourth Street.

"I just don't see the need for them right now," said Council member Tom Putthoff. "If we are going to spend this money, I would like to see the signs coming into the city landscaped and lit up."

The money for the benches was coming out of the Alcoholic Liquor Fund used for beautification of downtown, and parks and the money could not be used on the highway monuments Bard said. Puthoff ultimately agreed to the expenditure.

¢ Approved cereal malt beverage licenses for G&P Country Mart Inc., and Corky's Family Restaurant.

¢ Renewed the city's workers compensation insurance for 2008 with Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust for $38,553.

¢ Paid $2,012.32 for membership dues for the League of Kansas Municipalities.

¢ Passed a resolution to waive the requirement to accept the generally accepted accounting principals. In a report, Bard said "conformity with generally accepted accounting principals are not relevant to the requirements of the cash basis budget laws of Kansas and are of no significant value to the governing body or members of the general public of this municipality."

¢ Asked city staff to look into the possibility of forming an interlocal agreement between the city and the county for future development.

"I think that is something that will behoove us because we know there will be growth with the CR1 interchange coming up on the horizon," said Council member Jason Ward.

¢ Asked city staff to look into adjusting the pay plan to give full-time city employees who do not get longevity pay more than a $25 gift card. Currently the city pays a $100 longevity bonus to employees after two years with the city.

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