Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chamber makes case for budget inclusion

November 19, 2008

Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce could be finding a permanent home in the city’s coffers.

Monday night, the Tonganoxie City Council listened to a proposal from Steve Christensen, the chamber’s president, to become a permanent part of the city’s budget.

Christensen said the chamber has been an organization promoting city businesses and having events that promote the city, but lately they have been putting in a lot more hours trying to raise funds to keep those programs running. His fear was that the 95-member chamber would either need to spend more time fundraising or cut programs and events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting in order to stay afloat.

“They have become a tradition in town and we wouldn’t want to have to do away with any of those,” Christensen said. “We think the citizens enjoy those and want us to provide them.”

The chamber asked for $7,500 for 2009 and would want to meet each year before the city’s annual budget is decided and discuss the chamber’s budgetary needs for the following year.

In return for the money, Christensen said the chamber would provide additional services to the city, like focusing on the revitalization of downtown, and start other programs like bringing more educational opportunities to Tonganoxie with the Kansas City Kansas Community College.

The council asked city staff to look into the 2009 budget to see what kinds of funds are available and asked Christensen to put in writing what services the chamber would provide to the city.

The decision to fund the chamber was tabled until the Dec. 1 council meeting.

In other business the council:

• Listened to Yanez’s update on the feasibility study for an airport in Leavenworth County. Coffman Associates will conduct the $98,832 justification study, of which the city will be responsible for $3,010. The study is expected to be done at the end of March 2009.

• Unanimously agreed to pay Meadows Construction $15,781.78 for pay request #4 for work on the Tonganoxie Skate Park.

• Unanimously approved a refund of $5,000 to the Bioscience Development Corporation of Tonganoxie Incorporated for earnest money deposited on the Audrey F. Irick Trust property. The property is potential land for a new Leavenworth County industrial park.

• Unanimously approved to renew the contract between the city and Bucher, Willis and Ratliff Corporation, the city’s planning firm for 2009.

• Voted, 4-1, to approve a 4.5 percent cost of living adjustment for all full-time city employees effective Jan. 1, 2009. Councilmember Paula Crook was the dissenting vote stating:

“I know that we have to appreciate our employees, but people are cutting back. Companies, city’s counties are cutting back and I think we need to be looking at the very same thing.”

The other council members disagreed. Councilmember Jim Truesdell said the council hasn’t done enough to keep up with pay in the past and they didn’t need to drop behind.

The COLA would also be applied to any annual merit pay increases.

• Unanimously approved calling a special meeting for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in City Council Chambers to approve rezoning of property on Third and Green streets.

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