Police chief clear to live outside city
Despite disapproval from some city leaders, the new Tonganoxie police chief will not have to live in the city.
On Monday, the Tonganoxie City Council voted 4-1 not to include that residency requirement in the new job description for the police chief and instead required that the chief live within 30 minutes of the city.
Paula Crook, who cast the dissenting vote, thought it was necessary for department heads of the city to live in the city.
“We are not asking much for the chief to live in the city,” Crook said. “It should be an incentive for him.”
Councilmember Tom Putthoff agreed with Crook and said it would be fine for him if the chief lived within the school district.
Councilmembers Jason ward and Burdel Welsh disagreed and said they were concerned about disqualifying any potential applicants on the basis of residency, especially if the family was living on dual incomes.
“When it comes right down to it, our expectations of them are as an employee not as a resident,” Ward said. “I think you are asking an awful lot for someone to sell their home and move to the city of Tonganoxie and take a position that is already undervalued.”
Despite the disagreement, the decision on who will be the next chief is going to be postponed.
During the meeting the council voted 4-1 to accept Tonganoxie Police Chief Kenny Carpenter’s request to extend his retirement date to Oct. 1, 2010. In late November, Carpenter announced his retirement and originally set the date at April 1.
In the letter sent to Mike Yanez, the city administrator, Carpenter said he had a couple of projects, including updating the policy and procedures manual, he wanted to finish before the end of his time in Tonganoxie.
Yanez said that he would ask the new chief to review the policy and procedures and change them as necessary to fit his needs for the department.
Crook said she wasn’t sure why Carpenter would need to spend time updating policy and procedures that could just be changed as soon as a new chief comes in.
Crook thanked Carpenter for his time, but cast the dissenting vote, stating that the city was already in the process of moving ahead and they needed to keep moving forward.
In other business the council:
• Voted 4-0 to accept a bid from Capital Electric for $52,946 to install lighting at the new Tonganoxie Recreation Commission baseball fields. Putthoff abstained, as he is employed with the recreation commission.
• Will list the land the city purchased about 10 years ago on the Kansas River for sale to the public. J.W. Evans brought forth an offer to purchase the nearly 45 acres of land for $100,000. Evans said the city had originally purchased the land for around $300,000 to possibly build a water plant, but the plan never materialized. Welsh said he didn’t mind the offer, but wanted to make sure the sale of the land was open to the public before accepting any offer. The council unanimously voted to accept offers until 5 p.m. Jan. 22 and will make a final decision during the Jan. 25 regular council meeting.
• Unanimously accepted 2009 budget amendments after it held a public hearing in which no members of the public spoke. The amended changes increased the special highway fund from $2,552,917 to $3,052,917; changed the special parks fund from $12,600 to $17,600; changed the equipment reserve fund from $0 to $42,000
• Unanimously approved a change order in the amount of $1,650 for the work King’s Construction Co. had done on U.S. Highway 24-40 and Main Street. The change orders included a $1,350 increase for some unexpected improvements needed in the southwest corner of the intersection; increased cost associated with expanding the work to the bridge north of the intersection on Main Street; and a reduction of $1,200 for using traffic paint for the markings on the highway instead of longer-lasting thermoplastic. Jason Hoskinson, with BG Consultants, the city’s engineering firm, said the change was needed because the Kansas Department of Transportation was going to resurface sections of the highway next year and would have destroyed the more expensive markings. He said once KDOT is finished with resurfacing the highway, they would install the thermoplastic road signs.
• Unanimously approved a step increase for Jake Williams the Tonganoxie Police Officer completed his six month anniversary with a satisfactory rating. Williams went from range 7, step A, which pays $15.83 per hour to range 7, step B, which pays $16.23.
• Unanimously accepted a bid from K.C. Construction Inc., to reline about 2100 feet of sewer with Ultraliner PVC alloy pipeliner to mitigate the amount of inflow and infiltration of ground and rainwater into the sewer system. Butch Rodgers, the city superintendent, wrote in a letter to the council the extra water causes the city’s’ waste water treatment plant to use a lot of electricity trying to pump the excess water out and causes backups in the homes of residents.
• Met in executive session for a total of 25 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel with the city administrator.
• Tabled the discussion on possible incentives for purchasing new homes to a later meeting.
• Thanked the public works crews for all of their work in clearing the streets of Tonganoxie during the holiday.