Archive for Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Westar stymies city council

June 24, 2009

Just as the council thought it was ready to move forward with the next phase of improvements along Fourth Street, it has run into another roadblock as Westar Energy insists on relocating its power poles.

For some residents, the changes are unacceptable.

“This thing, it’s just been a farce since the word go,” Duane Nible, a Fourth Street resident, told the council Monday night. “We’ve just had to fight it all the way.”

During Monday night’s regular city council meeting, Mike Yanez, the city administrator, told the council about a meeting he had Thursday with representatives of Westar Energy discussing a letter he received from the company about a month ago.

In the letter, Westar officials told Yanez that if the poles weren’t relocated at least six feet from the curb, they would not be liable for any accidents that might occur from the poles being placed 1.5 feet behind the curb as planned.

“What Westar proposes is that within the existing easement there is room to locate the poles six feet back form the curb,” Yanez said.

He added that the kind of poles Westar plans on using will not require any more trees to be cut.

Yanez said he asked Westar about other poles in the city that were located close to the curb. He was told that this was acceptable under Westar’s old policy, but its new policy has the company setting power poles at least six feet behind the curb.

Westar will give a presentation to Fourth Street residents as to why the poles need to be moved back and to give information on the new poles. The open house meeting at 6:30 p.m. June 30 will coincide with a special meeting of the Tonganoxie City Council, which will be present to participate in the discussion.

In other business, the council:

• Will add a $5,000 request for the Alliance Against Family Violence when determining the 2010 budget.

• Unanimously approved the hiring of Jacob Williams to replace a recently vacated position at the Tonganoxie Police Department. Police Chief Kenny Carpenter said Williams graduated at the top of his class at Missouri Southern State University Law Enforcement Academy. Williams will be required to take 40 hours of reciprocity class to become certified.

• Unanimously approved the deletion of a $82,376 addition to a project that would extend an already approved interceptor sewer project to the Eagle Valley Phase IV subdivision. Yanez said at this time, developers did not want to pay for the extension. The current approved interceptor sewer project from Eighth Street to 12th Street was awarded to BRW Construction for $233,736.

• Unanimously approved to enter into a contract with Tonganoxie Rocks to deliver 100 tons of untreated salt at a cost of $70 per ton.

• Unanimously approved application for fireworks stands for J’s Fireworks, Inc., located at 1520 E. U.S. Highway 24-40, and the Sacred Heart Church Youth Group, located at 1100 West Street.

For more on Monday’s council meeting, go to www.tonganoxiemirror.com.

• Unanimously accepted the infrastructure at the Vintage Park.

• Unanimously approved the planning commission recommendation to approve text amendments to the Zoning Subdivision Regulations relating to home occupations and to adopt an ordinance approving the changes. The text amendments adjusted the definition of a home occupation to make it easier for residents to start a home business.

• Unanimously approved the planning commission recommendation to approve text amendments to the Zoning Subdivision Regulations relating to performance and maintenance bonds, and adopt an ordinance approving the changes. The text amendments adjusted the requirement for maintenance bonds to be at least 10 percent of the cost of construction while performance bonds must be for 100 percent the cost of construction.

• Entered into executive session for 40 minutes to discuss potential litigation with Yanez.

• Tabled the discussion of changing the city’s current breed-specific dog ordinance.

• Met in executive session for 15 minutes with Yanez, Bard, Carpenter, Billy Adcox, Tonganoxie police lieutenant, and Dave Bennet, Tonganoxie fire chief.

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