Archive for Wednesday, October 14, 2009

City exercising proactive approach to industrial site

October 14, 2009

The Tonganoxie City Council wants to keep moving forward with a plan to create a new industrial park in the city, but now it hopes the Leavenworth County commissioners don’t put down any roadblocks.

On Monday, the council discussed sending a letter to the commissioners in hopes of easing any doubts they might have about granting the city island annexation of the 237-acre parcel it recently acquired for the industrial park.

“Bottom line is that we are telling Leavenworth County commissioners, because of the process set up by the county, the city has made an investment in this property,” City Administrator Mike Yanez said. “The city wishes to succeed in the development of this property, as well as succeed in fulfilling the goals of the Leavenworth County Port Authority and the Leavenworth County Commission in developing, with a partnership, a large industrial park where new jobs and new capital investment and new personal property tax could be made.”

The council voted 3-0 to send a letter laying out 10 different reasons why the island annexation should proceed. Councilmembers Jim Truesdell and Burdel Welsh were absent from the meeting.

Yanez said one of the most important points the annexation must be approved is to let the city gain any property tax that may result from development.

The letter states: “The property tax benefits are one measure City leaders counted upon to help pay off the land purchased debt as well as future investment and contribution in the industrial site’s development. Annexation is critical to the city’s repayment of its expenditure to support the LCPA and the county in their efforts to develop a new industrial park that would benefit the area’s economic potential.”

Yanez also said the annexation should be approved in the “spirit of political partnership” between the city and the county.

“Any decision not to approve the annexation, to me, would send a clear message that folks are not interested in the partnership, and I think that would be the wrong message,” Councilmember Jason Ward said.

The hearing for the annexation will be at 9:15 a.m. Monday at the Leavenworth County Courthouse, 300 Walnut, Leavenworth. The council unanimously voted to conduct a special meeting during the annexation hearing at the courthouse.

In other business the council:

• Unanimously voted to approve a special event permit for Sunday’s Team Tongie events. Events will start at 3:30 p.m. with a 5K run/walk from the Tonganoxie High School to the Tonganoxie Middle School and back. At 4:30 p.m., there will be live music with carnival rides at THS. Food will be provided starting at 5:30 and when it gets dark, the event organizers will have a drive-in-like movie theater at THS.

• Unanimously accepted the 2008 audit from Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb & Wilson. Brian Nyp, certified public accountant from Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb & Wilson, said there were no issues to deal with in this year’s audit and his firm was able to remove its recommendations because the city staff had worked hard to implement their policies and recommendations form the 2007 audit.

Yanez thankrf Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, and city staff for working hard to make sure the city had a good audit.

“I continually hear compliments from the auditors, from our financial advisers and other people that conduct business with the city that there is a high level of credibility in the way we do our accounting and the way we deal the money in this community,” Yanez said.

• Listened to an update from Blake Waters about the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce.

• Unanimously accepted Planning Commission recommendations to approve a special use permit for a child daycare facility at 102 N. Village Terr. pending Kansas Department of Health and Environment licensing.

• Unanimously approved an ordinance that accepts the Planning Commission's recommendations to approve text amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations pertaining to outside sales and display of merchandise in commercial districts.

• Unanimously approved the promotion of John Callaghan to deputy chief of the Tonganoxie Fire Department. Fire Chief Dave Bennett said Callaghan completed necessary training to get the promotion, but it was accidentally excluded in the 2010 budget. Bennett said he would find the money for the extra 2.5 percent pay increase in his budget.

Bennett will also promote volunteer firefighter Mo McCutchen to assistant chief. The new position is still for a volunteer firefighter.

“John’s been with me for eight years now and he has worked extremely hard,” Bennett said.

• Unanimously approved hiring Joseph Peel to fill a vacant firefighter position left by Eric Lang.

• Voted, 2-1, to pay $307.82 toward the $7,500 needed from Leavenworth County to pay for a regional airport site selection study. Putthoff was the dissenting vote, stating he felt Tonganoxie would not benefit from a regional airport because of its proximity to the airport in Lawrence.

• Will meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 in council chambers to have a workshop devoted to the topics of tax rebates on new homes and the uniform traffic codes.

• Voted, 2-1, to allow Bard to carry over 82 hours of unused vacation time into 2010 and that all future carryover requests come to the council. Ward was the dissenting vote. Ward had previously made a motion to allow for the carryover but to let Yanez use his judgment to approve or deny future carryover requests for staff excluding himself. That motion failed, 2-1, with Putthoff and Crook voting against the motion. Crook wanted to make it clear to city staff that vacation time needed to be used.

• Met in executive session for five minutes to discuss non-elected personnel.

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