Council open to expanding St. Patrick’s festivities
A yearly tradition in Tonganoxie might just get a little bigger.
During Monday night’s regular Tonganoxie City Council meeting, Cheryl Hanback, executive director of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce, and Victoria Rowley, economic development coordinator for the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, asked for the council’s blessing on a St. Patrick’s Day Festival.
The festival would still include the traditional parade, but now include activities for children, such as games and a moonwalk, and activities for adults, such as live music and a beer tent.
“The whole point of the event is to attract people from outside of the community and have them come and learn about the community as well as get people from the community to participate,” Rowley said.
To make this happen the chamber will be asking the city to block off a section of downtown from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The chamber also will need to acquire a liquor license from the state to sell alcohol.
Mike Kelly, the city attorney, said there is no problem with the chamber volunteers selling alcohol downtown as long as they comply with other city regulations.
Jason Ward and the other council members were in favor of the new festival.
Ward said he enjoyed the annual parade, but admitted it was finished fairly quickly.
“The kids come down, they get their candy, we run through however many cars and floats and then it’s done,” Ward said “I think that makes it less appealing for folks that would travel for it. I would be all in if we could make it more of a festival and keep folks around.”
The one thing Ward didn’t want to see this year was another green paint stripe down Fourth Street because of the difficulty of removing the paint.
“We are out of the green stripe business so if it happens again it wasn’t us,” Hanback said.
In other business, the council:
• Voted, 4-0, to accept an offer of $100,000 to sell about 50 acres of land the city bought nine years ago near 206th Street and Alexander Road for a proposed water plant. The land was purchased for $300,000. Councilmember Paula Crook and Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal were absent.
• Unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance rebating a portion of the city’s building permit fees to residents who purchase new homes in the city. Ten of these permits will be available starting Thursday.
• Unanimously voted to purchase two 2001 Ford F-250 super cabs from Danny Zeck Ford for a price of $24,180 each, as well as two snow plows, bar lights and tool boxes for the city’s water and street departments. The two departments had each budgeted $35,000 for the purchase of new trucks this year to replace other aging trucks.
• Tabled the consideration of advertising an open position of a water meter reader.
• Unanimously approved a 2.5 percent merit pay increase for Rob Trieb, equipment operator, to $18.36; James McCutcheon, equipment operator, to $17.05; Kent Heskett, utilities superintendent, to $27.25; and Jerry Stockman, utilities maintenance worker, to $17.91. Councilmember Tom Putthoff said he wanted to review the city’s pay scale because certain city employees have reached the top of their pay scale and have been stuck at the same wage. The pay scale will be reviewed by the city at a later date.
• Heard from Mike Yanez, city administrator, that President Barack Obama has made a disaster declaration for states, counties and cities hit by the severe winter weather during the recent holidays. The city will be asking for $22,000 in federal reimbursement for costs related to the storm.
• Discussed the city’s future lobbying trip to Washington D.C. Yanez and Crook, along with representatives from the LCDC and other surrounding cities, will be meeting with members of congress Feb. 9 -10. The city will be asking for $1 million of the $1.138 million needed to bring utilities to the city’s new industrial park as well as $1.3 million for improvements on U.S. Highway 24-40 and 14th Street. The intersection project is estimated at $3.33 million.