Council Hears Update on Numerous City Projects

City Administrator, Glenn Rodden, updated the Beloit City Council on various projects now underway throughout the city and talked about upcoming events to plan for in the future at their meeting Tuesday night.

Administrator Rodden reported that the city is again the owner of the house located on the North Campus that was sold some time ago. The buyers backed out due to the asbestos content that was found in the house. At the present time there is another entity interested in the house to make it into a parsonage for their church pastor. They will be looking at the building on Wednesday of this week. While they feel the asbestos will be a challenge they feel it is a doable situation and will probably take care of that before they move the house to a new location.

Other items mentioned include: Mill Street is now open to all traffic. They have interviewed two candidates interested in the job of Community Development Director and have made an offer to one of them. Rodden said he hasn't heard anything back on the wage and salary study but hopes to hear soon so they can get this set up for the coming year.

The new meter reading project is still making progress and they are almost done putting in the new water lines. One side of the riverbank stabilization project along the Solomon River in Chautauqua Park is done and they will be moving over to the other side. They hope to have this finished by October 25. The barricades are down at the park and you can drive around the area in a full circle now.

Rodden said, Planning Facilitator, John Devine, will be at the October 16 council meeting to do a follow-up review on what was talked about during the Council Retreat. He is still working with Mike Blass on the changes he wants made on the property he purchased up on the North Campus. He wants to purchase other lots instead of the ones he originally bought since he has had more interest than expected in this project. He will probably want to write up a new contract with the city to coincide with the changes that have taken place.

Councilman Lloyd Littrell asked if they have started on the project to replace part of the river bridge dam. Rodden said yes, they have and ask Kendall Francis to speak on this subject. Francis said they are working on replacing a 50 x 50 foot area and this work should be done by the end of next week. They will also be cutting out some other areas of the dam and patching them.

Councilman Matt Otte asked when they would have the last of the new waterlines finished. Francis said they should finish up in about two weeks. Otte said he is very happy with the work that has been done.

Beloit Police Chief, Brennan Odle, told the council at this time the Beloit Police Department has one patrol opening to fill. He introduced Zachary Gibbs and said he would like to extend an offer of employment to Gibbs as a Corporal. Gibbs comes from the Phillips County Sheriff's Department where he has been a deputy for the past eleven years. He is a U.S. Army veteran currently serving in the Kansas Army National Guard. Gibbs has served two tours of duty in Iraq. He is currently a fully certified law enforcement officer in the State of Kansas.

"Gibbs has an exceptional record and all of his references and colleagues spoke very highly of him, Chief Odle said. He asked to hire Gibbs as a Patrol Corporal, at Level 25, Step 6 with an hourly rate of $17.95 per hour to work shifts opposite of Sgt. Oehm. I feel we will have a better command structure with him on the force," the Chief said.

Odle repeated that this hire would complete all hirings for the Beloit Police Department at this time and would have no major effect on their budget. This will make nine officers and himself for a total of 10 on the force. The council voted unanimously to hire Gibbs and welcomed him to Beloit.

City Attorney Katie Cheney told the council with the hiring of the present officers her caseload has doubled in the last year. They are great to work with and are keeping her office very busy. She feels they are really doing a good job. The business meeting was adjourned and the council moved to the work session for the discussion portion of the evening.

Administrator Rodden introduced Project Engineer Brad Waller from Alfred Benesch who gave the council an update on the airport expansion project at the Moritz Memorial Airport. Mr. Waller told the group the airport is included in the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems making it eligible to receive federal funds. Owned by the City of Beloit, Waller said, its role within the Kansas Aviation System Plan is a community airport, which is intended to serve a supplemental role in the local economies, primarily serving smaller business. The airport presently has a total impact of 18 jobs with a total payroll of $577,300 and a total output of $2.3 million.

At the present time the airport's primary runway is a 3,600-foot wide and 50 foot concrete surface with non-precision instrument approaches to each end making this a B-1 Airport. Two turf runways of 2,380 feet and 1,650 feet are also available right now. The new runway will be 4,200 foot long and be 75 foot wide making it a B-2 Airport. Wider, longer, runways will allow larger aircraft to use the airfield and provide greater access for planes to get closer to the runway. GPS can also be provided for safer landing in snow, rain or fog. As a Class 2 Airport the Eagle Med Life Flight services and other emergency craft can use the runway along with larger commercial jets than can land here at the present time.

Waller gave a Financial and Project Summary starting with the airport as it was in 2006 and listing improvement projects to bring it up to 2010 through 2012. The land acquisitions are finished and the present runway extension design and Aeronautical Survey have both been done. We are now in the middle of the design phase and that is about 90 percent done right now, Waller said.

Moving on to 2013 Waller talked about plans to grade the runway extension, pave the runway extension and install other features for the new runway in 2014. After the runway is done we will sit tight and let more funds generate before adding more projects. Future projects from 2016 and beyond are also in the planning for the airport. Waller discussed a direct impact and indirect impact study that was done on the increased income this will bring into the community in the future.

Mayor Naasz said he has had people ask him why this airport doesn't have an Internet access site set up. Naasz asked how much it would cost to have this done.
Waller said it wouldn't be over a couple of thousand dollars to set up this type of site. This should include an animated weather channel.

Councilman Kent Miller asked how this airport would compare with the airports at Osborne, Concordia and Belleville when this project is done. Waller said this runway already compares with Concordia's at the present time but they may be upgrading it since they are getting a new hospital. He didn't know about Osborne and Belleville.

Waller said he probably wouldn't be back to visit the council until the FAA has authorized the funds and work is ready to start on the airport project. Mayor Naasz thanked him for providing them with the update and adjourned the work session.

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