Emotions Ran High At City Council

Emotions ran high at the Beloit City Council Tuesday meeting night. HJ Ackerman addressed the council during the Public Comment portion of the meeting to express his concerns about what he sees as the inequalities as to how one person is treated over the way others are treated by the City of Beloit.

Ackerman told the Council he feels Mike Cooper is getting more advantages over the way other construction companies are treated in Beloit. He said, when they did the Ackerman Addition they were told that no asphalt roads could be put in within the City limits of Beloit. His question was why it is not O.K. for any one else to do this and yet they are agreeing to let Cooper put asphalt streets in for his new construction project on the North Campus property.

"I had to buy all the pipe, curb and gutter materials and man hole covers for my property and then some of it was used for the Sunflower project. We have jumped through a lot of hoops to get our work done," Ackerman said. He went on to say another company wanted to build houses in Beloit ten years ago and were turned down to do the project. "I feel you need to keep everything even for everybody and not use the good old boy system," he said. Councilman Kent Miller said he worked with Ackerman's dad on the Ackerman Addition and that project was turned down because the company couldn't get the money to finance it not because of the city.

Councilman Otte said, when the City of Beloit received the property on the North Campus that was a big lot of land for them to try to work with. As a Councilman he thought it looked real good when Cooper decided to buy this land and develop it because no one else stepped up to do this. Ackerman felt the $216,000 Cooper paid the city wouldn't even cover the electrical work, sewer, and roads. He was told this was the price of the land. When they compared the price of putting in concrete or asphalt roads they were about the same price.

Mayor Tom Naasz explained the council limits it's Public Comment segment to five minutes and Ackerman had gone over his limit. Ackerman said he thought since he was placed on the agenda he would be able to cover all his issues with the council.
"If you sell that land and it is O.K. to do this willy nilly then I have pretty much been dumped on. I have jumped through all the hoops and have not had any help from the City of Beloit at all," he said. Mike Haeffele, Director of Transportation & Streets explained that this is the same prescience they have used for everyone else. Since this land decision was on the agenda later in the meeting Councilor Otte suggested Ackerman bring his concerns up at that time.

Mayor Naasz told the council he had met with Hospital Administrator David Dick about the Solomon Valley Transportation situation and the council needs to keep that in mind when they set up the budget that they need to provide funding to help out with the costs it takes to keep that service going.
Administrator Glenn Rodden reported they are still working on Meadow Lark Lane and are finishing up the road at the Business Park. The Mill Street Project is still ongoing. He has talked to Grant Woller about coming to the next meeting to discuss where they are at on the Airport Project. They are negotiating with the hospital and the Hospice about leasing the old library building. Councilman Lloyd Littrell asked where they are on getting the catalytic converters put in at the power plant. Rodden said the contractor hasn't given them a definite date when they will do this yet.

Mike Cooper announced they have been working for the last six to eight months to get a Disaster Team set up and a plan in place. They will meet tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the EMS Building if anyone on the council is interested in going.

The Council passed Resolution 2013-12 concerning the Cities Capacity and Energy Contract with the KMEA. The City is part of a power pool and sells its excess energy to them. Garden City has no power capacity of its own and has requested to purchase the five excess mega-watts from Beloit for $2 each for the next five years. The power pool is presently paying $1.05 so Rodden recommended the city sell the excess power to Garden City at this higher rate. The Council passed this agreement 7 to 1.

Administrator Rodden recommended the Council accept the recommendation of the Comprehensive Planning Committee and approve the firm of Hanna:Keelan Associates, P.C. out of Lincoln, Nebraska to provide services by updating the city's Comprehensive Plan. Heather Hartman, Community Development Director, was present and explained that this company will do an in depth study on the needs of the community. Mike Cooper was on this committee in 1980 and said the city has out grown that plan. He said these people are professionals who can help us develop a plan to draw larger businesses to Beloit. The Council passed this action 6 to 2.

The Council discussed the contract drawn up, as per their instructions, by City Attorney Katie Cheney, for the sale of land on the North Campus to Mike Cooper. The contract specifies the price of the land and the method of payment for the streets. It also has cost estimates from the transportation department for a concrete street and an asphalt street and proposed a revised plat map for the area Cooper wants to purchase from the city.

Cooper said the reason he asked to have the streets paved in asphalt was to go along with the country estate atmosphere he was hoping to achieve. After checking he found it would cost more for the asphalt than the cement streets. He talked to some of the people who have expressed interest in building in that area and they are about 50-50 on this so he will go with whatever the people decide they want. Discussion ensued concerning storm sewers and where all the water was going to go that the sewer from this property would put out. Cooper said including the three homes Mike Blass is building in that area that would be 14 homes going in. They also checked and this will not affect the walking trail.

Councilman Otte said, "If we don't do this in a timely manner we can't get this albatross off of our necks. I make a motion we accept the contract as written to sell the land to Mike Cooper." A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed by a vote of 7 to 1 to accept the contract. Attorney Cheney said she would put down in writing the terms Cooper and Mike Blass agreed to.

The Council went into a work session. Items for discussion were as follows:
Street Projects. Councilman Bob Richard discussed projects that could be completed this summer and asked about using millings to pave for Sturgis Street. Mike Haeffele explained the reasons why he didn't think the millings would work for this. An alternative use of the millings is for repairing allies.

It was felt the entrance off east Main Street has been a high priority for a long time and should definitely be done as soon as possible. They also discussed the need for improving the parking at the Law Enforcement Center and the Library. Administrator Rodden said the city gets about $100,000 from the gas tax to use on streets and this is down quite a bit from past years. Richards asked that a formal action to finish the street from Main to second street on Sturgis be placed on the June 4 agenda.

Lastly, the first draft of the Ordinance Codification that was completed by the attorneys at the Kansas League of Municipalities was presented to the council to look over before the next meeting.

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