State Representative Susan Concannon attended the Beloit City Council meeting Tuesday evening. City Administrator Glenn Rodden asked Concannon to come to the meeting and give her impressions of her first session in the State Legislature.
Representative Concannon spoke first about a bill that will affect the City Elections. The bill would move the City Elections and the School Board Elections into the General Election so they would all be covered at one time. Concannon said she spoke against this law and voted to keep each election standing on their own. While it did not pass she cautioned that once a bill comes up it could come up again for the next two years so it may be an issue at a later date.
Mayor Tom Naasz asked if there was any chance for an amendment on the subject of guns being allowed in schools. Concannon said the only way this can happen is if the school principal allows it. Councilor Matt Otte asked about funding for education and the Constitutional Crisis. Speaking on Kan-Care the Representative said it is still carving a place out itself. If the pilot program can get up and running it will probably be all right. So far it is going well considering the number of people that changed over to this plan.
Speaking as a County Commissioner, Mike Cooper, said he would like to know about the reasoning the committee had when they came up with the Conceal and Carry Law. "Did anyone think of the repercussions this bill is going to cause for the counties and cities if they do not exempt themselves. At what point in time is the Federal and State Government going to quit pushing this stuff down the throats our throats. Cooper went on to say that while the city building only has one main entrance the courthouse has seven entrances in all. If they close all but one entrance then the Fire Marshall will have issues with that. I am certainly not going to sit at the front door of the courthouse and check out some little old lady or go through her purse or what if a farmer comes in to pay his taxes with pliers in his pocket? Unless they opt out by January 1, every municipality in the State will have to deal with this," he said.
The Representative said they came close to imposing these mandates on hospitals too. They even felt the emergency room door and all other doors but the front doors could be locked. She said she was hearing from about 400 people a day wanting the bill to pass. Commissioner Cooper went on to speak about what this law means to the Judicial Courts. If the Judge decides she wants a fully protected courtroom the county would have to find a way to fund that. He asked that when the Legislature goes back into session next spring he hopes they will take the exemption part of the law out. Concannon explained the process the bill has to go through to be changed. She said a lot of this is due to the political climate right now. She admitted this bull was passed during the last hour before the session adjourned. Administrator Rodden thanked Representative Concannon for coming and speaking during the meeting.
During his Administrator's report Rodden said he met with representatives of the Kyle Railroad about the rough railroad crossings on K14 and Mill Street. They are checking this out and will address the council in the next few weeks but assured those present the railroad company is working on the problem.
Travis Lattin is in the process of tearing down the old hangar at the airport and is working on the cement. Cleanline Transmission Co. will be running a line across Mitchell County and will have public meeting on August 14, at the NCKTC meeting room to explain this. The city crew will be starting on the Mill Street curb and gutter tomorrow. That project is on schedule and should be finished in September.
Formal Actions dominated most of the agenda for the evening. City Attorney, Katie Cheney, explained the proposed addendum to the land contract and the changes that are being made to the contract the city has with Mike Cooper and the effect this will have on the project. Cheney said the only change to the contract is the timing of the installation of the sewer system. One-half of the purchase price of Two Hundred Sixteen Thousand Three Hundred Eighty and no/100 Dollars down upon signing the real estate contract and the other half on May 1, 2014. The city engineer has advised this change because the city will receive better bids if we delay the deadline for installation of the sewer system until April 2014. Mr. Cooper has accepted this change but some members of the council questioned this change. After heated discussion the council voted 6 to 1 with Councilman Kent Miller absent to pass this addendum as explained by the city attorney.
The Council approved the Matching Funds Grant Agreement between the Kansas Department of Commerce and the City of Beloit for the block grant the city has been awarded for the repair of down town buildings.
The Council approved the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation Grant Agreement with Jeff Roberg and Gloria Homeier. The Department of Commerce requires an agreement between the city and the property owners because the property owners are supplying the matching funds on the grant.
After discussion the Council approved the proposed changes to the hiring process of Beloit Police Officers. City Attorney, Katie Cheney, researched the hiring process and determined the council needs to approve the changes to the personnel manual by a simple motion. Councilman Otte spoke to leave the manual the way it is now.
The council voted 6 to 1 to approve the change.
The Council approved the Asphalt Bid for chipping and sealing city streets as part of their street maintenance program from Asphalt Fuel and Supply Co. for $3.061 per gallon in the amount of $36,870. This will be funded through the Special highway Fund in the 2013. This was the lowest of the three bids received and Mike Haeffele, Director of Transportation, said it is the lowest price for asphalt he had seen in the six years he has held this job.
The council approved a bid for water, pipe and fittings for replacement of the ductile iron water piper on Logan Avenue from Municipal Supply Inc. the lowest of three bids in the amount of $10,068.94. The final formal action was the approval of the purchase of a Wastewater Process Pump from JCI Industries in the amount of $7,230. Kendall Francis, Director of Water/Wastewater Operations said this is one of three pumps and he hopes to replace one a year for the next three years.
The meeting was adjourned and the council went into the work session discussion part of the meeting. Administrator Glenn Rodden presented the first draft of the annual city budget for the council's review. Staff was recommending an increase in the city mill levy to cover the cost of numerous expenses including the increase in the city's KPER"S contribution, funding for the sidewalk program, street repairs and funding for the public transportation systems.
The Administrator said the unknown cost of employee's health insurance is a big question in figuring the 2014 budget and this amount won't be known until this fall. The cost of the new Conceal/Carry Law is also an unknown expense that will have to be figured into the budget. The budget Rodden presented this evening was an Operational Budget but he also wants to do a projected Capitol Improvement budget so they will know how to phase the planned projects in over the next few years.
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