City Council Passes 2014 Fiscal Year Budget

Mayor Tom Naasz opened the 2014 Budget Hearing for the City of Beloit at the meeting of the Beloit City Council Tuesday evening. There being no one present to question or contest the budget the Mayor closed the hearing.

Later the formal actions the council discussed the recommendation of City Administrator, Glenn Rodden, that the council approve the 2014 fiscal year budget as presented with a mill levy to 47.645 and a total property tax of $1,100,434. This budget didn't have to be passed by ordinance since the total amount levied for property tax will not exceed the city's tax cap. Also, included for review was the entire operating budget for fiscal year 2014.

Rodden said this budget does not include additional funding for projects and programs that have been discussed by the council and staff such as funding the sidewalk or demolition programs or making an annual contribution to the Solomon Valley Transportation Board at the requested amount of $6,000 to $10,000. That funding request could be met by eliminating expenses such as the annual council retreat at a cost of $4,500 and the annual city Christmas party that costs $2,000. This budget will not be able to meet the projected expenses in the employee benefit fund without significant transfers from the city utility funds, he told the council.

After lengthy discussion Mayor Naasz called for the vote on the budget as it was presented. A roll call vote was taken with five members of the council voting yes and three members including Pat Struble, Kent Miller, and Lloyd Littrell casting no votes.

Two representatives from the law firm of Clubine and Rettele were at the meeting to present the fiscal year 2012 Audit Report for the City of Beloit. They discussed the report and answered questions the council members had about the reasoning behind the observations made. While the city had several minor infractions that need to be dealt with there were no major problems that need to be corrected.

The council passed Resolution 2014-4, by a vote of 8 to 0. This is a resolution certifying legal authority to apply for the 2014 Kansas Small Cities Block Grant Program from the Kansas Department of Commerce and authorizing Mayor Naasz to sign and submit such an application.

The council unanimously approved the Housing Rehabilitation Grant agreement. Economic Development Director Heather Hartman and Mandy Fincham at the Regional Planning Commission have been gathering data, and working on writing this grant application for the past few months. The city will contribute $2,000.00 for the environmental review fees for this project. Hartman said they have 45 applications all ready. They plan to form a committee to go through the applications and select the houses that will be included in this plan.

The Planning Commission submitted a list of forty-four names to serve on the comprehensive plan steering committee. The committee is large but our planning consultants, Hanna:Kelan, have indicated they have no problem working with a large group. They and encouraged having a group representing a diverse group of citizens with as many points of view as possible serve on this committee. The first meeting of this new steering committee will be on September 10. One new member needs to be selected to serve on the Planning Commission.

A five-minute closed session was held to discuss Attorney-Client Privileged Information with the governing body, Administrator Rodden and Attorney Cheney present. No decisions were made.

Janet Gengler spoke to the council during the public comment section of the meeting, to express the concern of the Mitchell County EMS and the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department about the safety of youngsters playing on the Solomon River dam at Chautauqua Park.

During the time from May 12, 2013 and August 16, 2013, they have had eight calls about kids playing on the dam, she said. One child was caught in some trash on the dam and could not get loose without help. Gengler said no one seems to be passing on the information that an officer was killed while trying to save a youngster in trouble at the dam. Mayor Naasz asked Administrator Rodden and City Attorney Katie Cheney if there were any regulations about this. Rodden said he didn't think there are any laws against it except common sense.

Gengler asked if something could be done to alert the youngsters to the danger in playing on the slick dam. It was agreed it is a lack of parental supervision you can't ticket the parents. After discussion Rodden said the city would get signs posted on both sides of the dam. The council agreed they have to make an attempt to stop to this dangerous action but they were not sure what else they could do.

During Staff reports, Attorney Cheney reminded people to be careful when school zone signs are flashing. The new standards for traffic ordinance books are in. she will have them at the next council meeting for them to vote on. The last page of the book shows the changes that were made. Cheney said the old building at the airport has been demolished but they haven't started putting up the new building yet.

Administrator Rodden announced he would be attending a League Conference in October. Thursday he will attend a new power pool meeting in Ottawa. The Municipal Swimming Pool will close for the year on August 25. There is an opening on the Planning and Zoning Committee that needs to be filled if anyone is interested they should fill out an application. The city crew is still working on the Mill Street project and the K-14 Highway project is about done.

During the Work Session Water/Wastewater Director Kendal Francis and Administrator Rodden updated the council on the continuing efforts to form a regional water district. The City of Beloit will be hosting an open meeting on Monday, September 9th at 6 p.m. in the basement of the Municipal Building. This will be sort of a kick off meeting and will include Mitchell County Rural Water Districts 1, 2, and 3 as well as the City of Beloit, and the Kansas Water Office. They will be discussing what kinds of needs there are and how much interest there is in proceeding with this project. There are various avenues of funding to be explored if they go ahead with it. A catered meal will be served to those attending.

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