Pit Bull Issue A Hot Topic At City Council

Perhaps the hottest topic at the Beloit City Council last night came to light not during the regular meeting agenda but during the work session portion of the meeting. City Code Enforcement Officer, Chris Jones, began the Code Codification Review in an attempt to update the city codes to fix the issues as they face the city today. Councilman Kent Miller broke in to ask what happened about the dog fight last week? It was quickly established that the dog in question is a pit bull belonging to a resident within the city limits.

Jones replied they are waiting for the police report on the matter. The owner will be fined $100 for a license, $100 for the bite, and $75 for court costs. After a certain length of time the pound released the dog back to its owner. Councilor Bob Richard felt the dog should be impounded because it shouldn't have been in town in the first place. He is an illegal dog and should not have been released, Richard said. Several Councilor's felt putting the dog back on the street was an irresponsible thing to do and agreed with Richard.

Mayor Tom Naasz said, "We have to be responsible because we have an ordinance that has to be upheld. We can't just turn him back to his owner. The dog is not licensed and we have an ordinance that says pit bulls can not be kept within the city limits." Councilor Matt Otte said, "We are pretty fortunate this time but the dog has to go because it isn't supposed to be here anyway." Councilor Rick Brown, added, "There are more pit bulls living within the city limits than anyone knows about."

Councilor Bob Petterson said, "The dog isn't licensed and isn't supposed to be in town so this has to be enforced big time. The dog might bite someone else and it might be a child next time." One councilor mentioned putting the dog down but Councilor Brown said, "I don't think we should kill the dog just because its owner brought it back into town." Code Officer Jones was told to pick the dog up and incarcerate it. Any charges that entails are to be accessed to the owner.

The council also addressed Beloit Fire Department Codes with Fire Chief, Steve Rugg present to discuss what he feels needs to be added or changed to fit what they deal with today. These included open burning, city boundries, anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks being parked in the city limits, and storage of fireworks. Chief Rugg also discussed what the codebook presently says regarding firewalls between buildings within the city limits and what he feels needs to be changed. He explained the reason for the firewalls is to hopefully contain the fire to the building of the fires origin. Code Officer Jones and Chief Ruggs are to write these ordinances up as they feel they should be and bring them to the next council meeting to be acted upon.

Councilor Otte had questions about the four city voting wards. He feels perhaps they need to be addressed since the city has grown a lot during the last few years. He asked how the wards are determined. Jones and City Administrator Glenn Rodden explained they are set according to the population so it is equal in each ward. Otte proposed not setting the candidate races up according to wards. He thought if candidates were chosen by who wanted to be on the council this would allow two good candidates in the same area to serve on the council at one time. Then the number of desired candidates with the most votes would be on the council. No decision was made since this was a discussion item only.

During the regular meeting agenda Administrator Rodden said he has been getting calls from people in the city about a letter from an insurance company selling waterline insurance. People can get legitimate waterline insurance but this has nothing to do with the city and he has nothing to do with the letters they received.

The City Christmas Party has been moved to Tuesday, December 31 at Plum Creek/Down Under, Rodden said. The search for a police chief is continuing. The search committee met this week to review the applications for this position. Interviews are scheduled for December 16, 17, and 18.

Representatives from the city and SVED met with representatives from Rolling Hills to discuss locations for moving their headquarters to Beloit. Rolling Hills will be making a 5 to 8 million-dollar investment in the community and will bring 27 new jobs to the community. This project will begin in 2014 and end in 2016.

The cooling towers and converters at the power plant have been installed and tested and running as designed. The Kansas Gas Service, however, has decided to curtail gas pressure at the power plant which means we can currently run only the two large engines at one time. The other engines can still be run on diesel fuel if needed but that increases the operational cost. According to Kansas Gas the city can solve this problem by building a new line to the power plant at an estimated cost of $700,000. Council members felt it to be Gas Service's responsibility to furnish gas to the city according to their franchise.

City Attorney, Katie Cheney, told the council she has been working on the plan for the city's concealed carry act to present to the State asking them to exempt the power plant, the sewer plant, the Municipal Building and the library. She thinks, however, the law will be changed before this takes effect. This would have to be decided in a closed session as the information would not be open to the public. The council would then vote in open session. They also need to come up for an ordinance for concealed carry as it pertains to city employees. She will present this information at the next council meeting.

The council passed Ordinance 1234 Alley Vacation in the Baldwin addition. This action was requested by the Cherry Street, LLC, an organization that is developing
Six (6) residential lots near St. John's. They are continuing to work with the city financial advisor on funding options for the East Main project. Dennis Lutgen is willing to participate in the cost of the concrete for the street in front of his property on Sturgis Street.

The city electric company is finished extending electric service to Kohler Welding and are now working on upgrading the system to AGCO and Sunflower Manfacturing. KDOT has advised the city they need to install the new entrance off of the Highway 24 entrance by the end of this year and they also need to close the entrance to the roadside park when they build the new entrance.

Ron Sporleder, Director of System Operations presented a request for the creation of an secretary position for the Power Plant and Systems Department. This person would work one-half day at each department. Sporleder, Henry Eilert, Power Plant Forman and Allen Mong, Systems Forman would all benefit from this extra person. Administer Rodden feels this is needed and would avoid hiring a higher paid employee. They are to bring a job description to the next council meeting.

Sporleder also requested permission to purchase a Vacuum Circuit Breaker from Mid-State Energy Works in Salina for $25,805. This would allow them to expand more reliable circuits across town in the near future to redistribute the electrical lode. They are to present this item at the next regular meeting.

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