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Ellinwood apartments focus of resolution
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At Tuesday nights city council meeting, Ellinwood Mayor Irlan Fullbright awards Fire Chief Chris Komarek a service award in honor of his 20 years of service to the City of Ellinwood. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
* Adopted resolution  11-2016-C the Barton County Mitigation Plan, a requirement for the city to receive FEMA reimbursement in the event of a natural disaster.  Without a plan, they will not pay out funds.   
* Approved the city audit-waiver of GAAp reporting.  The waiver is an annual formality, allowing the city to use the cash accounting method as 90 percent of entities in the state do, said City Clerk Kim Schartz.  
* Reminded council members the deadline for filing for  re election to the city council is Jan. 26 at noon.  
* Reported the sale of a police car and other city equipment on the web auction site  Purple Wave.  Results were better than expected, Newberry said.
* The tenant of an office owned by the city will be terminating the lease, and Newberry will provide recommendations to the council at a future meeting for future use.
* Newberry has met with representatives of the Boy Scouts and will agree on a contractor to administer roof repairs on the Scout House by Wolf Pond in the following week, and will meet with them when work begins to determine how much of the decking will be replaced.  This is acceptable to both the city and the Scouts.

The next regular Ellinwood City Council meeting will be held Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Ellinwood City Offices. 

The Ellinwood City Council met Tuesday night and marked the beginning of a new year by awarding an Ellinwood Service Award to Ellinwood Fire Chief Chris Komarek for serving the community in his position for the past 20 years.  
 When Mayor Irlan Fullbright opened the floor to visitor comments, Judy Hayes thanked the city for installing a hydrant at the new community garden site on South Main Street. Earlier in the fall, roses from the city’s rose garden along Santa Fe were moved to the garden site during the construction phase of a highway project along Hwy 96.  The new hydrant will benefit the roses, as well as the future participants in the garden that will provide 11 plots.  
Service Award--Chris Komarek--20 years as fire chief.  

Housing proposal
Jason Maddox, president of MACO Development Co., LLC of Clarkson, Mo. was introduced.  He was there to garner support for a project the company is interested in taking on, provided they are successful in receiving a Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.  The company would like to purchase and renovate the Ellinwood Heights Apartments on S. Bismark.  
Maddox asked the city to approve a resolution showing support for the project, and a resolution agreeing to refer potential renters to the company.  Currently, the city provides a list to people who ask for recommendations for landlords and property management companies operating in the city.  While the second resolution is worth five points towards a final score during the application evaluation period, competition for the credits is expected to be high, Maddox said.  Both resolutions would help ensure the company has the best shot possible at having their application approved.
“There will likely be 50 to 60 applications received by the Feb. 5 deadline,” he said.  “Only 15 will be funded.”  
MACO was awarded credits for a project in Garner last year, and will start construction on that project in the next four to six weeks.  If the Ellinwood proposal is approved, he expects to begin in about a year.
The council inquired if current tenants would have to move during construction. Currently, every apartment is filled. Maddox suggested if the project is approved, the city not refill apartments that come empty, and when construction begins, the company can work around current tenants, temporarily move them into other units, or if need be, they have relocation money worked into their plan should a tenant need to temporarily be put up off-site, with no out of pocket expenses to bear.  
With that, the council approved both requests, and the mayor signed paperwork for Maddox.  City Manager Bud Newberry also presented Maddox with two letters addressed to to Fred Bentley at KHRC verifying that adequate electric and sewer services are preexisting, and that the project is correctly zoned.  
   “The Ellinwood Apartments were built in 1979, and it’s time some life were put back into them,” Newberry said.  
The week before the meeting, MACO workers visited the site and determined the scope of work for the application.  The company is looking at a budget proposal cost estimate of $990,000.    
The council approved an ordinance to change the city election cycles from the spring to the fall, beginning in 2017.  The city attorney recommended adoption of a modified version of an ordinance suggested by the Kansas League of Municipalities.  
“There will be an April election this year, and those elected will serve until Jan. 2019.  And those who would normally be done by June of 2017 will now serve until Jan. 2018,” Newberry said. “Basically it adds another nine months to the term, and pays accordingly.”  
All but one council member voted yes.  Gala Neilsen was the one dissenting vote.  After the meeting adjourned, she shared that the vote was prompted by frustration that the length of her term had been extended by several months during the transition period, making it impossible for her to accept an offer to serve on the board of another non-profit that had approached her which she would have to turn down now.     
Alan Brauer asked the council move into a 10-minute executive session for the purpose of discussing matters subject to attorney client privilege.  The city attorney, city clerk and city manager were invited in.  Upon returning to open session, no action was taken.

City manager report
Newberry reported on progress made by cable and utility companies in moving cable and gas lines in advance of the beginning of the KDOT project on the highway.  The gas company is done with the exception of a few KDOT project related things, and Cox and H and B cable companies are almost done.  
Brauer asked when the KDOT project would begin.  Newberry shared that once more, the project that was expected to be complete by Jan. 1 will not be started until March.
“As of this afternoon, according to KDOT all approvals are completed,” Newberry said. “The  only things left to do is for KDOT to call in contractors to determine if there is enough interest to get bids.  KDOT doesn’t want to ask for bids until enough can be found who will agree to submit bids on project.”
A pre-bid conference will be set to take place in the next two to three weeks.  A 20-day bidding period has been approved.  Bids will be open the second half of February.
“What I’m going to tell you is maybe by first of March, we’ll have a contractor hired to do the work,” Newberry said.  “But please don’t hold me to it because if next few months go like last few months, I don’t know.”  
Once it starts, KDOT will be on contractor night and day to get the project done, he said. Bid documents will specify a completion date and penalties will be imposed if the date is not met.