Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Ellinwood City Council meeting Tuesday night:
• Approved the City Audit-Waiver of GAAP reporting.
• Reviewed Flood Control and Street Projects and approved bid letting to begin this week.
• Approved annual increases to Employee Salaries of $.50 an hour for full time employees beginning the next pay period.
• Heard a report from City Manager Chris Komarek about ongoing city projects including the final phase of the KDOT project, city vacancies, and upcoming OSHA training. Komarek and City Attorney Bob Peter will also travel to Topeka next week for Kansas Municipalities day at the Capital.
• An executive session was held discuss negotiations for possible acquisition of property in relation to the flood control project. No action was taken.
ELLINWOOD — The Ellinwood City Council includes a new face as of Tuesday night. Newly elected councilman Jon Prescott was sworn in privately on Monday, Jan. 8, by Ellinwood City Clerk Kim Schartz. Mayor Irlan Fullbright and Councilman Alan Brauer also visited Schartz Monday at the city offices for their swearing in.
Top on the list of new business was a page-by-page review of the proposed flood control and street project that will begin this spring, funded by a $1.5 million bond issue passed in November.
A representative from EBH Civil Engineering was on hand to answer questions for the council and to address how the city would proceed with bridging the entrance to a resident’s driveway as it tackles the issue of flood control. Corey Long was there to share his preference that when the drive is replaced, he would prefer box cars to be used rather than concrete pipe. He was hoping a solution could be found to stop flood water from running over his driveway if possible, but EBH indicated that in the event of flooding, water could not be diverted by more than a foot. More than that could cause other issues, and any solution would be designed with occasional overflow in mind. One positive development for Long, however, is the possibility his driveway could be moved to a more convenient location provided it will not cause a problem for the neighbor with whom the access is currently shared. Councilman Ken Lebbin stressed this will need to be confirmed before the council can agree to the move.
The goal of the review Tuesday was to gain approval from the council to open the projects up for bidding as soon as possible in order to get started before spring rains begin, City Manager Chris Komarek said. With that in mind, the council agreed to split the bridge issue out from the rest of the project, and gave EBH the nod to move forward with bid letting this week. This will provide the time needed to gather additional information concerning Long’s drive. Komarek assured Long he would be kept informed of progress.
Bids will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, and the council will have time to consider the bids with a special meeting planned for Tuesday, Feb. 20. It is hoped that work could start on the project by the beginning of March. It is also hoped that Smoky Hill, a contractor currently working on the KDOT highway project, may bid on the new project. Komarek provided an update, stating KDOT has 26 days left before the project must be completed according to contract, and its looking likely the deadline will be met. Even if weather becomes a factor, the amount of actual construction work left to be completed is well within reach, he said.
Council members approved an increase in salary for full time employees. Starting the next pay period, they will receive an additional $.50 an hour. This was agreed upon in lieu of a percentage increase. The Consumer Price Index indicated a cost of living increase of around three percent from 2016, Komarek said. This was in line with data from the Society of Human Resource Management, according to Prescott. But Councilman Ken Lebbin advanced the idea of a dollar amount increase instead. In the end, it was agreed that the increases were similar enough in size that all could agree. Komarek indicated that city finances may not afford a similar raise next year.
Openings in two city departments were announced during Komarek’s departmental report. Deb Worman has announced her retirement in the next few weeks, and a recent water department hire has resigned. An employee in the electrical department has applied for that vacancy, so the city will also soon be advertising for a position in the electrical department.
Komarek said next week 10-hour OSHA training will begin. He will not be at the training, however, because he and City Attorney Bob Peter will be attending the Kansas Municipalities Day at the Capitol next week. They anticipate several difficult issues for Kansas Municipalities this year, with legislation pitting city utilities against cooperatives topping the list.
Following his report, at 8:50 p.m., the council, Mayor Irlan Fullbright, Komarek, Peter and Schartz entered into executive session for 10 minutes to discuss negotiations for possible acquisition of property in relation to the flood control project. They returned to regular session at 9 p.m., and no action was taken. The meeting was then adjourned.