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Franchise fee ‘asset to the community’
Council allows city’s agreement with Nex-Tech to renew
barry bowers council pic
New Great Bend City Council member Barry Bowers, left, takes his seat at his first regular council meeting Monday night next to Mayor Joe Andrasek. Bowers, who has already attended a budget work session, fills the Ward 2 seat vacated after the resignation of Chad Somers in May. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The City of Great Bend’s  franchise agreement with Nex-Tech will continue for another five years after the City Council Monday night allowed the deal to renew automatically.

This took place after Nex-Tech’s Jessica Morris gave an update on the company’s service arrangement to the council. First approved in 2015, the contract called for the auto renewal in five years barring objections from either party.

“I just want to make sure you are happy with everything,” Morris said. “I wanted to know if you had any questions.”

The city is compensated $2.25 per access line from Nex-Tech in exchange for the company being allowed to be a local exchange service provider within the city limits. It grants the company use of rights of way for its infrastructure.

The cost of the fee is actually paid by Nex-Tech 1,000 Great Bend customers, Morris said. It is collected by the provider and remitted to the city quarterly.

City Administrator Kendal Francis said there have been no problems with the franchise deal. The cost is the same the city charges Cox Communications for its franchise.

“The franchise fee is a great asset for the community,” Councilman Dana Dawson said.

In general, this involves the use of the company’s new fiber-optic service. 

The company started along 10th Street five years ago and rolled out the project in stages covering Main Street, then branched out into other parts of the community and into rural areas. Although not currently expanding further, Morris said they are planning expanding this coverage as it becomes economically feasible. 

Fiber-To-The-Premises is the delivery of telephone, broadband (Internet) and television services over optical fiber from a its switching equipment to a home/business. Fiber is used instead of any existing copper wire or coaxial cable because it can provide vastly higher bandwidth which, in turn, improves the speed and quality of voice, video and broadband services.  

This unlimited bandwidth provides for much faster downloads and uploads of data and files to and from the Internet.  

The company is based in Lenora. Nex-Tech also provides an array of enterprise IT solutions including cloud services, cloud-based phone systems, network security, physical security and surveillance, a 24-hour network operations center and managed services. It has stores in more than 20 locations statewide.

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved a 3% raise for City Administrator Kendal Francis and discussed extending his contract come next year.

The council held two executive sessions totally 45 minutes for Francis’ evaluation. 

The contract with Francis requires that a review be carried out annually on his anniversary date of July 30. At the time of the employment review, Francis may receive up to a

4% pay increase.

• Approved the waiver from the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for the reporting of the city’s financial statements and to allow the city to use the regulatory basis of accounting under the Kansas Municipal Audit and Accounting Guide. This is done annually, City Clerk/Finance Director Shawna Schafer said.

The city each year votes to waive adherence to  GAAP. In short, GAAP requires reporting cash and non-cash assets, and liabilities.

However, when it comes to what the state wants in its budget documents, this won’t work. So, many municipalities waive GAAP annually and operate on a regulatory basis (modified cash basis), tracking cash, certain accounts payable and encumbrances only, to make reporting easier.

Auditors must note this in their reports, but there is no averse impact for it.

• Approved an ordinance and a resolution authorizing the directing the sale and delivery of general obligation bonds for the recent Eighth Street expansion project. At the July 1 meeting, the governing body approved a resolution authorizing the offering for sale of general obligation bonds for the costs of the street, sanitary sewer and waterline improvements. Bid closing was 10 a.m. July 10 and five bids were received, and the low bid was Plains State Bank with an interest rate of 2.59%, said Roger Edgar, executive vice president with George K. Baum and Company, the city’s bond consultants.

The bonds will mature in 2029. The principal amount will be $75,000 in the first year 2020 and increase to $100,000 by 2029.

The improvements have been paid for by the city using money from the temporary note. The final assessment costs for the street, sewer improvements and water improvements were $707,419.88, $61,456.25 and $96,123.87, respectively, for a total project cost of $865,000.

However, this is a petition project, meaning it is ultimately paid for by a benefit district made up of businesses and property owners along the stretch of street. Special assessments charged to these owners will cover the cost of the work.

• Approved a change order for $35,000 from Venture Corporation of Great Bend to overlay the south half and re-stripe the entire parking lot at the Great Bend Senior Center, 2005 Kansas.

In May, the council approved a project to mill and overlay portions of Kansas and Williams streets as well as the north half of the city-owned parking lot which serves the Senior Center. The initial feeling was that the south half was in such poor condition that it would be cost prohibitive to address at this time. 

However, after further evaluation, discussions with Venture and favorable pricing, city officials recommended also addressing the south half now.

• Heard an update on Next-Tech’s franchise agreement with the city. The agreement was automatically renewed in May for another five years, and Jessica Norris with Nex-Tech gave the report.

• Approved a temporary street closure for Forest Avenue from Main Street to Williams Street from 6-11 a.m. Oct. 19 for the Barton County Young Professionals’ Flatlander Half Marathon and YP5K.

• Approved a one-day cereal-malt beverage license for Edgar Jacobs with the Odin Store. He requested it for a quinceanera at the Great Bend Events Center on Saturday, July 20.

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on ongoing street repair projects.

• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. She focused on June Jaunt results, the Christmas in July last week and the upcoming Party in the Park Aug. 10.

• Approved abatements at: 2231 Morton, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Martha Cline; 1622 19th, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Lakeyia Jones; and 2527 7th, cumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Justin Schartz.

new deh city adminitrator candidates Kendal Francis
Kendal Francis