Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
• The consent agenda contained approval of the employee cost of living adjustments (COLA) of 1.1 percent for 2018 and approval of cereal malt beverage licenses for Kwik Shop #741, Casey’s General Store, Shopko, High Plains Pizza Hut and Backdoor.
• Approved a city utility vehicle ordinance that will allow micro trucks, work-site utility vehicles and golf carts on city streets, provided they are registered and licensed by the city and operated by those with full licenses. The cost for registration will be $50.
• Approved Standard Traffic Ordinance updates.
• Approved a transfer of $104,546 or $133,546 to the Capital improvement and Equipment Reserve fund.
• Approved an agreement with Pawnee County for EMS service. The county will pay for 40 percent of the costs of the EMS program less the revenues received by services provided.
• Staff presentations were made by Larned Polied Chief Orth, Randy Bird with the fire department, Joe Dickenson with EMS and a GIS presentation by Karen VanVleet.
LARNED — When the Larned City Council met Monday night, hopes of residents at the city’s Prairie Vista Duplexes were dashed when a split council voted against approving the installation of a fenced enclosure on the site.
At the November meeting, Prairie Vista Manager Charles Spina presented a plan for the dog park to be located on the west end of the duplex community. The community has accepted pets for the past few years, and according to Spina, installation of the 53 foot by 53 foot dog park was promised. Funds for the fence became available from an insurance settlement and a delinquent rental payment. Since yards at the community are not fenced, pets must be on leashes when outside.
The initial plan was for white vinyl picket fence, but council members were concerned it would not hold up. They asked Spina to come back in December with other options. Spina returned with a proposal for a four-foot high chain link enclosed version of the 53 ft by 53 ft. pet park. One bid, from Walker Fencing, was for materials and installation in the amount of $2,706.66. The second bid from Pawnee Valley Lumber for materials only was $1,314.33. This option would require Spina and city crews to install the fence.
Councilman Dennis Wilson raised objection to the pet park.
“The more I’ve been thinking about this, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to put a fence out there,” he said. “Some of the problems I had with it earlier — the residents are going to put their dogs out there and leave them out there, and there’s going to be barking dogs. And if it really is a public pet park, then I think we’re going to open up a whole new can of worms that we don’t want to go down. That’s just my feelings on it.”
Spina reminded Wilson of what one of the tenants had said at the November meeting.
“I don’t know if anybody has ever been to a pet park in any other place, but I’ve never seen a pet park without a fence, and we had agreed to put a pet park in and I think we should complete it,” he said. “I really think that to expect that people are going to leave their dogs out there is kind of far reaching.”
He assured the council that he would not allow residents to leave their dogs there unattended.
Mayor William Nusser invited a patron to come to the microphone to address the council.
“I’ve seen a number of pet parks and I’ve never seen a dog at a pet park without an owner,” she said. “And they all have fences.” Councilman Terry Clark said he felt the residents would appreciate the fence. He made the motion to approve the lower-cost option utilizing the city crew. Councilman Gary Rainbolt seconded the motion.
Councilman Jason Murray asked if Spina knew how long it would take to install the fence. He estimated it would take a day once the city crew could schedule it. Nusser asked if the expenditure would go against the 2017 or the 2018 budget. Spina replied the money would come from proceeds from a 2017 insurance claim the city was able to save on repairs.
There was no further discussion. The vote was split with those in Ward 1, Rainbolt, and Ward 2, George Elmore, and Clark in favor, and those in Ward 3, Murray and Wilson, and Ward 4, Kim Barnes and Sharon McGinness, against. Carroll Bennett, Ward 1, was absent.
Under new business, the city’s need for a water telemetry system was addressed. Water telemetry is a process that would enable the city to monitor water quality and stream gauging functions from a remote location. Since, Sept. 12, the city has been “limping along” with its current 18-year old outdated and obsolete system after it went down.
“I think it’s truly time we address this issue and do it,” Eilts said. He said SIS was the low bid. The time has come, we have money set aside for this project, and it would be a 2018 project.”
Quotes for the new system ranged from $86,600 to $129,200. SCI Automation Systems of Gorham provided the low bid and the best value. The funds will come from the city’s operating utility fund.
“The system can also be expanded to accommodate other utility applications for the city as needed,” City Manager Brad Eilts said.
Representatives from SCI were at the meeting and gave a brief overview of the bid. They noted their company has been in business for 25 years, and keeps parts in stock. They are available to help troubleshoot and most work can be done remotely.
Council approved the purchase of the new water telemetry system from SCI Automation Systems.