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Larned water tower project gets green light
City plans budget calendar, to hold work sessions in July
Mayor Nusser at the water tower
Larned Mayor William Nusser speaks at a Chamber Coffee Hour the city hosted at the water tower in June. After meeting its grassroots fundraising goal for the project, the Larned City Council officially green-lighted the project at its July 6 meeting. - TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

Following a successful months-long grassroots fundraising campaign, the Larned City Council officially gave the go-ahead to proceed with the restoration of lights on the city’s water tower at its July 6 meeting.

The council approved an agreement between the city and Falk Architects of Topeka for a total of $98,000 with the goal to have the new lights installed in time for Thanksgiving.

The first $95,000 of the contract is to replace the old lights and fixtures with red and white LED lights similar to the original light design. The installation includes water-resistant fixtures protected against hail and debris, and bulbs with a 100,000-hour lifespan. This also includes a mock-up prior to installation for city approval.

In addition, the contract also includes $3,000 for Falk to do an electric evaluation of the water tower. 

This will include having a licensed electrician evaluate existing conduits, wires, junctions and switching to ensure electrical systems are in working order and able to handle the power load of the new light setup, and determine if any electrical repairs are needed prior to the lights’ installation.

Because of the success of the fundraising campaign, however, with over $111,000 raised as of July 8, though, the funds over and above that cost will support the cost of any repairs that do need to be made.

Larned City Manager Bradley Eilts said the council approved spending not to exceed $30,000 over the amount of funds raised should the electrical evaluation uncover any maintenance issues that need to be addressed prior to the installation of the lights.

Larned Mayor William Nusser anticipates Falk will begin work on the project immediately due to the tight timeframe in which the work needs to be completed.

is excited to see the long-planned project come to fruition.

“It’s a great sense of pride,” Nussser said. “Pride in the sense of the tremendous community I’ve been given the opportunity to serve. Larned is a special place.”

Council prepares for budget process

As the city prepares for its 2022 budget process, the council approved a budget calendar at the July 6 meeting.

First up, the city council will hold special budget planning work sessions on Tuesday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 20. These meetings will be open to the public. The official budget hearing will be scheduled, then, for the council’s regular August meeting on Monday, Aug. 2.

Through the process, Eilts said he anticipated a proposed budget which would reflect a decrease in the city’s mill levy, with a couple significant changes occurring for the upcoming years.

First, Eilts said, he anticipates the city will need to allocate additional funds for materials such as asphalt and fuel, given recent significant cost increases in many raw materials.

The city, however, expects to see one significant cost reduction in the upcoming budget year.

As of January 1, 2022, Larned’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be transferring to a new, county-wide EMS service. As of that time, the all costs related to the operation of the EMS service will be transferred to the new Pawnee County EMS, which will service all communities in the county.

Included in this will be the transfer of ownership and maintenance of the EMS building at 123 W. 9th in Larned to Pawnee County, as well as all EMS equipment and supplies currently owned by the City of Larned.

Because of this decrease, Eilts does not anticipate any issues in regards to the city’s compliance with Senate Bill 13, which requires all taxing entities in the state to maintain a revenue-neutral rate when planning for the upcoming budget year.