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Ellinwood lowers mill levy; receives lawsuit funds
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ELLINWOOD — The Ellinwood City Council voted Tuesday at its regular meeting to adopt the budget reducing the mill levy assessment from 39.825 to 39.391 mills for 2013. A mill is one dollar for every $1,000 in value that a house is assessed. In addition, the council learned that they had received $35,000 in a class action lawsuit involving atrazine, an agricultural chemical, in water.
“The valuation is up $452,000,” said Robert Peter, city administrator. “We’ll get extra funding because of the increase of valuation.” The increase in valuation is higher than other cities in the county such as Hoisington.
The estimated valuation for 2012 is $8,593,798 for Ellinwood. In 2011, the valuation was $8,141,837.
This budget includes proposed raises of 3 percent for employees and HSA contribution of $200 per month, subject to council approval.
Atrazine settlement
In 2010, a class action lawsuit was filed against Syngenta claiming the company knew the weed killer Atrazine would enter drinking supplies and should pay to remove it. No one in Ellinwood knew of the lawsuit. The total settlement amount was $105 million dollars that will be distributed amongst the communities involved. The city decided to proceed with the claim, which should  result in an approximate payment of $35,000.
“We were never contacted on this,” said Peter.
In his summary to the council, Peter said “The measured quantity in our system based on the 2011 analysis is .44, which is substantially below the allowable amount.”
The council approved the settlement, which had to be accepted by Aug. 28.
In other business, in order to comply with EPA mandates, the city will be adding catalytic convertors to two electrical generation engines at the Ellinwood Power Plant. According to Peter, the city will pay approximately $141,000 to upgrade one and the Kansas Power Pool will pay for the other.
The hours for the swimming pool will be reduced beginning Aug. 19.  
The hours are:
•3-11 p.m. on Aug. 19 and 20.
• 1-5 p.m. on Aug. 21 and 22.
• 4-6 p.m. on Aug. 23 and 24
•1-6 p.m. on Aug. 25.
•1-6 p.m. on Aug. 26, the last day.
In other business, the council:
•Reviewed delinquent accounts will which be sent to the state to be offset against tax refunds. According to Peter, the city only has a low percentage of bad debts, and writes-off two-one hundredths of one percent.
•Adopted the updated Uniform Public Offense Code.
•Adopted the Standard Traffic Offense Code.
•Discussed employee health insurance.
•Heard the city will have a fly-in on Sept. 9.