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Ellinwood to host cattle drive, raises water rates
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ELLINWOOD — The Ellinwood City Council heard at its meeting on Tuesday that Ellinwood will be on the route of a 150th-anniversary cattle drive.

Lloyd Kurtz was present to address council with details about the drive to be held in several Kansas towns along the old Ellsworth/Cox Cattle Trail. The plan is for the drive to involve up to 400 longhorn steers. It would begin just south of Caldwell, Okla., the weekend of Sept. 3-4, and continue to Ellsworth.

The cattle drive would pass through Ellinwood the weekend of Sept. 17. A request has been received from the organizers of the event to allow the cattle to be driven down Main Street after crossing the river south of town. The council agreed to allow the cattle to be driven down Main Street.

At the Jan. 11, council meeting, a study session was held to discuss the City’s water rate structure. The current rates are $6 base charge, which was increased from $4.50 in 2005, and $1.70 per 1,000 gallons, established in 1994. The water fund has experienced significant losses in the last three years, which has prompted analysis of the water rate structure.

Water rates were obtained from several surrounding communities, and upon analysis the City of Ellinwood has one of the lowest base charges.

A motion was made by Gaila Nielsen to adopt Ordinance No. 2011-1, an ordinance amending the monthly service charge for water furnished through a meter to $2 per thousand gallons for all usage over 1,000 gallons, and approve a monthly meter charge of $10 per meter to be effective April 1. Also included in the motion was to approve a secondary increase to $12 monthly meter charge and increase the usage fee to $2.50 per 1000 gallons for all usage over 1000 gallons, effective April 1, 2013.

Before the motion was approved, additional discussion ensued regarding the rate structure for water tank sales. Council member Irlan Fullbright amended the original motion to include an approval of a $5 minimum charge for water tank sales up to a 1000 gallons and a $5 per 1000 gallon charge up to a maximum of $20. The motion carried.

This issue of employee salaries was tabled from the Jan. 11 meeting. The budget for 2011 allowed for a three percent increase in employee’s wages. After some discussion, a motion was made by Council member Rick Wilson to approve a $.40 per hour raise for all full-time employees, seconded by Council member Clawson. The motion passed.

A motion was made by Council member Clawson to approve a three percent increase for the ambulance personnel, seconded by Branden Rapp. The motion carried.

Service awards were presented to the following city employees for their years of service to the City of Ellinwood: Debbie Glenn,15 years, ambulance director; Chris Komarek, 15 years, fire chief; Gary Oglesbee, 15 years , fire department; Jim McMullen, 15 years , fire department; and Sandra Ritterhouse, 10 years, ambulance department

Curtis Wolf, site manager of Kansas Wetlands Education Center was present to give an update on the KWEC, including past accomplishments and goals for 2011. The Center is approaching their two- year anniversary. Wolf explained the mission of the KWEC is to educate the public about wetlands and their importance to this area.

During this past year the KWEC has had over 23,000 contacts through drop-in visitors, on-site programs, outreach programs and trade show booths. Wolf also expressed appreciation to the Ellinwood community for their support.

Presented to the council were pictures of property at 106 E B. Street which has been determined to be a dangerous or unsafe structure and Resolution 020811 sets a time and place for a hearing on the condemnation of the property. It will be held April 12 at 7 p.m.