Other items discussed and actions taken at the Larned City Council meeting Tuesday night included:
• Heard a presentation from Larned resident Shannon Slattery about an upcoming community service event organized by IMPACT Larned. The event will happen Oct. 4-7. Slattery asked the city to provide a list of short projects volunteers could assist with.
In April 2014, the City of Larned contracted with Omni Billing Services, Wichita, to provide coding, billing and collection services of Larned’s Emergency Management Services. The council requested a representative attend the meeting and provide information concerning the procedures being implemented, and to learn if there are any suggestions in order to make collections more effective or efficient. A major benefit to the city, it was pointed out, by contracting with Omni, the city did not have to shoulder a costly software upgrade in order to meet new federal guidelines, nor provide the training on that software.
• Approved a request from Pawnee County Cooperative Association to share the cost of extending an electrical distribution line to the Coop. The city and the company would evenly split the costs associated with the project up to $15,000 costs to PCCA. The costs to PCCA will be spread over an 18-month period to assist them in leveraging costs associated with the expansion.
• Approved a request from Vicky Dayton with HOI for reimbursement for deferred expenses in the amount of $6,752, and for assistance in paying for maintenance expenses in the amount of $4,840 that have arisen in excess of rents collected from the Larned Dream Home properties.
• Approved a new Utility Billing Ordinance that will become effective with the Dec. 1 billing cycle.
• Approved change to a postcard format for the majority of utility billing. Customers with multiple accounts will continue to get statements.
• Discussed formalizing a long-time practice of the city, allowing a commercial property the use of a city easement for display purposes. Verbal agreements are in place, but the city would like to pursue a written lease type of arrangement.
• Discussed options for marketing city-owned Baird Addition. Prairie Village duplexes are currently the only improvements to the parcel. The council discussed zoning issues, commercial opportunities, and partnering with economic development .
• Approved a bid from Webcon Sustainable Roof Systems, Hutchinson, in the amount of $35,0000 plus up to $2,500 in additional costs to tear off existing roofing and replace it with a TPO roof system on the Larned Fire Department building.
• Heard a presentation from Joshua Kraisinger with the Larned Parks Department concerning the cemetery, parks and additional information about the Larned City Pool. The discussion will be continued at the next city council meeting.
• Heard a presentation from Rick Reason with Larned Sanitation Department, concerning trash and limb pickup, and the possibility of contracting with a private company to pick up limbs.
• Eilts proposed the formation of a committee to include city officials and members of the public. The committee would study and evaluate plans to update the city pool. The city will advertise for applicants, and Eilts, Wilson, and Bennet will choose committee members. Council members encouraged Eilts and Nusser to reach out to Larned High School’s student council members to invite them to get involved.
BY VERONICA COONS
LARNED — The Pawnee County Humane Society’s reserves are running low as a result of donations being down in recent years. PCHS Board President Reva Preeo and two other board members approached the council Tuesday night to make their case for additional funding in order to continue operations. Unless donations begin to increase again, PCHS anticipates it will need the help on an annual basis.
Specifically, Preeo asked the council for $25,000 to pay 80 percent of the manager’s salary. The amount was determined by the percentage of impounds and relinquishments coming from Larned. They plan to ask the county for the remaining 20 percent. The shelter has employed a manager since 2013. Prior to that, the organization was volunteer-run.
It costs the shelter between $60,000 and $65,000 to operate on an annual basis, Preeo said. Expenses include veterinarian and other medical bills, vaccines and tests, supplies and the shelter manager’s salary. Over the last two years, Preeo said, monthly contributions have not kept pace with monthly expenses.
Board members were met with several diagnostic questions from council members and Mayor William Nusser. Councilman Jason Murray called for a business plan to be created, and City Manager Bradley Eilts offered to work with board members to create a financial projection going forward to present to the board at the next meeting. Councilman Dennis Wilson asked the council wait to act on the request until it could be determined where in the budget the $25,000 would come from.
A motion approve the Wilson said that it is unfortunate the PCHS waited until a month after the 2018 city budget had been approved to approach the council with their request. Preeo stated the group had asked to be on the agenda in August, but were denied.
Water protection plan presented
The City of Larned Source Water Protection Plan was developed in committee between former City of Larned Water Department Supervisor David Salee and Doug Helmke, P.G., Kansas Rural Water Association. Helmke attended the meeting Tuesday to present the plan and answer questions.
“Source Water Protection is a program that assumes protecting limited groundwater supplies is cheaper than to treat or repair water or locate an alternative source,” Helmke said. After 10 years of writing plans, he said all proactive efforts to prevent any interruption to a safe, clean and affordable drinking water should be the basis of any protection plan.
The first such plan was created in 2000. Helmke went on to detail the updated plan proposal. A detailed map, showing the location of all city-owned wells, updated information concerning three contamination sites within the city, and 11 actions to take in the near future, including asking police to incorporate patrols around the city wells for suspicious activity and general crime prevention.
In addition, the plan recommends plugging all abandoned wells and asking an individual to plug an illegal well located within 250 feet north of the city’s Smith Well, and asking them to move all chemicals and/or fuel tanks, sprayers, and idle motor vehicles “to a location as far as possible from the City’s wells.”
Councilman Kim Barnes asked if chlorine stored at the city pool was safe to store on site. An alternate location was suggested.
One final recommendation Helmke offered. Rather than waiting another 17 years to revisit the plan, he suggested an annual review. The council agreed, accepting the plan as written.
The next regular meeting of the Larned City Council will be at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 2, at the city offices. The city manager hinted at the possibility of calling a special meeting in days to come. If a meeting is announced, the public will be notified.