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Projects get green light in Ellinwood
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Other items of discussion and actions taken at the Ellinwood City Council meeting included:
• Approved the request of the Chief of Police to be allowed to replace the 2009 Ford Crown Victoria which now has 123,040 miles on it and has required several repairs in recent months. The Kansas Highway Patrol has a 2012 Dodge Charger with 49,500 miles that we can purchase for $16,800. The 2015 budget has $18,000 allocated for this purpose. The car has all the equipment, so only decals and radios will need to be applied and installed.
• Approved an agreement to retain Robert Peter as the City Attorney as a independent contractor when his current contract expires at the end of the month. The new contract will begin on Oct. 1, 2015.
“Bob has been the city attorney for many years, and he’s done us a great job,” Fullbright said. Newberry added his two cents. He and Peter discussed how Newberry felt having Peter serve after being the former city manager, but they are in agreement their relationship is solid, and he said he appreciates the history that Peter has with the city .
• The City’s health insurance policy is up for renewal on November 1. The council approved the proposed “Gold Premier Shop” plan as presented for health insurance renewal for the next year, and added a dental insurance plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield with the same contributions of 100 percent of the premium for employees and 85 percent of other coverages for spouses and/or children.
• Newberry reported he approved a request by the Ellinwood Fire Department and EMS to block off the street in front of the fire house between Kennedy and Humbolt Streets on Oct. 3 for an open house between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
• Newberry also reported on a meeting with all parties involved with the KDOT project, and outlined what he felt was a final schedule of activity. Construction should begin by Dec. 1, and should be completed by June 1, 2016. He also informed the council that by approving the agreement with KDOT, it would be appropriate for the city to pay invoices and update the council at regular monthly meetings, rather than require their approval by council prior to issuing payment. He also assured them that the city’s auditors concurred it would be an acceptable practice.

Action taken Tuesday by the Ellinwood City Council should help the city move forward on several construction projects, and make it more attractive for patrons to consider moving ahead on some of their own.
First, the council conducted a public hearing concerning reinstating a neighborhood revitalization plan.
The new plan is identical to one that concluded in 2011. The primary target areas, consisting of residential neighborhoods on both sides of the highway as well as parts of the Main Street business district, remain the same. Other areas would be eligible as secondary target areas. Eligible projects would include additions or new buildings that raise a property’s value by a minimum of $10,000. For primary target areas, the rebates would continue for eight years on a graduated scale, while the secondary would continue for five years. Rebates would be paid after the tax bill is paid, and would include only the portion of the tax that represents the increase in value.
A patron asked what the city had in mind for promoting the plan, but the city planned only to provide information to applicants for building permits. However, it opened the door for a discussion and City Manager Bud Newberry volunteered to promote the program through speaking opportunities at the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce coffees and service club meetings.
With that, the board approved Resolution No. 90815, which designates the revitalization area and approves an interlocal agreement between the city, USD 355 Board of Education, the Board of Directors of Ellinwood District Hospital and the Board of Trustees of Barton Community College, a requirement by the state as all entities benefit from property taxes paid.

KDOT project agreement approved
The council also approved the agreement between the city and KDOT for Project No. 56-5 KA 2051-01, which will take place along U.S. 56 through Ellinwood.
“This is the agreement we’ve been waiting for,” Newberry said. The document is necessary in order for the city to be reimbursed by the state.
The final state cost of the project is $2,507,449 to be borne 100 percent by KDOT.
The city attorney stated that the agreement was a standard contract and looked fine.
Councilman Rick Wilson clarified that the invoices would need to be in $5,000 or larger increments. The invoices need to be paid before KDOT reimburses. There is a five-day turnaround at this time. If the amount goes higher, Newberry said, there would be an amendment made.

Executive sessions
In response to the recommendations of the city’s auditors, an annual review of delinquent accounts has been completed, and the council met in executive session to discuss the accounts and decide which should be written off, stating that the information pertaining to the accounts is not public record. It was stated that a list of delinquent accounts would be provided at executive session. After seven minutes, the council returned to regular session, and accepted the delinquent accounts as presented.
Then, the council entered into an executive session for discussion pertaining to attorney/client privilege, lasting 30 minutes. Upon resumption of regular session, the council approved a motion to hire Pickens Restoration for the price of $17,500 to place concrete on the south exterior wall of the Main Street demolition project as soon as possible. With was no further discussion, and the council adjourned.

The next regular meeting of the Ellinwood City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the City Office.