With a six-point agenda, the Abilene Commission met for approximately 40 minutes during the April 25 regular meeting. The commission heard a few proclamations, voted on items presented at last week’s study session and heard a report from a city manager.
To begin the meeting, the committee amended the agenda by tabling item 6 regarding the reappointment of Sheila Biggs to the Abilene Library Board. Later in the meeting, Trevor Witt, the city’s vice mayor, said the item was filed because the request Biggs submitted was a general request and not the city’s intended form to be filled out. Witt said he would like to see the city’s form completed since the library board is important because it controls the library’s roughly $500,000 budget. City commissioner Brandon Rein said he agreed with Witt.
Mayor Dee Marshall then signed a proclamation designating April 29 as Arbor Day. Jennie Hiatt, who oversees the Tree Board, accepted the proclamation.
Marshall then signed a proclamation designating April 29 as Mayor Jouichi Shimada’s Day. Omitama, Japan is a sister city of Abilene. The proclamation was declared to honor the retirement of the city’s mayor. Sister City council members accepted the proclamation.
City Manager Ron Marsh then led the meeting in recognizing Jennie Hiatt for winning the Nancy Crane Award for 2022 Municipal Administrative Professional of the Year from Kansas Cities Administrative Assistants.
City attorney Aaron Martin then refreshed city commissioners on Kansas’ open meeting law. The law generally pertains to meetings of the legislative and administrative bodies of the Kansas state and subdivisions.
The commission then approved Municipal Supply’s bid for $46,520.75 for new hydrants. Public Works requested that the amount not exceed $50,000 to stay within the department’s budget.
The commission then approved the Agricultural Chemical Spill Control and Countermeasure Plan for Abilene Municipal Airport with the intention of adopting modifications to the plan in the future. While presenting the item, Marsh said city staff met with representatives from Crop Services, who commented on the plan during the April 4 study session. Marsh said they had “good suggestions” for the plan and that Crop Service will not leave the airport this year. Marsh said he recommended the commission adopt the SPCC plan while city staff discussed the suggestions in more detail.
John Kollhoff, commissioner, then said he was unsure why the plan needed to be adopted at the meeting instead of waiting to adopt it until the suggestions had been discussed and the changes decided upon had been incorporated. He also asked if an engineer had signed the plan. Witt said the city engineer approved it. Marsh said there was a company planning to use the airport for spraying this year. Kollhoff then offered to drop the point until the plan was completed. The motion failed. The plan was later approved with Kollhoff voting no.
Marsh then presented a report to the City Manager. The city closed the sale of three lots in the east section of Golden Belt Heights on Thursday of last week and a deal to sell eight more is slated for April 29. Fire Department Chief Kale Strunk and three other firefighters will attend the FDIC International Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana this week. The police department remodel is nearing completion with some “to do list” items and electrical work to be completed. The city received a $3,279 reimbursement from the Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust for the 2021 payroll audit of the city’s workers’ compensation insurance premium.
During last week’s study session, Marsh said he reported an incorrect number for water loss in mobile home parks between main water meters and individual water meters. The correct number is 602,833 gallons. The previous number of 4.3 million gallons was the total amount of water passing through the main meters. Marsh said the correct figure was 14% of the water that passes through the main meters and 1% of the city’s overall water loss.
“Although this is a significant number, it does not affect the overall need for policy change. I apologize for the error. We’ll do better next time,” Marsh said.
Great Life Golf and Fitness Golf Course Consultant’s Report has been submitted. The city is waiting for the real estate expertise which will be done in mid-May. Marsh said he had tentatively scheduled the consultant to attend the May 16 study session to present his report to the commission.
“I would like this study session to also be a community meeting for the commissioners to hear from the public, so we can have a discussion about the golf course for the community,” Marsh said.
The Abilene Commission will meet for a study session on May 2 at 4 p.m.