The Abilene City Commission met yesterday afternoon for its first meeting of the month. They discussed six items on the agenda. Marcus Rothchild, the city’s chief financial officer, also publicly announced his departure from city staff for the position of Dickinson County chief financial officer.
To begin the meeting, the committee then heard a presentation of the City of Abilene’s financial statements by April Swartz of Varney & Associates. The company completed its city audit two weeks ago.
The commission then considered a resolution to create two ad hoc committees, the Global Plan Steering Committee and the Sports Complex Task Force.
The Global Plan Steering Committee will focus on providing direction and guidance to the Plan Development Corporation creating the city’s Global Plan, according to the agenda document. They will also help the company communicate with the community about the plan and its process.
For the Sports Complex Working Group, the vote of the committee will be to establish the already formed working group of community members as an official committee.
“So far they’ve done a good job, but they seem to be floundering at times, through no fault of their own,” said City Manager Ron Marsh. “It will give them some legitimacy and allow you to really direct what you want to see in terms of advancing the sports complex.”
Marsh said city staff will present candidates for nominations for committee positions at an upcoming meeting.
Mayor Dee Marshall said she thought the idea of establishing these two committees was a good idea.
Trevor Witt, vice mayor, said he wanted Recreation Commission staff to be involved in the sports complex task force. He also wanted a young member of the community to sit on the committee. Marsh said a staff member from the Recreation Commission is currently on the task force.
The commission then considered approving the purchase of a new 250 kilowatt generator for the water treatment plant. The generator will replace the stationary 1975 generator originally used in the sewage treatment plant used in an emergency for the plant. The city has four bids for a generator. Accurate Electric of Salina submitted offers for a Caterpillar unit for $115,900, an MTU unit for $106,700 and a Cummins unit for $117,150. Manhattan’s Central Mechanical Construction bid for an MTU unit for $103,900. Foley Equipment of Wichita bid for a Caterpillar unit for $99,673. Linder Electric of Abilene submitted an offer for an MTU unit for $79,704.50. City staff recommend Linder Electric’s offer.
The proposed purchase of the generator was proposed in the 2022 capital improvement plan. The city estimated the cost of the generator at $75,000 when the purchase was included in early 2021.
“It’s amazing how close you got to your estimate of what you got versus the actual offer. Because the prices are so wild right now, being under $5,000 of that is damn good,” Marshall told Lon Schrader, director of the public works department.
Wendy Miller, Commissioner, asked what was the difference between Caterpillar and MTU units. Schrader said they are not very different.
The commission then considered approving concrete street repairs. Repairs include paving which includes gutter and curb, sidewalks, handicap ramps and gutter. The city received three bids, Lancaster Construction of Salina for $58,463.85, Hutton Corporation of McPherson for $139,054.28, and T&M Concrete Contractors of Chapman for $50,667.30. The staff recommends the offer from T & M Concrete Contractors. Due to a miscalculation of a few materials, the bid for T&M Concrete Contractors listed in the agenda is incorrect, Schrader said. The correct number is $51,066.14, increased by $398.84. The city estimated the cost at $67,550.
The commission then considered approving the city staff longevity bonus for this year. Staff members between five and nine years of service will receive $200, between 10 and 14 years of service will receive $400, between 15 and 19 years of age will receive $600, between 20 and 24 years of age will receive $800 and 25 years of service and more will receive $1,000. The longevity compensation budget for the 2022 budget is $20,600. The city will pay $15,600 to employees this year.
During Monday afternoon, City Clerk Shayla Mohr discovered that the Federal Department of Labor requires the city to use longevity pay in calculating overtime.
“It seems like most cities and counties aren’t doing it the right way. Since I’ve been on the phone with a lady from the Federal Department of Labor several times, she has explained to me how this should be understood,” Mohr said. “I did a spreadsheet for this year and figured out the maximum at this point is about $30 more for an employee.”
Marsh said the city could provide overtime pay instead of a lump sum.
Marcus Rothchild, the city’s chief financial officer, then announced that he was accepting the position of chief financial officer for Dickinson County. His last day will be around December 22.
“Working for the city for the past seven and a half years has been an extremely rewarding opportunity, and it’s been great working with everyone,” Rothchild said. “I look forward to continuing this relationship, just under partnership status, as we work with the city moving forward.”
Marshall praised Rothchild for his work in his current position.
“I really enjoyed working with you. I saw you grow in your position. We spent about the same time. I admire your integrity, your honesty and your willingness to help everyone,” said said Marshall.