Kansas Municipal News

Google announces it no longer plans to bring Fiber service to Leawood

Google on Thursday notified Leawood residents who had expressed interest in receiving the company’s high-speed Fiber internet and television service that it no longer plans to build out its network in the city.

The email sent to hundreds of Leawood residents says the company made the decision after finding that the build out project in Leawood “would require a much more difficult construction effort and schedule than anticipated.” …

Contacted Thursday afternoon, Leawood City Administrator Scott Lambers said a confidentiality agreement prevented him from commenting on the specifics of the situation, but confirmed that Google Fiber had informed the city it no longer planned to build out its network there. Lambers said that Google had unilaterally pulled out of negotiations between the two parties in a publicly filed document in late August, a year after Google and Leawood signed the agreement to bring Fiber to the city.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)


McPherson’s private sewers need repairs

Many years ago, the city of McPherson didn’t have ordinances governing sewage systems when building homes. Because of this, many houses were built connected to party sewer lines. This means that the sewage lines in these areas are privately owned and shared by two or more properties. The laterals connect to a single pipe that eventually connects to public sewer lines; however, the taps leading into the homes and the single lines are privately owned.
“Two houses on one tap is something we do not allow today,” Public Works Director Jeff Woodward said.
Party line sewers aren’t common and many home owners are unaware they are even on party sewers until something goes wrong. Recently some residents of McPherson brought their concerns to the city.

(Read more: mcphersonsentinel.com)


Some question Sedgwick County election commissioner’s recruiting of family, friends to work the polls

Several of Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman’s family and friends are helping her run the county’s elections, raising some concerns among those who are watchdogs for election integrity.

…Lehman’s election crew includes her brother, her son, her nephew and another nephew’s fiancee. The nephews are both sons of a candidate in the upcoming election Tuesday, state Rep. Jim Howell, who is running for the Sedgwick County Commission.

Lehman said she recruited from her family and church acquaintances because of a chronic shortage of “board workers,” the people who run the polling places.

(Read more: The Wichita Eagle & Kansas.com)


Flags may not fly on Main Street, Valley Center

A landmark in downtown Valley Center was removed last week after being hit by a vehicle.

Now, the future of a flagpole that stood tall in the middle of Main Street since 1976 is uncertain.

“We’re evaluating our options with it,” said City Administrator Joel Pile.

A Jeep backed into the flagpole at Main and Park the afternoon of Oct. 23.

Though Pile said the city likely will file an insurance claim, whether the flagpole returns ultimately may be up to the city council, he said.

The flagpole has history — some of it controversial — in Valley Center.

Engineers have suggested that a flagpole in the middle of a road is a potential hazard to drivers.

The flagpole was placed at Main and Park in 1976 as part of the city’s celebration of the country’s bicentennial. The pole was surrounded by a large brick planter.

(Read more: Valley Center Newswire)


Kingman to host a Fall Festival

The city of Kingman is planning a party. They’re even rerouting traffic off of Kingman’s Main Street (K-14) to make way for the Fall Festival activities.

“It’s a good way for people to come and enjoy our town, and shop here too,” said Emily Graf, Kingman city manager.

Saturday’s Fall Festival will feature a car show, petting zoo and more than 30 vendors. Graf said plenty of the local merchants along Kingman’s Main Street will be running specials for the festival. The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Mayor Stan Hacker said the event was organized by the Progress Kingman Board with the help of local merchants. The group recently created by the city commission to help promote Kingman in a encouraging, forward-moving manner.

(Read more: The Hutchinson News)


Second developer interested in casino in SE Kansas

The odds that Crawford County will get a casino might improve in the coming month as two developers are expected to submit applications to the state lottery commission.
One, Southeast Kansas Casino Group, disclosed interest this week in building a casino, hotel and restaurant on what’s now 200 privately owned acres south of Pittsburg.

Tuesday night, the Pittsburg City Commission took steps to begin the annexation process by approving both a petition from the landowners and a resolution of intent. Pittsburg Attorney Kyle Fleming represented the developer and the landowners.
Should Southeast Kansas Casino Group submit an application to the state lottery commission by Dec. 19 — the deadline for all developers in the new Southeast Kansas Gaming Zone — it would be in the company of Phil Ruffin and Quapaw Tribe’s Downstream Casino.
“It’s very favorable for us, because this gives us two in the game,” said Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall after Tuesday night’s meeting. “If it’s in the city of Pittsburg, then we’ll get sales tax for the city, of course room taxes, and we’d sell them water, which we have a lot of and we like to let people know that.”

(Read more: Joplin Globe)


Topeka city staff give depositions on Heartland Park

The Topeka mayor, the city manager and other city staff gave depositions Thursday in the legal case surrounding a potential public vote on the pending purchase of Heartland Park.

Mayor Larry Wolgast, city manager Jim Colson, city lawyer Chad Sublet and the city’s head of finance, Doug Gerber, faced questions from a lawyer representing Chris Imming, a Topeka resident who led a petition drive in recent months calling for a public vote on whether Topeka should purchase the financially troubled racing facility.

The testimony could be used later in court.

(Read more: News)


City Administrator Sasha Stiles reflects on time in Andover, taking job in Topeka

After giving her resignation last month, Andover City Administrator Sasha Stiles has accepted a position with the city of Topeka as their director of neighborhood relations.
She will start there on Dec. 22, and her last day in Andover will be Dec. 12.
“It’s a bigger organization,” she said of her decision to make this move. “It’s been great to work in Andover. I’ve learned a whole lot here. I think it’s a nice step in my career.”
Stiles started in Andover in June 2005.

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)


Osawatomie to Concentrate on Nuisance Vehicles in November & December

As part of the new initiative, the City of Osawatomie will on a regular basis announce its intention to concentrate on a nuisance issue for a one or two month period. For November and December, the City will concentrate on nuisance vehicles.

Beginning November 1st, the City will start providing notifications to any person or property owner found to have a motor vehicle nuisance (City Ordinance 8-303).

It is the City of Osawatomie’s intention, by announcing its plans to focus on motor vehicle nuisances, that citizens’ will comply with the removal of these nuisances prior to the City issuing notices. The City’s emphasis on motor vehicle nuisances does not allow other nuisances to be permitted during this time. The City nuisance officer may also cite or warn citizens about other nuisance violations discovered during November and December.

(Read more: Osawatomie – News Flash)


Topeka Fire Department looking to identify people with special assistance needs

The Topeka Fire Department on Saturday will launch a program designed to identify people who require special assistance during an emergency.

The fire department on Thursday sent out a news release about its new Special Assistance in Fire Emergencies program, which will provide information to responders that someone inside might be delayed or have problems evacuating themselves during an emergency.

Senior citizens with mobility issues, people with vision, hearing or other impairments, people confined to their beds or a wheelchair will benefit from the program, the department said.

(Read more: News)


Topeka firefighters pay co-workers to cover shifts

More than 50 firefighters with the Topeka Fire Department pay their peers cash to work multiple shifts for them — allowing department employees to work a second job and accrue pension, pay and time as if they were on the clock.

Data obtained by The Topeka Capital-Journal shows that between Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 1, 2014, firefighters accrued more than 3,100 hours that hadn’t been paid back to their colleagues in the time required. In some instances, firefighters made cash payments to substitutes for less than half of their hourly rate.

When uncovered in other states, the practice — often called shift trading or caddying — resulted in felony charges, suspensions and terminations.

(Read more: Topeka Capital-Journal)


Heartland Park depositions to go forward, but under seal

Jayhawk Racing will participate in the case surrounding a petition to force a vote on the purchase of Heartland Park, and a last-minute motion from the city to stop depositions scheduled for Thursday morning fell short — though the depositions’ content will be sealed.

A hearing Wednesday afternoon to determine whether Jayhawk Racing should be allowed to participate in the city’s lawsuit related to a petition filed by Topekan Chris Imming expanded in scope unexpectedly. The hearing touched on that issue and also what, if anything, Imming’s attorney should be able to ask city and county employees in depositions scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

(Read more: News)


Marion accepts shoddy work, keeps $3,750

A small strip of Main St. asphalt west of where it intersects with First St. will be left as is despite uncertainty as to its durability, Marion City Council decided Monday.
Darin Neufeld, an engineer for Evans, Bierly, Hutchison, and Associates, told the council its options were limited: either accept the job as is, or write a letter to Kansas Paving’s bond company beseeching the construction company to fix the project, which was part of a Kansas Department of Transportation connecting link (KLINK) initiative.
The KLINK project was not paid because it failed to comply with the city’s specifications. The asphalt was applied during a rainstorm, which washed away the tack oil that binds the new asphalt to the surface below.

Neufeld said it would be grounds for rejecting future bids from Kansas Paving, Inc., even if the company is the low bidder.
For the city, the decision to leave the job alone means a job worth approximately $15,000 is done for free, and the city saves approximately $3,750 in capital improvement funds, Neufeld said.

(Read more: Marion County RECORD)


Sales tax mailers sent to non-Wichita residents

An estimated 5,300 educational mailers on the proposed Wichita sales tax were sent to non-Wichita residents, city officials say.

The mixup was the result of a mistake by the vendor, which sent the mailers based on ZIP codes that Wichita shares with some neighboring communities, said City Manager Robert Layton.

The vendor has agreed to pick up the cost for the mailers that were sent to non-Wichita residents, according to an employee at Office Aide, the vendor.

(Read more: The Wichita Eagle & Kansas.com)


Fed: Interest Rates low for ‘Considerable Time’

The Federal Reserve will stop its monthly purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities and longer-term Treasury securities under its quantitative easing program, while forward guidance maintains interest rates will remain at zero to 0.25% range, for a “considerable time,” the Federal Open Market Committee announced Wednesday after its two-day meeting.

The FOMC’s policy statement pointed to continued moderate economic expansion, improved labor markets, rising household spending and a slow housing recovery, with inflation below the Fed’s long-run objective.
…the FOMC “reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate.” The rates will stay at this level based on movement “both realized and expected” toward maximum employment and 2% inflation.

The statement noted, “The Committee anticipates, based on its current assessment, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program this month, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.”

The Fed also left in the wording that developments in either direction could hasten or slow the change in the target rate.

(Read more: The Bond Buyer Online and the Federal Reserve.)


Wamego public forum draws large crowd over code dispute

Property owners came out in force at the Wamego City Commission Public Forum Tuesday. The meeting was scheduled to further discuss the Contractor Licensing Code Ordinance passed earlier this year requiring licensed contractors to do any work on property that requires a permit and that is not the owner’s primary residence, such as a property purchased for resale or a rental. The audience consisted of owners of rental properties and building contractors.

(Read more: 1350 KMAN)


McPherson County OKs tax abatement for Viega

The McPherson County Commission gave preliminary approval to a 10-year 100 percent property tax abatement for a Viega expansion.
Viega, an injection molding and pipe extrusion company, recently announced it would build an 80,000 square-foot expansion to its facility in McPherson.
The building will include a manufacturing hall for metal fittings and office space.
Within five years, the company expects to add as many as 100 new employees at the plant.

(Read more: mcphersonsentinel.com)


Lucas residents clamoring for votes

…there’s a best restroom to choose, and that’s why Lucas and its Bowl Plaza need your votes — and they need them no later than Friday.

Yes, votes. As in voting as many times as possible.

You see, this election doesn’t have many limitations, other than voters will decide where the 2014 Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom is located.

As of last week, Bowl Plaza in Lucas was still standing strong, but in second place behind Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia. And Longwood Gardens has to have 17 restrooms along what it calls the largest indoor “Green Wall” in North America just to keep up with Lucas.

To vote for Lucas’s Bowl Plaza, go to www.bestrestroom.com.

(Read more: The Hays Daily News RSS)


Pratt County Commission: New message system studied

A new emergency notification system is on the horizon for Pratt County that would allow for specific group or mass notifications from one computer command.
Tim Branscom, Pratt County Emergency Manager, presented three company options to the Pratt County Commissioners for consideration at the Monday meeting.
The current county website is unable to send messages to individual groups. In the event of an emergency when time is critical, this type of system would give fast notification as opposed to making individual calls.
Besides county departments, the public would be able to enroll and get notification on specific events such as a gas leak though geo mapping but they have to be enrolled, Branscom said.

(Read more: pratttribune.com)


Plans to add fourth floor to building draw fire in Overland Park

Some Overland Park homeowners are furious about proposal to add a fourth floor to a three-story building under construction at Vince & Associates Clinical Research Inc., near 101st Street and Metcalf Avenue.

The fourth floor would peer over trees and into the backyards and back windows of their adjacent homes, they say.

Worried that the large building would invade their privacy and lower their property values, the residents are appealing to the city council to vote against the height increase at its meeting Monday.

(Read more: Joco 913 News | The Kansas City Star & KansasCity.com)


For decades, Marvin Rainey has shaped Johnson County

From promoting Overland Park’s growth to winning precedent-setting court cases, Marvin Rainey has helped shape Johnson County for more than 50 years.

Rainey, 81, will be honored for the role he has played in Johnson County at a Nov. 12 reception for his retirement as Shawnee city attorney.

Rainey’s legacy includes stints as Johnson County election commissioner, two terms as Overland Park mayor and most recently, Shawnee city attorney for 40 years.

(Read more: Kansas City Star & KansasCity.com)


Franchise fee defended by Chanute commissioners

The ballot initiative that proposes both eliminating and refunding the 5 percent franchise fee on utility bills dominated the discussion at the Chanute City Commission meeting on Monday night. Spearheaded by a petition drive led by Chanute resident Bernie Neyer, the fate of the proposition to rescind the franchise fee will be decided by voters in the city on Nov. 4.

Mayor Greg Woodyard [stated] that 2 percent of the money raised by the franchise fee was supposed to go to a capital improvement fund, 2 percent was going into equipment reserve, and the other 1 percent was to offset some of the general improvement costs. He said that without these funds, the city would lose some of its ability to provide the services that people need.

(Read more: The Chanute Tribune – news,news/)


Lawrence leaders get behind-the-scenes look at curbside recycling program

City leaders got a glimpse Tuesday of what happens to all the material that gets thrown into the city’s new blue, curbside recycling carts.

It involves aluminum cans that pop, plastic bottles that are blasted by shots of air, and many pairs of human hands that get to touch lots of what you throw away.

“This machine creates a forcefield that aluminum really doesn’t like,” Charlie Sedlock, director of waste services for Hamm Inc., said of a giant magnetic machine called the Eddy Current. “It causes aluminum cans to pop like popcorn and bounce off this conveyor belt into a bin below.”

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories)


Seamless communication is goal of public safety radio upgrades

Law enforcement agencies across the metropolitan area have scrambled to meet a 2013 federal mandate to upgrade their public safety radio systems.

Those agencies were required to convert their emergency radio systems to a narrower bandwidth, which allows more channels to operate in the same amount of radio spectrum, by January 2013.

The process often is referred to as “narrowbanding” in the public safety industry.

“Think of it like six seats across an airplane,” said Steve Davidson of the Johnson County Sehriff’s Office. If each individual seat is made just a little more narrow, Davidson said, a seventh seat could be squeezed in.

(Read more: Joco 913 News | The Kansas City Star & KansasCity.com)


Kansas Court of Appeals orders Prairie Village Councilor David Morrison to be reseated immediately

A Kansas Court of Appeals judge on Monday granted ousted Prairie Village City Councilor David Morrison’s request that he be reseated immediately in the wake of the appeals court overturning the ouster decision against him earlier this month.

The stay signed by Judge Joseph Pierron, Jr., means Morrison will retake his Ward 5 seat at the city council meeting next Monday, Nov. 3. Courtney McFadden, the replacement Mayor Ron Shaffer appointed to fill the remainder of Morrison’s term after he was removed from the council, is forced to step down from her role as a city councilor immediately.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)


Complaint filed with state, local officials over Wichita sales tax campaign

With the election less than a week away, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office will “expeditiously” investigate a complaint that the group opposing the 1-cent sales tax has violated state law with its political advertising, a spokesman says.

The complaint from a co-chair of the “yes” campaign states that people “believed to be the Coalition for a Better Wichita and/or its Chairman Trent Sebits have been running print newspaper ads in the Wichita Eagle, financing Robo Calls, and mailing brochures and other campaign materials to Wichita, Kansas residents in violation of the criminal statute K.S.A. 25-2407(a)(3)(4)(5).”

(Read more: Wichita Eagle & Kansas.com)


Holton’s Special Link To The Origins Of Basketball

The original rules of basketball, which sold for $4.3 million dollars in 2010, a record for sports memorabilia at the time, were once stored under a bed, in a box, in Holton, Kansas.

In 1928, Holton grad Francis Pomeroy would marry Dr. Naismith’s son James in 1933, but when the newly constructed school built their gymnasium in 1932 her future father in law was there to dedicate the court personally and brought coach Allen to referee the games that night.

Holton High School might not come to mind when you think of Kansas sports legends but that dedication in 1932 gives them a sense of athletic pride they hope never fades away.

(Read more: WIBW – HomePage – Headlines)


Pratt police officers testing body cameras

Pratt Police officers may soon have a new piece of equipment that records officer’s activity when they leave the patrol car.
The department is currently doing live testing for body cameras that make a video and audio record of the officer’s actions.
Pratt Police Chief Gary Myers decided he would look into the new equipment following a shooting incident in Ferguson, Mo. where a police officer shot and killed an unarmed man during a confrontation.

(Read more: pratttribune.com)


Supreme Court Ruling affects local tax levy in Pratt County

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on a natural gas tax exemption ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court is resulting in a 3.326 mil levy reduction for Pratt County.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the gas certain energy companies had stored in the Northern Natural Gas underground storage facility was taxable. Part of that facility is in the eastern portion of Pratt County.
The affected gas companies filed an appeal to not pay tax on the stored gas. The U.S. Supreme Court denied that appeal and upheld the Kansas Supreme Court decision.
Starting in 2009, seven companies that stored gas in the Northern facility filed exemptions from state assessed taxes. Some of those seven companies have not paid taxes on their gas in that facility from 2009 to 2013, said Pratt County Clerk Sherry Kruse.
The new ruling means those companies will have to pay taxes from years 2009 to 2013 inclusive.

(Read more: pratttribune.com)