Kansas Municipal News


Long list of questions about anti-discrimination ordinance faces Roeland Park Council; anonymous flyer appears on doorsteps

Three months after the idea was introduced and after one community forum and dozens of speakers at city council meetings, more questions confront the Roeland Park City Council over its proposed anti-discrimination ordinance.

Additionally, an anonymous flyer opposing the ordinance has appeared on some Roeland Park doorsteps. The single sheet raises several points that opponents have made at past council meetings, but does not identify the individuals who composed it.

(Read more: Prairie Village Posthttp://pvpost.com/2014/06/10/long-list-of-questions-about-anti-discrimination-ordinance-faces-roeland-park-council-anonymous-flyer-appears-on-doorsteps-28462)

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Rain reduces water use, waters grass, trees

While recent rains haven’t fully abated the drought, they have helped reduce water demand, Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty said….
“It hasn’t been outrageous,” he said of water use in Hays. “We’ve had some help with this.”
But, it’s also the time of year when demand can hit anywhere from 2.6 million to 2.8 million gallons of water each day.
…With the rains, water use has fallen to nearly 1.5 million gallons, he said.

(Read more: The Hays Daily News)

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$15.4 million bond issue for schools passes in Cheney

Cheney residents approved a $15.4 million bond issue to fund maintenance and improvements for its public schools, including safety and security additions, technology upgrades in classrooms and a new multiple-use baseball complex.

Seventy-three percent of voters who turned out at the polls Tuesday said “yes” to the measure, which will also pay to build tornado shelters and secure entrances for the district’s elementary, middle and high schools and other facility improvements, including the replacement of air-conditioning units.

According to the Sedgwick County Election Office’s website, 752 people – about 35 percent of eligible voters – cast ballots Tuesday. The unofficial vote was 550-198.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Top Stories)

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Resident presents franchise fee petition to Chanute commission

Chanute resident Bernie Neyer presented his petition to the city commission Monday to end the five percent franchise fee on city utilities, which was imposed starting Dec. 1, 2013.
Neyer began circulating the petition in February to end the current franchise fee and prevent the city from imposing future franchise or user fees without a popular vote.
The ordinance proposed in the petition would also require the city to refund any franchise fees collected since Oct. 1, 2013.
Neyer started by mentioning the first amendment right to petition government for redress of grievances. In order to submit the petition, Neyer was required to get a number of signatures equal to 40 percent of those who voted in the last election.

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

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Wichita City Council repeals gun ordinances to comply with new state law

Most firearms confiscated by Wichita police soon will be sold at public auction rather than being destroyed.

Also later this month, a person traveling in a vehicle with a gun no longer will be required to keep it unloaded and in a case.

And the city won’t be able to require armed private security guards to take advanced firearms training.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: News Updates)

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Wichita Council OKs $450,000 for water-saving rebate plan

Rebates for water-saving items will continue for city of Wichita’s water customers.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved authorizing $450,000 for the rebate program, following up on last year’s initial effort that city officials say resulted in saving 250,000 gallons of water daily.

An expanded program approved by the council is expected to push that to 280,000 gallons, said Alan King, director works and utilities.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Top Stories)

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New type of Walmart to locate store in Columbus

A new type of Walmart store would appear to be coming to Columbus soon.
Land near the intersection of Highway 160 and High School Avenue has apparently been purchased by the company for the construction of a Walmart Express store.
Media reports indicate Walmart Express stores are planned for the Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri area. Plans given to the Columbus City Council indicate the store will be a 10,000 square foot building with a gas station, pharmacy, and grocery store.

(Read more: Cherokee Co. News-Advocate – news,news/)

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3 Kansas counties limit holds on ICE detainees

Three Kansas counties say they’ll stop automatically honoring requests from federal immigration officials to detain people without a warrant or probable cause.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas says sheriff’s departments in Shawnee, Johnson and Finney counties say they’ll require probable cause or a warrant to hold ICE detainees beyond their release date.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the move comes after recent court decisions in Oregon and Pennsylvania found that such ICE detainer requests are not commands that local jurisdictions have to honor. The courts found sheriffs could be liable for constitutional violations for holding people past the time when they would otherwise be released.
The ACLU says it recently sent letters to county sheriffs across Kansas explaining the constitutional risks associated with honoring the warrantless detention requests.

(Read more: KWCH Top Stories)

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Trans-Kansas bike rally inflates Spearville’s numbers

Over a period of hours the “City of Windmills” became the “City of Sprockets” as the population of Spearville doubled with the arrival of Biking Across Kansas riders and supporters, Sunday.
The convoy of 800 or more cyclists snaked northeast through Dodge City, a constant stream of brightly colored reflective clothing on all types of bikes, riders of all ages, all going at their own pace. Some stopped for lunch or to take in the ongoing street fair downtown before continuing east toward Spearville.
Outside Wright the rally set up a roadside support and gear hub, staffed by the “SAG hags” that dress up the tailgate rest stop with costumes and encouragement.
“When you’ve been on the road for a while it’s a sight for sore eyes,” Marqueeta Seagraves said while taking a walk to loosen muscles outside the Windmill Restaurant.

(Read more: dodgeglobe.com)

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Topekans share thoughts on what they want in a new police chief

Topeka residents Monday night shared their thoughts on qualities the city’s new police chief should possess.

City employees, neighborhood improvement association presidents and a former Topeka Police Department captain, as well as businessmen and city council members, attended a 6 p.m. public meeting at the Holliday Building, 620 S.E. Madison.

Many of the 11 people who spoke want the new chief to be hired from within the department. Others said it was crucial the new chief be familiar with the city.

(Read more: News)

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Lawrence homeowners may get free sewer repairs as part of new $20 million program

It won’t quite be like winning the lottery, but residents in eastern Lawrence soon may win some cash assistance to help fix their homes’ sewer systems.

City-hired contractors have begun combing through a large portion of eastern Lawrence as part of an eight-year project designed to prevent rainwater from improperly entering the city’s sewer system. The project is expected to total $20 million, and a good part of the money is scheduled to go toward making improvements at individual properties.

“Everything from the evaluation to the repairs will be done at no cost to the property owner,” said Nick Hoyt, an engineer with the city who is overseeing the project.

City officials, however, are looking for specific types of repairs to make.

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories: News)

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Predictive policing in Newton

It’s called predictive policing and it is changing how police departments do their jobs.
“The traditional model is to answer a radio call after a crime is committed,” Hall said. “Officers then aggressively identify and apprehend the suspect. When they are not doing that, they are doing random patrols. Random patrols yield random results.”
Hall envisions the day when a patrol officer will look at a computer screen and know that at 7 p.m. on a Friday they should get a cup of coffee at a specific convenience store — because the probability is that store is going to be held up that night. The presence of the officer could very well stop the crime from happening.

(Read more: thekansan.com)

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City manager to take part in Bike Across Kansas

Each year, bicyclists take out on a journey across the state in the Bike Across Kansas event. This year, El Dorado City Manager Herb Llewellyn will be joining them on this trek.
Llewellyn said he has known a lot of people who have participated, including his father-in-law, and they have all told him how great it is.
Llewellyn first thought about doing the ride, which is limited to 800 people, a few years ago.
“I have tried for years to do this and I could never get in,” he said.
Last year Llewellyn tried to sign up a week after registrations started but it was already sold old, so this year he got in right away.

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)

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Central Street in Maize to be renamed Academy Avenue

Ask someone to meet you at Central and Maize, and they likely will head to the west Wichita intersection – where Central Avenue meets Maize Road – not the one about six miles north in the suburb of Maize.

“There’s just a lot of confusion,” said Becky Bouska, deputy city administrator in Maize. “We had lots of missed 911 dispatches, so we felt that, safety-wise, it was a concern.”

Beginning July 1, Central Street in Maize will become Academy Avenue to eliminate the confusion.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Top Stories)

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Derby launches program to train future civic, business leaders

The Derby Chamber of Commerce is looking to turn local residents into community and business leaders with a series of classes it will offer in the fall.
“Derby has never had a leadership program,” said Mark Staats, president and CEO of the Derby Chamber of Commerce. “It benefits all communities to have some type of program that teaches leadership skills and encourages civic involvement.”
“Lead Derby” will be facilitated by Racquel Thiesen from the Kansas Leadership Center. For over 20 years, Thiesen has taken her unusual approach to creating leadership programs to local towns.
Her curriculum seeks to develop leadership skills in participants, with the focus of leadership being an activity and not a role or position. The idea is that anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere. Staats, who is a business owner himself, says the difference is in how the classes are facilitated.

(Read more: Derby Informer)

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Leon proposes sales tax increase to fix streets

Turn off of Main Street in Leon and you are in for a bumpy ride. That’s because, while Main Street and High Street are both maintained by Butler County, and are in pretty good shape, every other street in town is in desperate need of repair, riddled with small craters and large cracks.
It’s a situation the Leon City Council hopes to rectify by proposing a one percent sales tax on primary election day, Aug. 5.
“We asked ourselves, ‘how do other towns get good streets?’ and it came down to they pass a sales tax,” said Shelly Martin, Leon City Council member. “A perfect example is Potwin. They passed a one cent sales tax and they now have good, maintainable streets.”

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)

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New police headquarters building projected to pressure Lawrence’s debt guidelines

If city officials move forward with a new multimillion-dollar police headquarters, it’s likely to trigger some red flags about the city’s debt level.

A recent City Hall report projects that a $28 million bond issue for a new police headquarters building would cause the city to exceed two of its debt guidelines and would push several more to the edge.

City officials are quick to note that the guidelines are voluntary and don’t create a legal limit on the city’s ability to issue debt. But the guidelines were created in 2002 to serve as an “early warning mechanism” about when the city’s debt levels rise to the point that its credit rating could be downgraded.

(Read more: LJWorld.com)

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Sumner County extends Neighborhood Revitalization Program

Sumner County is renewing its Neighborhood Revitalization Program offering tax breaks for five years which includes a portion of Mulvane.
The program offers 95 percent tax rebates to residential and commercial properties for work done to remodel, improve or build. The rebate only affects the changes made on the property.
Some changes are being made to the program, one of which will extend the tax rebate for Wellington’s historical district to 10 years. The area encompasses four blocks north to south and two blocks east to west.
Gus Collins, Wellington City Manager, approached the Sumner County Commission requesting the rebate be extended to 10 years to create a competitive advantage for the city’s downtown redevelopment, said Janis Hellard, Sumner County Economic Development Commission director.

(Read more: DerbyInformer.com – news,news/)

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Hays, businesses discuss portable shipping containers

The Hays City Commission collaborated with members of the Hays business community Thursday during a work session to outline a potential ordinance allowing permanent use of portable shipping containers.

The two groups scrutinized proposed rules created by city staff. Allowing electricity to serve the containers, modifying them to include doors, ensuring they are not between the business and the street and setting them back from public view and other properties were the key ideas discussed. Other rules included giving owners 60 days to paint the units and prohibiting their use in residential areas.

The rules will be presented to the Hays Area Planning Commission for review.

Chris Miller, owner of Auto Tech, thanked the commissioners for working with the business community to resolve the issue.

Scott Simpson, owner of Best Radiator, addressed Mayor Henry Schwaller IV and said, “When you took the gavel, you said you were going to bring in business and not give away all our taxes. Thank you.”

(Read more: The Hays Daily News)

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159th Street project may ignite Olathe industrial boom

Work will begin next year on a $19.3 million 159th Street improvement project in Olathe that is expected to set off an industrial development boom.
Financing for the project came together during the Olathe City Council’s meeting on Tuesday. The council authorized the acceptance of a $4.6 million federal Surface Transportation Program grant. Along with $8.3 million in city general obligation bonds, a $4.8 million County Assisted Road System grant and other funds, the federal grant will allow the 159th Street improvements to proceed next year.

(Read more: Kansas City Business Journal)

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Kingman Theater to reopen in digital era

Driving along the red-brick-laid Main Street, the local theater marquee proudly displays “GRAND OPENING X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.”

Since going dark nine months ago, the Kingman Theater will be screening movies again. Friday’s 7:30 screening marked not only a move into the digital age, but numerous hours of work and support from this small farming community to rehabilitate their theater.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Michael Miller, president of the Kingman Community Theater Association.

Built in 1919, the Kingman Theater has been a fixture of small-town life. Originally built for vaudeville/silent movies, the theater has seen its share of upgrades over its history, while holding true to the Art Deco style of the time. The Kingman Theater is one of only a few single-screen cinemas of its era left in Kansas; others include the Regent in Wellington and the Palace in Kinsley.

(Read more: The Hutchinson News)

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Wichita officials seek to revive water-saving rebate program

Although Wichita may not be in as dire straits for water as it was a year ago, city officials want to bring back a rebate plan aimed at helping its customers save water.

Only this time, anyone who pays a water bill – including renters and businesses – would be eligible, city officials said.

On Tuesday, the City Council will vote on whether to authorize $450,000 for the rebate program.

(Read more: Wichita Eagle: Local)

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Deadline approaching for Shawnee to decide on ballot question to fund street maintenance

When it comes to placing a question on the November ballot time is of the essence.

The Shawnee City Council needs to decided no later than July 28 if it hopes to address its lack of funding for street maintenance in the 2015 budget by using funds generated from a new sales tax.

During the June 3 council committee meeting, City Manager Carol Gonzales asked council members for direction on whether to proceed with placing a question on the November ballot asking for voter support for a special sales tax to fund street maintenance.

(Read more: The Dispatch stories)

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Overbrook overwhelms Osage County recycling, seeks alternatives

The city of Overbrook in Osage County is too good at recycling.

The city recycles so much each month, it has overwhelmed its current service from Osage County. The county makes three recycling trips in Overbrook each week, and every time, the communal trailers are completely full, said road and bridge supervisor Glen Tyson.

“The large number of users and materials collected is more than the county can keep up with,” according to a city council survey emailed in May to residents.

(Read more: News)

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Discussions progress on water sales

The El Dorado city staff is continuing its work on a plan to sell water to Wichita and expect to know an answer from Wichita soon.
“We are working with Wichita staff to see if there is some common ground where we can help them address their water needs,” said City Manager Herb Llewellyn. “I think that we will all know in the next few months and maybe sooner.”
The proposal is to sell 30 million gallons a day to Wichita.
“The reason Wichita believes they need another water source is they don’t have all the water they need in a drought,” Llewellyn said.
One thing Wichita is considering is a sales tax, which primarily would provide funding to secure a new water source for the city.

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)

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Water issues remain at forefront: A glance at 1950s water shortage

Water has been a recurring theme in Butler County for many years. Either there is too much rain and flooding results, or there is no rain, there has been no rain, and no idea when rain will occur.
During the 1950s, the Great Plains and the southwestern U.S. withstood a five-year drought, and in three of these years, drought conditions stretched coast to coast. The drought was first felt in the southwestern U.S. in 1950 and spread to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska by 1953. By 1954, Kansas was one of the hardest hit.
In late summer of 1953, it became apparent El Dorado’s existing supply of water in Lake El Dorado would not get the city through the fall unless some unexpected and heavy rains came. City commissioners and business leaders were meeting frequently and discussing the water situation and hoping for some showers to stave off a crisis.

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)

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Eudora announces new city manager

The city of Eudora has tapped the assistant county administrator for Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., as its new city manager, the Eudora City Commission announced Friday.

Gary Ortiz, who also served as the city manager of Leavenworth from 1998 to 2007, will begin Monday as Eudora’s city manager.

Ortiz said in a statement that a new transportation hub near Gardner and Edgerton would spur development along the K-10 corridor, including in Eudora.

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories: News)

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New jobs in Arkansas City leads to housing shortage

Arkansas City is trying to figure out how to house 300 new employees expected to be hired at a local company.

Creekstone Farms just north of Arkansas City already employs 800 workers. Adding 300 more will be a big boom to the area economy, but Ark City, Winfield and Cowley County are finding themselves in a predicament.

“Very limited,” said Arkansas City City Manager Nick Hernandez. “Our apartment complexes are full, single family are full.”

He’s calling it a housing crisis.

(Read more: KAKE – HomePage – Headlines)

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K-State Local Government Report Tracks County Budget Trends

Per capita revenues (adjusted for inflation) in Cherokee County decreased 9 percent between 2004 and 2012 to $520. The County’s per capita expenditures increased 7 percent to $607.
Meanwhile, real per capita revenues in the average Kansas county increased 30 percent to $1,533 and expenditures rose 29 percent to $1,497.
This data comes from researchers at Kansas State University who have just released the newest “Kansas County Fiscal Conditions & Trends” report to county commissions statewide.
The 15th in a series, the report’s customized analyses detail each county government’s budgetary trends from 2004 to 2012.

Free access to the Cherokee County Fiscal Conditions & Trends report is available online at the Office of Local Government’s website: http://www.ksu-olg.info.

(Read more: Cherokee Co. News-Advocate – news,news/)

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