Kansas Municipal News


$10,000 for FireEscape (teen hangout) approved by Chanute

City of Chanute

A request by the FireEscape Coffeehouse for $10,000 worth of funding from the City of Chanute was approved by commissioners at their Monday night meeting.
From the total $2,500 will come from available funds from the city’s alcohol tax, while the other $7,500 would come from the general fund. This funding methodology was proposed by Commissioner Jim Chappell and passed by commissioners 2-1. Mayor Greg Woodyard and Commissioner Kevin Berthot were both absent from this meeting, leaving the commission with only three voting members.
Tim Egner cast the dissenting vote after presenting an alternative plan that would have given only $7,500 to the local coffeehouse that provides a safe place for local teens to hang out and participate in social activities. His plan wasn’t seconded and wasn’t put up for a vote.

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

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City, county leaders consider long-term economic plan

It’s a plan that could mean more jobs and more money for Wichita.

But, is it worth the price?

That’s what the Wichita City Council and the Sedgwick County Commission considered at this morning’s joint council-commission meeting: a strategy to boost the economy.

If approved, the plan would cost $234,000. …
To maintain edge, the plan would rely on help from Wichita State, aviation, agriculture and other industries. It would also rely on help from neighboring cities.

(Read more: KAKE – HomePage – Headlines)

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Valley Center Police arrest illegal peddlers

Valley Center Police arrested two men and woman for not having a peddlers license while selling door-to-door last Tuesday.

“We want to make sure that they have licenses. That way the citizens, can feel at ease knowing that we’ve done a criminal background check on them so they’re okay to go around,” said Sgt. Lloyd Newman.

Nearby cities like Wichita and Park City also require door-to-door sales people to register for a peddlers license. In Sedgwick County, there are no resolutions regarding peddlers or door-to-door sales.

(Read more: KAKE – HomePage – Headlines)

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Roeland Park hires new assistant city administrator

Roeland Park administrators on Monday announced they had hired a replacement for departed City Clerk and Director of Finance Debbie Mootz, who left the city in August after 17 years of service.

Jennifer Jones-Lacy will be assuming the vacancy left by Mootz in early October, though she’ll have a different title and a slightly different slate of duties. As assistant city administrator, Jones-Lacy will oversee the city’s financial and economic development operations.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)

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New study sheds light on the importance of exporting in Wichita area

A new study shows that exporting accounts for almost 28 percent of the local economy.
While the rate of real export growth slowed after the recession — 22.3 percent annually from 2003 to 2008 down to 5.1 percent from 2009 to 2012 — Wichita still has plenty of opportunity to boost that number.
That’s because 83 percent of global GDP growth is projected to occur outside of the U.S. between 2013 and 2018.
Now those behind the study want to use its findings to help develop export strategies that can grow the important economic leg of exports in Wichita.

(Read more: Wichita Business Journal)

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Clay County to increase minimum acreage for new construction from 3 to 5 acres

Property owners wanting to build new structures in the rural part of the county now must have at least five acres, in a move to be approved by the County Commission next Monday.
On Monday The Clay County Zoning Board has agreed to recommend the minimum acreage required to build in the rural parts of the county be changed from three acres to five. This mainly affects people wanting to build a new residence in the county.

(Read more: Clay Center Dispatch On-Line)

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Roeland Park resident lobbies city to move away from pit bull ban

Roeland Park residents started making their opinions heard about a potential change to the city’s ban on pit bulls Monday – the same night the city granted a dog trainer an exemption from the law for an upcoming event at R Park.

The Roeland Park council identified revisiting the pit bull ban it’s had on the books since the late 1980s as a priority during a work session earlier this year, but the issue hasn’t yet shown up on a Council of the Whole agenda. Nevertheless, two residents appeared during Monday’s council meetings to speak on the issue.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)

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Roeland Park approves proposals for hiring anti-discrimination mediator, investigator

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The Roeland Park City Council on Monday unanimously approved three request for proposals for services to support an anti-discrimination ordinance set to go into effect.

The city plans to approve professional service agreements with an investigator and a hearing officer and for mediation services. Services would be used on an as-needed basis to mediate and resolve any discrimination claims filed in the city. The deadline for RFP submissions is Oct. 22.

Under the ordinance, both parties are encouraged to work toward a mediated solution when a complaint is filed. They may select their own mediator; however, if they cannot select a mediator the city will appoint one, said City Attorney Neil Shortlidge.

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

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McPherson seeks to address hoarding issue

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The city of McPherson is organizing a coalition to address hoarding within the community.
Edye Leslie, city code enforcement officer, gave a report to the city commission Monday about the hoarding problem in McPherson.
She met last week with peers in Sedgwick County to learn more about the issue.
Hoarding is defined as someone compulsively collecting objects or animals to the point of having harmful effects in his or her life. Hoarding is a severe form of obsessive compulsive disorder, a mental health issue.
Leslie said she has identified several people in the community she thinks need help, and other agencies, including K-State extension and the fire department, have encountered others.

(Read more: mcphersonsentinel.com)

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Winfield Chosen as Next Kansas Sampler Festival Host

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The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced that Winfield will be the host for the 2016-2017 Kansas Sampler Festival. The event is designed to provide the public a sample of what there is to see, do, hear, taste, buy, and learn in Kansas.

El Dorado was the other finalist.

The host selection committee interviewed both potential hosts on September 22 and visited their proposed festival sites. Foundation director Marci Penner said, “We were so impressed with both festival committees and sites. The Winfield team has had more experience with the festival and showed exceptional support from the city and area partners. It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm for hosting this event and we are pleased that El Dorado intends to reapply in the next round.”

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)

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Franklin County talks lost bargain with official’s exit to OU

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The county plans to increase spending to fill two positions that were left vacant by one employee — but it’s the only option, a top county official said.

When Lisa Johnson served the Franklin County Board of Commissioners as administrator and counselor, she might have been saving the county more than $40,000. Johnson now works for Ottawa University as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs and the county has hired two new employees to fill the void left by departure.

(Read more: The Ottawa Herald)

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Residents asked to help envision Hutchinson’s future at Thursday event

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As the Hutchinson Community Foundation marks its 25th year, its leadership is inviting the community to reflect on Hutchinson’s past and to plan for its future.
An evening titled “Envisioning Hutch” will begin 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Fox Theatre, with a presentation about the city’s past by Nation Meyer, First National Bank of Hutchinson senior chairman of the board. It is free and open to the public.

Meyer’s oral and pictorial presentation will include historic photos of “buildings built and demolished since 1872, and how they affected the community,” said Aubrey Patterson, community foundation president and executive director.

“We want to hear from everyone in Hutchinson – of every age – about their ideas for our community, both now and into the next decade,” stated Kari Mailloux, foundation program officer, in a release. “The Idea Exchange before and after the program will give everyone a voice in what the foundation will explore and take action on in 2015 and beyond.”

(Read more: The Hutchinson News)

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Building Codes Discussion by Pottawatomie County

Pottawatomie County Commissioners are considering changes when it comes to inspections and building permits–and Geary and Riley County officials shared thoughts on the way they handle such matters during Monday’s meeting in Westmoreland. David Yearout, Junction City/Geary County Planning and Zoning Director, shared his county’s method, with the same requirements in Junction City, Milford, and Geary County.
Yearout also shared his experiences in other parts of the state where he’s worked. In addition to Geary County, Yearout listed counties currently with a county wide planning and building code system, including Johnson, Miami, Franklin, Douglas, Sedgwick, Butler, Finney, and Seward counties.

(Read more: 1350 KMAN)

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City/County leaders to look at new officer training center options

Wichita & Sedgwick county leaders are joining forces Wednesday to talk about options for a new law enforcement training center, because the current location has many safety issues.
At the current site the boiler is 60 years old and could cost $250,000 to replace. Plus the water in the building is unsafe to drink.

Those are some of the issues recruits are dealing with in the current Law Enforcement Training Center on West 37th street.

“It is not good for them to be in the environment they are in, it is not necessarily safe and it is not conducive for learning,” said Wichita City Council member James Clendenin.

(Read more: Top Stories)

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City Commission set to make it easier for food trucks to open in Lawrence

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are set to consider new regulations that would make it easier for food trucks to operate in the city. After the commission was divided on the issue last month, Mayor Mike Amyx said he’s now seen enough from the industry that he’s comfortable moving forward with the new regulations.

“I had a concern that we don’t see a large number of these food trucks all in one area, but I think we can figure out how to make this work,” Amyx said. “It seems like it is a popular way of doing business.”

Last month, some commissioners had expressed concerns that food trucks may unfairly compete with traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants that typically have higher operating costs.

(Read more: LJWorld.com)

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Kansas Attorney General asks Court to dismiss school-bill lawsuit

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today asked a state court to end a lawsuit challenging the school-funding law enacted in April by the Legislature.

Schmidt filed the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed in August by the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), in Shawnee County District Court in Topeka. The filing is the State’s first formal response to the lawsuit.

“At its core, KNEA disagrees with the Legislature’s policy choice to amend the Kansas statutes regarding teacher dismissal and termination of teacher contracts,” Schmidt wrote in his filing.

(Read more: KSN-TV)

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Prairie Village resident renewing efforts to get new disabled access signs installed in Merriam

Prairie Village resident Finn Bullers is leading a second-effort push to get new disabled-access signage posted throughout the city of Merriam after the city council there was forced to put its planned signage replacement on hold for fear of daily fines.

In July, the council had voted to adopt a new disabled access icon that depicts a more active image of a person in a wheelchair. But earlier this month, the same council that unanimously approved plans to move to the new graphics voted to hold off while the city attorney researched which governing body has jurisdiction over determining compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act rules on access signage.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post – Neighborhood news and events for Prairie Village, Fairway, Mission Hills)

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Shawnee building codes and enforcement improve, study says

The City of Shawnee has improved its building codes program and enforcement, according to recent independent analysis.

A review completed by the Insurance Service Offices (ISO) says the city received a classification rating of 5 for one and two family residential codes and a rating of 4 for commercial and industrial codes. Both of these ratings are a one point improvement for the city compared to the last review three years ago.

Better ratings can lead to lower insurance premiums, specifically in regards to flood insurance, for residents in Shawnee.

(Read more: The Dispatch stories)

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Former city hall to become distillery in Dodge City

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Atop a hill where outlaws once were laid to rest, an aging beauty will soon get a facelift.

Several western Kansas farmers are turning Dodge City’s former city hall into Boot Hill Distillery. If all goes according to plan the business could open as early as the middle of July 2015.

Back in the 1870s the land was Boot Hill Cemetery. Then from 1878 through 1927 the property housed a public school. But, by 1929 a Spanish revival colonial-style building was built on the spot and it became the Dodge City’s Municipal Building. The structure at 501 W. Spruce St., however it has been standing empty and in disrepair for a number of years.

(Read more: Hutchinson News)

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Harvey County winter prep hits snag; Hutchinson Salt Company struggles to keep up with demand

When will winter weather hit this year and will Harvey County be ready, are questions the Road and Bridge department are asking themselves. Preparations include getting road salt…which is easier said than done.
The extreme weather of last year created a high demand for road salt around the country. Hutchinson Salt Company worked 24/7 from about June 2013 to April 2014. Even through the summer they worked six days per week, with pauses for maintenance.
Jim Meier, Road and Bridge Superintendent, said the county’s needs have varied over the last three years, using less with drought and then using a lot of salt last year.
Last week, he had hoped to start hauling 300 tons of road salt for the county, and 150 tons for the city of Newton. However, Meier was told by Hutchinson Salt that there isn’t any currently available and to call back later this month.

(Read more: thekansan.com)

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Lawrence recycling services prepare for city’s competition next month

When city commissioners agreed 4-1 last year to start a new citywide recycling program, then-city commissioner and current Mayor Mike Amyx voted against the proposal, saying he wished to look for ways to lessen the effect the service would have on private recycling companies in the area.

After a year and a half of planning and helping out on the city’s solid waste task force, and with less than a month to go, local recycling services are prepared for the day when the city becomes their competitor.

CLO director of day services Michael Hoffman said the company is ready for the change and will continue curbside recycling services even after the city implements its program.

“The city did a really good job of listening to our input,” Hoffman said. “I’m absolutely pleased about how they have kept invested parties in the loop.”

That open exchange was facilitated in part by a state law requiring the city to wait 18 months before implementation to give private haulers time to adjust their business plans, Lawrence solid waste manager Kathy Richardson said.

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories)

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Former D.A. questions request for $28M police facility in Lawrence when crime-clearing rates are so ‘poor’

If Lawrence wants to examine the condition of its police force, it needs to look at a lot more than leaky roofs, cramped evidence rooms and outdated work spaces, says Lawrence resident Jerry Harper.

Harper, a former Douglas County district attorney and defense lawyer, said he’s not convinced a nearly $28 million police headquarters would produce the results Lawrence residents really want.

Harper points to a respected study of 30 midsized communities that raises questions about which problems most plague Lawrence’s police force. The study found that Lawrence had some of the higher crime rates among the 30 cities — and some of the lower case-clearance rates.

Harper said the evidence about Lawrence’s crime-fighting effectiveness isn’t pretty. He’s been drawing attention to a study called the Benchmark Cities Survey, which is administered by the Overland Park Police Department. Since 2010, Lawrence has voluntarily participated in the survey, which includes 30 cities that range in size from about 75,000 to 280,000.

(Read more: LJWorld.com stories: News)

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Bel Aire considers expansion of city’s business park

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The development of Bel Aire’s Sunflower Commerce Park has progressed to the point where city leaders are now planning for its expansion.
City Administrator Ty Lasher tells me Bel Aire is in the beginning phases of platting another 240 acres in the park to include larger lots — some as large as 40 acres. Lasher anticipates that process lasting throughout the fall. The addition of utilities will be phased in, Lasher says.
He says the city has received interest — though he didn’t offer specifics — from companies interested in larger tracts of land.

(Read more: Wichita Business News – Local Wichita News | The Wichita Business Journal)

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Ottawa considers developing teen park project

A playful city needs a place for teenagers, Ottawa leaders recently said.

Having been designated in May as one of 212 “Playful City USA” communities — a fifth time for the recognition — the city is primed for a recreation space geared toward teens, city leaders said, specifically focusing on a city-owned area on the south side of West 15th Street just south of Kanza Park, 200 W. 15th St., Ottawa.

(Read more: The Ottawa Herald)

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Roeland Park council prepares for anti-discrimination ordinance implementation

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The much debated anti-discrimination ordinance passed by Roeland Park this summer isn’t scheduled to take effect until Jan. 1, but the city is working on preparations to implement it. Those discussions are taking place against a backdrop of a petition initiative to call for a city-wide vote on the repeal of the ordinance.

Earlier this week, the city council, meeting as a committee, agreed to move forward to the final approval stage requests for applications for the three jobs needed to handle a potential claim under the ordinance: mediation services, a hearing officer and an investigator.

The ordinance requires mediation as a first step in any discrimination claim that is filed in Roeland Park. If mediation fails, then the claim will be investigated and potentially presented to a hearing officer for resolution. Each of the three services will be contracted out on a per hour basis and the city would pay only for actual work on a case.

(Read more: Prairie Village Post)

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El Dorado discusses concerns on proposed farmers market

The community market was a topic of discussion again at the El Dorado City Commission meeting this week.
The commission looked at concerns and some of the history behind the market.

“After hearing feedback from the community, the biggest concern I was getting was if someone wanted to be a vendor or be a part of using the facility as the market, what are the main guidelines,” [Commissioner] Chase said. “Do they have to carry a certain amount of insurance?”
Suzie Locke, who has been working on the plan for the city, said without the building there is no need to answer any of those questions.
“We can’t really put the cart before the horse in that sense,” she said.

(Read more: butlercountytimesgazette.com)

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Commissioners bog down Carbondale mud run

A mud run will go on as planned Saturday at Melvern, but Osage County commissioners remained adamant this week that an event permit for a race scheduled for Oct. 11 at Carbondale is revoked, while one commissioner expressed concern about his possible reelection if the permit was reinstated.

During the meeting of the Osage County Commission Monday, Jason Richardson and Jewell Eastman were introduced as operators of Kansas Mud Boggers, an organization that operates mud runs, or mud bogs, around the state, including some at a site west of Carbondale and another near Melvern. Mud runs or mud bogs are an off-road motorsport in which 4-wheel drive vehicles are driven through a mud pit or track, with winners determined by distance traveled or time.

At their Sept. 8 meeting, the commissioners had voted to revoke a permit previously issued to Richardson for the Oct. 11 race near Carbondale. At that meeting, commissioners said they had received complaints about an Aug. 30 event at Carbondale, including reports from the Osage County Sheriff’s Office about a brawl that broke out, and people passed out on the ground.

(Read more: Osage County Online | Osage County News)

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Topeka outlines its proposed plan for growth

Growing Topeka’s population through annexation was a key part of the last Topeka Land Use and Growth Management Plan (LUGMP) the city council adopted in 2003.

But annexation plays a much smaller role in the proposed updated version of that document, city planning director Bill Fiander said Thursday at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

He said the latter plan being crafted by the planning department instead sets a priority of devoting resources to development within city limits and doing more to make Topeka a place where people want to live.

(Read more: News)

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Kingman County settles dispute with Flat Ridge

Kingman County reached a new agreement with Flat Ridge 2 Wind Energy LLC to ensure the county continues to receive an annual payment in lieu of taxes from the commercial wind farm.

The settlement allows the wind farm to reduce its annual payment by the total amount of any tax increases levied on property with wind turbine sites. Flat Ridge 2 made the 2013 payment of $310,083.20 earlier this month. The funds have been placed in the county’s capital improvement fund for a new law enforcement center.

According to the release, Flat Ridge 2 disputed making the next payment, for the 2013 year, and the county entered into legal negotiations to resolve the matter.

An issue raised in the dispute was a property reclassification of wind turbine sites that increased the assessed ad valorem tax on those properties. The wind farm argued it was being taxed, even though the county assessed the higher taxes only to landowners.

Both parties agreed to the settlement to avoid “lengthy and costly litigation” over the annual payment, according to the document, which was signed by Kingman County commissioners on Aug. 11.

(Read more: The Hutchinson News)

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