The Beloit City Council met on Tuesday evening, July 18. Councilman Raymond Pontow was absent. Approval was given by the council on a bid of $917,500 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas for their employee health insurance for next fiscal year. The city has previously paid 100 percent of premiums. They will now pay 82.5 percent and employees will cover the remaining 17.5 percent for Comprehensive Major Medical. The city will pay 95 percent of High Deductible plans and employees will pay 5 percent. Mr. Rabe said the number of Comprehensive Major Medical and High Deductible plans among city employees was essentially even.
In opening the meeting, multiple members of the council expressed their pleasure with the progress of the East Main project, and the work being done at the ball field parking lot. Councilor Matt Otte reminded the group of the upcoming Mitchell County Fair next week.
City Administrator Jason Rabe updated the council on the progress of water treatment changes. There are four potential options for and upgraded or new treatment plant. They are looking at a possible substantial upgrade to the existing facility with new technology and water from the Solomon River where they could process up to two million gallons per day. Option two is the same as options one but using Waconda Lake as the water source. Option three is a new water plant with capacity to process 2.5-3 million gallons per day using the river as the source. Option four is the same as option three but with the lake as the water source. No costs estimations for the differing options were presented at the meeting.
Currently, in the highest usage months, the city produces roughly 750,000 gallons of water per day. They want to set-up the new or upgraded plant to be able to accommodate future city growth and include Mitchell County Rural Water District #3.
Rabe presented an estimated timeline as to how he expects the process to continue to evolve over the next several months. In August, they expect the final water pilot study results from Waconda Lake. They should also have a KDHE primer document for preliminary engineering. From September through December the plan is to have a KDHE and COB report review regarding funding, potential regionalization and other information from the USDA and KDHE.
Rabe said Kyle Railroad is working with KDOT on final approvals to get the railroad crossing at the south end of town near the river bridge tracks repaired. Kyle RR is looking at repairing eight crossings in the area including Beloit.
Work continues on the East Main Street Project. The previous primary completion date was set for July 21, but the contractor asked for several more weeks. The city agreed to extend the primary completion date to August 1. At that point, the road is expected to be open to through traffic while they complete secondary work. After August 1, the contractor may be subject to penalties for being overschedule.
There are plans for a results meeting from the First Impression Program at the Municipal Building on August 10 at 7 p.m. Findings of the “mystery shoppers” from Clay Center will be revealed at that time.
Community Development Block Grants for Housing Rehabilitation and Demolitions are short on demo project applications and the city is looking for more to come in as soon as possible. The deadline for the city to submit their request is just a few short weeks away. Applications and more information are available at the city office.
Chief of Police Dave Elam submitted a quarterly activity report for the Beloit Police Department. He reported a total of 147 cited violations during the quarter. There were two criminal damage to property events, three disorderly conducts, three domestic battery, one DUI, eight driving while suspended, 125 traffic tickets, and five animal/code violations.
He said the department averages about 40 traffic stops per month or about 6-8 per officer. They received 1,645 calls for service and conducted a total of 824 stops which also includes motorist assist, vehicle lock-outs, and others.
The council then approved Charter Ordinance 16. This repealed Charter Ordinances 3, 6, 8 and 11. The purpose was to remove and/or replace/amend some outdated issues in the city code concerning the tax lid which takes effect in January.
Ordinance 2210 was then approved. This was the annual update in the Standard Traffic Ordinances. The only change is seat belt fines are now $30 instead of $10. This reflects a new statewide law which took effect on July 1.
Ordinance 2211, which is the Uniform Public Offense Code also received approval for its annual renewal. This includes the following changes. The first added to the definition of domestic battery to now include instances of battery between people in a dating relationship and not just a marital relationship. How a “dating relationship” is defined or how the determination is made as to whether a dating relationship exists was not presented at the meeting. The second change was to include the Illegal operation of an amusement devise, which also was not defined in the meeting.
It was also noted that in the past, in instances of cruelty to animals, that owner could get animals back if they followed certain steps and procedures. This will no longer be an option, and animals removed from an owner due to cruelty will not be eligible for return to their owners.
The Pet Connection in Beloit was the subject of discussion surrounding an animal waiver to allow them have animal breeds on-site which the city otherwise does not allow such as Pit varieties and Rottweilers. Due to the nature of their business, they were asking for an exemption from the banned breed policy. They wanted to know if they needed to address this case by case or if they could receive a sweeping waiver. Animals at the Pet Connection are typically here for 6-8 months for training.
The Pet Connection specializes in the rehabilitation of shelter animals or service animals who have experienced some form of trauma. For example, they re-trained a service dog who was involved in a car accident and later become aggressive toward people when the animal was in a vehicle. City Attorney Katie Schroeder advised to grant the waiver specifically to the Pet Connection and said that work needs to be done to the existing animal code. The council approved the waiver.
The council then approved the appointment of Tony Salicido to the Beloit Planning Commission.
The council then considered an annual donation of 1/4 mill for Solomon Valley Transportation. The city currently donates $3,000 per year. Beloit residents account for nearly 60 percent of SVT rides. The City of Mankato gives $4000 and Mitchell County donates $16,800 per year. Councilman Andrew Grabon suggested increasing the contribution to 3/8 of a mill which equates to about $10,000. Grabon made a motion reflecting that. He, Lloyd Littrell and Matt Otte voted yes. Kent Miller, Tony Gengler and Lee McMillan voted no. Mayor Tom Naasz cast a yes vote to break the tie and approve the measure.
A bid from Kriz-Davis for flame resistant clothing for city employees was approved up to $13,500. The actual cost is expected to be closer to $9,000.
In the work session, Mr. Rabe gave general framework and a timetable for the fiscal year 2018 budget and presented a draft. The draft called for a 58.41 mill budget for 2018. The budget hearing will be held at the next meeting of the Beloit City Council at 7 p.m. on August 1.