The Beloit City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, August 15. Mayor Tom Naasz opened the fiscal year 2018 budget hearing during the meeting. With no comments being made the hearing was closed. The council then approved the fiscal year 2018 budget with a total spending authority for the city of nearly $14.3 million while setting the mill levy at 58 mills. That equates to a total ad valorem tax of $1,564,035 and leaves the levy neutral. Councilor Andrew Grabon praised the efforts of all involved in putting the budget together.
City Manager Jason Rabe said the East Main Project continues as stripe painting has been completed. Grass seeding will begin soon, and the project is on schedule as far as Rabe was concerned. He then discussed some grading and sidewalk issues along the East Main Street project. He said there are several areas which are steep and should be reduced.
“While most of the grades are allowable, they may not necessarily be livable or desirable,” Rabe said.
He also said he met with Ken Benedick of Great Plains Landscape to discuss options for retaining walls and slopes to allow the project to look well finished while allowing the city to remain in ADA compliance and make yards maintainable for homeowners.
The estimated cost for the work is $16,900 and would encompass five properties in the 1000 and 1100 block of East Main Street. Rabe said all the property owners were agreeable with the plan. Councilor Grabon moved to approve the proposal with a completion deadline of November 1. The council approved the plan by a vote of 6-0. Councilor Tony Gengler abstained from the vote as he owns one of the properties in question. Rabe said there was about $90,000 currently remaining to complete the East Main project. He said he expects the total project to finish about $75,000 under budget.
Councilman Kent Miller said he echoed the sentiments of many citizens for the work being done to the water main on North Bell Street at the beginning the meeting. Mayor Tom Naasz asked everyone to be mindful that school would be back in session this week.
Councilor Lee McMillan said he felt the First Impressions results meeting, held last week, was very informative and productive as he applauded the city for participating. Councilman Grabon reiterated the comments made by Councilor McMillan and added that drivers should watch for kids and buses with school starting.
The council approved the consent agenda including the minutes of the last meeting and Appropriations 8B with payments for the period totaling $714,231.
City Attorney Katie Schroeder reminded the group that Councilor Grabon is on the area Juvenile Justice Board and is available with information pertaining to that body. She also discussed the agreement between USD 273 and law enforcement covering protocols under which illegal activity taking place at school should be reported to authorities and when it should not. She urged the school district to exhaust their available options, if possible, before involving law enforcement.
Mr. Rabe said a North Campus audit review is being performed to help give a guide on how to move forward with updating or replacing air conditioning units. He is working-up a cost analysis to estimate future expenses. He said the outdated cooling unit at the Early Learning Center is in the most need of attention. It has been rigged several times to remain in working order. He said he is concerned about its condition and expects it to need replaced before next summer. He plans to present a full report within the next few weeks. Rabe also supplied copies of the First Impressions report to council members who were unable to attend the meeting.
Mr. Rabe then updated the council on the options for the upcoming water plant improvement or replacement. He met with several key personnel on the options and cost estimates Tuesday. They worked through several options which will allow them to “plug and play” several variables. Cost analyses and mock bills, utilizing several options, will be presented at the September 5 meeting. Rabe also praised the city crews for completing work on North Walnut St. in one day instead of the planned two-day project.
City Attorney Schroeder discussed a proposed ordinance to prohibit the possession of small quantities of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The city did not previously have such an ordinance in place. Therefore, any citations for such offenses required an arrest and were prosecuted in district court where fines and fees go to the county and state. Schroeder also said that she is of the opinon that too many of these cases which are sent to the county attorney are not successfully prosecuted.
Ultimately, the goal is to allow the city to receive those court fees and fines rather than giving them to the county. In addition, the ordinance allows an officer who comes into contact with a misdemeanor marijuana or paraphernalia offender to have the discretion to write a citation rather than make an arrest. Chief of Police Dave Elam elaborated on that point before the council approved the ordinance.
Approval was then given for the sale of Lots 3 and 4 in Block 7 of the North Campus Addition in the amount of $16,000 to Le Sage Designs, LLC. The agreement also acknowledges unpaid special assessments will be waived if construction requirements are met. Those stipulate that construction on Lot 7 begin no later than October 1. The measure carried by a vote of 6-1 with councilman Tony Gengler voting no. He cited concerns of potential repercussions against the purchasers based on the language of the contract.
Voting delegates for the League of Kansas Municipalities were appointed as Lee McMillan and Matt Otte. Jason Rabe and City Clerk Mandy Lomax were appointed as alternates.
The council then moved to accept grant funding in the amount of $53,975 from the Kansas Airport Improvement Program while approving Mr. Rabe to sign the required documents. The funds will be used to install new Avgas and Jet A fueling units at Moritz Memorial Airport. The city will be responsible for 15 percent of the project cost which is expected to be about $9,525.
In the work session, the council discussed adopting a city slogan for marketing and signage. Mr. Rabe said this may be an opportunity for community involvement with a possible contest to come up with slogans and designs for signage. Councilor Grabon suggested the city supply a $100 Chamber Bucks prize for such a contest. The council wants to have the slogan in place before the new city website goes live. The website launch is expected to be as early as February 1.
The next meeting of the Beloit City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building.