Downs City Council – October 2, 2017


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Regular meeting of the mayor and council was held October 2, 2017, 5:00 p.m. at city hall.  Mayor Jennifer Brush presided.  Council members present:  Devin Renken, John Bisnette, Teri Cordill, John Cary, Tonya Kuhn.  Others present:  Keri Thornton, Stacey Hardy, Marianna Harris, Linda Murphy, Bruce Berkley, Terry Gradig, Vickie Oviatt, Jerry Knouf, Jane VanDonge, Evan Joy, LaRhea Cole, Ron Duran, Allen Otte.

Mayor Brush called the meeting to order and led in the flag salute.

Teri moved, seconded by John B., to approve the minutes of the September 18, 2017 meeting.  Carried.

Marianna Harris, CEO, Osborne County Memorial Hospital, reviewed the current situation at the hospital which was constructed nearly 60 years ago and does not meet current regulations.  The proposed project is to construct a new Critical Access Hospital and adjoining Rural Health Clinic to replace existing facilities.  Marianna is meeting with various organizations and conducting community public meetings to share the project details.  She is encouraging a “yes” vote on November 7th:  for the general obligation bonds for the new construction; and also for changing the existing 1% sales tax to a permanent 1% sales tax.  The Downs Town Hall meeting will be held at the Memorial Hall, October 11th, 6:00 p.m.

Jerry Knouf, Osborne County Sheriff’s Department, presented the law enforcement report for the month of September, 2017.  Jerry said that the nuisance vehicle investigation is still a work in progress with 24 yet to serve.  He will be reviewing the list with Bruce.

Terry Gradig reported on Code Enforcement activity.  He had hung a couple door hangers, and checked for occupancy at a house on Delay.

Ron Duran had no written animal control report.  He had taken a report of a pit bull.  The owner is to have it removed from city limits within 10 days.  John B. shared information from a concerned citizen on west Ross Street regarding dogs at large.

Terry Gradig, City Superintendent, reported that KDHE is requesting approval to transfer the GAC building and contents to the city.  Following discussion, Tonya moved to accept the transfer of the GAC equipment and real estate from KDHE.  Devin seconded the motion.  Carried.

Terry reported that a fire hydrant has been replaced at Ross and Third St.  The dehumidifiers are working at the medical clinic.

Terry presented an updated report of expenses on the Ballfield Rehabilitation grant.  Labor was not included or recorded for this project.  Council suggested that, in the future, labor be tracked as well.

Terry prepared a cost estimate for additional sidewalks at road side park with a total of $4,907.75 total material cost.  Council approved for Mayor Brush to apply for a grant to fund the project.

Seasonal help will be finishing up in the next couple weeks.  Keezer Construction will be starting the deck at the pool.  Tonya reported that the sorority has voted to pay for the entire amount of the new steps and handrail for the pool.

Terry noted that the hand-held meter reader will be needing an update sometime in the future.  It is not on a maintenance program therefore it has not been updated and is not compatible with Cynthia’s new computer.  Meter readings are currently being uploaded on the old computer and networked to the new.

Public comment time was held regarding the extension of east Railroad Avenue.  Jim Cary questioned why it was needed.  He is not in favor because of dust issues.  It was noted that an alternate route was offered at the time of the Clark Street closing.  Mike Foster also voiced his dissatisfaction with the grain dust that already occurs, and doesn’t want any additional dust from a dirt road.  John C. shared comment from Don Heiland who is also not in favor of the extension due to cost and dust control.  Allen Otte arrived at the meeting and spoke in favor of the extension.  He said that it would help Co-op out considerably as a route out of town for fuel, with spraying, and with anhydrous tanks. Mayor Brush thanked those for coming to comment.

Jim Cary spoke briefly concerning the patching needed at the intersection of Delay and First St.

Mike Foster asked if the council would look into the dust problem at Scoular Grain.  Council agreed to look into the matter.

City Clerk reported that two thank you notes were received.  One from Mandy Burda for the Community Cleanup projects and one from Solomon Valley Transportation for the contribution.

Tonya moved, seconded by Devin, to waive the memorial hall fees for the Downs Chamber of Commerce Moonlight Halloween Costume Parade, on Monday, October 30th.  Carried.

Devin moved, seconded by Teri, to approve builder’s license #17-48.  Carried.

John B. moved, seconded by Teri, to approve building permits #17-18 and #17-19.  Carried.

Mayor asked if council wished to contribute to the construction of a new sidewalk at the Hair Shop which was damaged during the city’s community cleanup project.  Following discussion, John B. moved to reimburse Mandy Burda for 25% of the sidewalk repair.  Devin seconded.  Carried.  Bruce noted that the brick sidewalk was damaged also at the Penny’s Pub building.  Terry will check on that sidewalk.  Bruce is checking on sidewalk policies in other towns.

Bruce reported on unsafe structures.  A letter has been sent to Evans on Hadley Street.

Teri reported that the Fink Thomas Committee has reviewed an application from Downs Park & Recreation requesting $6,000.00 for red shale at the ballfield.  The committee is in favor and recommends council approval.  Teri moved, seconded by John C., to approve the Park & Rec application for funds of $6,000.00 from the Fink-Thomas fund.  Carried.

Mayor Brush noted that in past years council had approved a holiday for city employees the day after Thanksgiving.  Tonya moved, seconded by Devin, to allow the city employees to have the Friday after Thanksgiving as an additional holiday for 2017.  Carried.

Vouchers and payrolls were reviewed and signed.  Devin moved, seconded by Teri, to approve the vouchers and payrolls as presented.  Carried.

At 7:06 p.m., John B. moved to adjourn the meeting.  Teri seconded.  Carried.  Meeting adjourned.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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