The Beloit City Council met on Tuesday evening, December 19. Councilman Lee McMillan was absent. The council spent considerable time discussing lowering the speed limit on N. Walnut, Gaylord, and Hersey Streets and redefining the school zone boundaries.
While plans for future street work to be done in that area being drawn-up, emphasis has been given to establishing school speeds on the roadway adjacent to the Jr./Sr. High School. Gaylord Street, which runs east and west from the entry way to the North Campus to where it bisects with Walnut, needs to have a speed limit of 20 miles per hour due the physical nature of the curves of the road.
The bulk of the discussion revolved around how far north from the school and how far south of Trojan Field should a School Speed Zone should be enforced. The proposal submitted by City Manager Jason Rabe has the school zone beginning at the intersection of 15th Street and Hersey. It would run north, though the curves, to a point 150 feet north of BHS. The reduced speed zone, of 20mph, was recommended to start at a line from the east end of Trojan Field and extent to a line west of the parking lot at BHS.
Rabe also provided the council with a design update for N. Walnut Street. City Engineer Stuart Porter is working to create a design which will provide for improved safety and traffic flow on this future city project.
City Attorney Katie Schroeder announced she was nearing the completion of a legal agreement between interested parties for the renovation and upkeep of the Little Red Schoolhouse.
City Manager Jason Rabe updated the council on recently held discussions with the EPA. He believes he and city crews have a solid understanding of the work to be done at the wastewater plant to meet inspection guidelines discussed at previous meetings.
Rabe has spoken with a railroad design engineer in Dallas, Texas regarding repairs to be performed on the tracks just north of the river bridge on S. Hersey/Hwy 14. Rabe believes they have a plan of action to conduct the upgrade this spring. The repairs have been needed for a number of years.
He also reported on city sales tax receipts. The year to date total for 2017 is $1,218,808. This is through the month of November. It is 1.68% less than the same period a year ago. Several years ago, the city added a 1-cent sales tax with three-tenths going to the swimming park bond and seven-tenths going into the Capital Improvement Fund.
This pays for things like the K-14 project fund match, the East Main project, North Campus streets, water mains, sewer mains and others. The city also gets a share of the local sales taxes that are applied through the county government. This mainly goes into the General Fund which helps support transportation, parks, administration, police, and North Campus buildings. The sales tax totals also help to gauge the state of the local economy.
Regarding the search for airport planning consultants, Rabe told the council he had received five bids. He will filter through the candidates before making a recommendation of approval to the council at a later date.
A residential refuse contract update study shows that the amount of refuse being collected by Hiserote Trash Service is in-line with the amount expected.
Rabe also recommended that the grant agreement for the Kansas Moderate Income Housing Program be signed. The program provides down payment assistance for new construction of a home. As part of the city’s match, they would provide five lots to the program. The estimated cost to the city would be about $60,000 if five new homes are built.
Solomon Valley Community Development Director Heather Hartman reported on the second Strategic Doing Workshop held on November 29. Since that time, some small work groups have formed, but they have questions on how to proceed. Hartman said a workshop is being scheduled for January to help these groups gain a clearer understanding of how to proceed with their projects. The third Strategic Doing meeting will be held on February 21.
In the work session, Schroeder reported on an amended solid waste ordinance. One of the areas of concern related to large trash containers placed in front yards and left there for extended periods of time. These are considered unsightly and can block the line of sight for traffic. Efforts will be made to educate citizens and address the problem by ordinance.
An amendment to the utility policy was considered. One point of consideration was to raise the utility deposit from $150 to $200 to bring that amount in-line with other like sized cities. The other issue dealt with consumers who once had utility service which had been disconnected, bills which remained unpaid, and eventually required legal action to collect. In such cases, it was suggested that those wanting a new account would be required to pay a fee equal to the city’s current three-month average. The council expressed support for both suggestions.
Finally, Rabe gave the council a visible update on the ongoing creation of a new city website. The Beloit City Council is next scheduled to meet on January 2 at the Municipal Building in Beloit.