Downs City Council – February 5, 2018


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The regular meeting of the Downs mayor and council was held February 5, 2018, 5:00 p.m. at city hall.  Mayor Justin Towery presided.  Council members present:  Evan Joy, Devin Renken, Tonya Kuhn, Jane VanDonge, and John Bisnette.  Others in attendance:  Bruce Berkley, Brian Sharp, Tyler Bletscher, Alan Feist, Vickie Oviatt, Terry Gradig, Mike Bristol, LaRhea Cole, Ron Duran, Brett Doane.

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

Devin moved, seconded by Tonya, to approve the January 16, 2018 meeting minutes.  Carried.

Tyler Bletscher, Kansas Wildlife & Parks Manager, was present to advise the council of his current project of getting the Visitor Center at Glen Elder State Park reestablished.  The Visitor Center will provide an educational center focused on the history of the Waconda Springs and Lake.  This would be the first phase of a multi-phase plan to capture and share the history of the area.  The building had new plumbing, heat/AC, and bathrooms installed in 2016.  He would like the local communities to provide feed-back and support and appoint a member of the community to serve as a point of contact.

Alan Feist, Senior Center Representative, asked for permission to paint parking stall lines in front of the Senior Center.  Council directed Terry to check with the state for any restrictions as far as angles and width.  Alan also asked Terry to fix an area on Delaware where the crew had made repairs.

Brett Doane, Downs Arts Council, was present by request of the council.  The DAC utilizes the upstairs room at the Memorial Hall for storage for plays.  Council requests the room to be organized and provide a pathway through the room as a safety precaution and to be in compliance with the Fire Marshall.  Brett said that there was some progress toward organization, but then with volunteer help it became disorderly.  Jane asked that the pathway be provided prior to the next regular meeting so that the council can consider their request to waive fees for upcoming events.  There was discussion.

Brian Sharp was present for a deadline on his notice of a nuisance vehicle.  Brian asked if zoning laws had changed, and he is now in violation, or has his family always been in violation.  Brian said that he continues to have a hobby and cars for sale on the lot, which he thought was an asset.  Devin noted that Brian has been the only one in a commercial zone to receive a notice, while the officers considered other violators in commercial zones to be a “gray area”.   Bruce noted that this is not a zoning violation being discussed, it is the city code and council can repeal or amend.  Following further discussion, John moved, seconded by Devin, to extend Brian Sharp another 30 days, and have council review the ordinance.  Carried.

Mike Bristol, Lieutenant, provided the law enforcement activity report for the period of January 1 – February 1, 2018.  He will contact Deputy Jerry Knouf regarding an updated report on nuisance vehicles.

Bruce Berkley, City Attorney, reported that he, Devin, and Evan had attended the League Planning and Zoning meeting.  Bruce updated council on the juvenile cases regarding vandalism at the memorial park.  He had contacted Paul Gregory, County Attorney, but has had no response.

Bruce followed up on the court case of three dogs and their plan is to move the third dog to a different location.  Ron reported that he drives by the property every day pressuring them to comply.  Jane requested Animal Control insure that the dog be removed from the property by the first meeting in March.

Ron Duran, Animal Control, reported that he had impounded two dogs on Saturday.  The owner plans to tag, vaccinate, and pick up the dogs by Wednesday.

Terry Gradig, City Superintendent, reported that he and Josh Hofflinger would like to attend the Kansas Rural Water Conference in Wichita, March 27 – March 29, 2018 for certification hours.  The registration is $170.00/each.  He noted that Kent is required to work for two years before he can start certification.  Devin moved, seconded by John, for Terry and Josh to attend the water and wastewater certifications in Wichita, March 27-29th.  Carried.  Evan moved to pay $170/each for registration fees for Terry and Josh, plus mileage and meals.  Tonya seconded.  Carried.

Terry will get tree trimming bids for review at the next meeting.

Terry will attend the Cawker City council meeting on February 14th when Wilson & Co. will be in attendance.

Terry presented bids to replace the broken flashing light at the school zone.  KDOT is checking on the Safe Walk to School grant which could possibly provide funds.

John moved, seconded by Evan, to allow the city superintendent to set up a maintenance agreement with Hach for $739.00/year, with city attorney approval.  Carried.

Council agreed to give permission to Prairie Land to store poles on the empty city lots.

Terry reported that notice had been received from KDHE, Bureau of Environmental Remediation, transferring the GAC and Building to the City of Downs.  The letter approves the transfer of the building (on 3rd Ave. adjacent to the water tower which held the Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) vessels), the vessels, and associated plumbing/electrical to the City of Downs.

Terry will contact Wilson & Co. for their possible attendance at the first meeting in March.

Terry has checked with Troy Billings concerning sludge application.  Tonya moved, seconded by Evan, to allow the city superintendent to proceed with sludge removal, upon verification from the state, up to $10,000.00.  Carried.

The city crew has been tree trimming, working on the ballfield, cleaning memorial hall, and painting pool benches.  Terry gave Jane a tour of the city buildings.  Council encouraged Terry to dispose of scrap and inoperable equipment such as the old street packer and Massey Tractor.

Terry will get bids on tires for the Ford Versatile loader.  The loader is used for dirt moving and tree pick up.

A request was received from the Chamber to use the city ID number for grant purposes.  Tonya moved, seconded by Devin, to allow the Chamber to apply for a grant using the city EIN.  Carried.

Mayor Towery appointed Sonya Miller to the Housing Authority Board for another 4-year term.  Tonya moved to approve the mayor’s appointment of Sonya Miller to the Housing Authority Board for a four-year term.  John seconded.  Carried.

Evan moved, seconded by Devin, to allow the mayor to sign the engagement letter with Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd for the 2019 budget preparation.  Carried.

John moved to approve the special use permits #18-05, #18-06, #18-07, #18-08, #18-09, and #18-10.  Devin seconded the motion.  Carried.

Tonya moved, seconded by Evan, to approve licenses #18-33, #18-34, and #18-35.  Carried.

Tonya moved, seconded by Devin, to approve building permit #18-02.  Carried.

John had been contacted by the medical clinic about the need for a new printer.  It was determined that this was part of their business and would not be a city expense.

John presented quotes for time clocks from UAttend and from Easy Clocking.  There was discussion.

Clerk reported that the next regular meeting will be on Tuesday, February 20th, due to the holiday.  A letter, from NWKP&DC regarding grant applications, was distributed.  Devin asked if there could be an annual report from Downs Enterprises.

Services provided by the city attorney for the monthly retainer fees were reviewed.  Bruce noted that there were no changes at this time.

Bruce reported on a question from Kansas Gas pertaining to the franchise agreement language which included a 5% fee for transport customers.  Council agreed to make no change.

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

At 8:22 p.m., John moved to recess into executive session for 30 minutes to discuss matters pertaining to non-elected personnel, topics of employee wages and health insurance with the mayor and council present.  Tonya seconded the motion.  Carried.

(Remaining minutes taken by Tonya)

Regular session resumed at 8:47 p.m.

Tonya moved, seconded by Evan, to give full time employees and part time employee Cynthia Shanley, a 2% cost of living raise, retroactive to January 1, 2018.  Passed unanimously.

Tonya moved to approve the BCBS insurance plan for 2018.  John seconded.  Passed unanimously.

Council would like the city clerk to contact BCBS to set up a meeting to discuss future health insurance options.

John moved to adjourn at 8:50 p.m.  Tonya seconded.  Passed unanimously.  Meeting adjourned.



Justin Towery, Mayor



Vickie Oviatt, Clerk



Page 1948










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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
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 2020 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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