The Beloit City Council met on Tuesday evening August 21. The main item on the agenda was the passage of the 2019 city budget totaling approximately $14.6 million. $1.59 million of the budget is funded by property taxes. No one raised any questions or concerns about the budget during the required hearing prior to its approval.
The budget will limit the property tax revenue to only the portion of the increased assessments put in place by the county assessor with a total increase of $31,000. The mill levy goes down slightly. This portion of the budget funds administration, parks and recreation, police, fire, the Port Library and transportation. The bulk of the budget is funded by city utilities with electric utility proceeds being the largest source of those funding mechanisms.
City Attorney Katie Schroeder opened the meeting discussing a recent meeting she attended with City Clerk Mandy Lomax hosted by the Kansas League of Municipalities on Open Records Act training. A new manual was presented, and she said the training will be helpful in terms of filling open records requests.
She also passed along a reminder that school zones speed limits are back in enforcement. As a member of Beloit Elementary PTO, she also extended a thank you to the Beloit Fire Department for their help with a new attraction at Beloit Family Fun Night.
City Manager Jason Rabe said the latest report from the KDHE and EPA will require another letter be sent out for TTHM levels in the city’s water supply based on 2nd quarter readings, but he noted that things are heading in the right direction.
City officials toured the Safe Routes to School additions with the contractor on Tuesday, and that it went very well. City crews are doing seeding along the new sidewalks. Community service hours from the public are also being utilized for that. Rabe said that work should be completed this week. They will then be ready to move on to phase 2B of the project in the next year.
Rabe also said the Beloit Planning Commission met last week and updated zoning definitions. He said work on updating Geographic Information Systems is nearly finished, and will be a very useful tool for the city and public alike and will be accessible on the city’s updated website.
Community Development Director Heather Hartman discussed Community Development interns for next summer funded by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. They will be looking for projects for interns and housing for them as well. College level interns will be sought. This year, Lincoln and Jewell County Development utilized such interns for building improvements.
The council also held a public hearing on a loan application to the KDHE regarding a loan from the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund. The city will apply for $11,404,000 to fund water infrastructure improvements.
The council then approved the consent agenda including payments of $552,255 for the period.
Ord. 2234 which made amendments to the dog ordinance were approved. City Attorney Schroeder explained the need for the changes.
She said this amended ordinance will be applied retroactively to a case where a dog had to be labelled as dangerous due to restrictions of the language in the previously passed resolution where she, code enforcement and the judge felt the animal in question was not a dangerous dog.
In other action items, the council approved a purchase of utility poles budget from the low bidder, Bridgewell Systems, of $12,497 for 33 poles. The city’s electric department has been fervently working to upgrade this carrier infrastructure and have replaced nearly 150 poles in the city over the past 18 months.
The council also approved contracts with NCRPC for asbestos inspections, lead assessment and lead clearance agreements, contingent upon grant awarding. Also approved was a combined inspection agreement needed to successfully implement the 2019 CDBG grant if awarded.
The city then approved a bid from Lock IT Technologies for computers, a server and network replacement for the police department in the amount of $14,584. Along with the technology upgrades an offsite backup and security monitoring contract in the amount of $15,180 per year was approved as well. Previously, the police department had a three year fully managed contract with NexTech. The options were similar in price over a five-year period, but the belief is that this is a better long-term solution which will bring costs down overall.
It was also announced that the city has received a grant in the amount of roughly $10,000 to conduct a city wide cleanup the week of September 17. More information will be presented to the public soon to explain the process and what will be accepted to be transported to the landfill during the process.
In the work session, Rabe said Chautauqua pool attendance was up about 2,000 patrons compared to last year at 13,067. This is the highest it has been since 2013. Childr attendance similar, but adult attendance constituted the main increase.
Rabe then discussed preliminary pedestrian improvements. Councilor Kent Miller asked if there were plans to add a sidewalk between Beloit Elementary and Ray’s Apple Market as it passes by the Beloit Medical Center. This is a highly traveled area on foot, and there is no sidewalk there currently. It seemed that this suggestion will be implemented into these future plans.
Rabe then covered cost estimates for the impending water plant improvements which includes estimated costs for transmission lines, equipment, and city plant improvements at $11,372,200. That figure includes a $1 million contingency on unforeseen expenses. Rabe said they are trying to keep working costs down while assuring quality. These improvements would make the city’s water service more efficient, and lower operating costs from about $4 to near $3 per 1,000 gallons to treat. Monthly increase to consumer with the improvements are estimated at a monthly cost per meter of $4.21. Public information meetings on the project could begin to take place within the next 4-6 weeks.