Downs City Council replaces mayor and city superintendent after resignations


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Regular meeting of the mayor and council was held October 1, 2018, 5:00 p.m., at the Downs City Hall. Mayor Justin Towery presided. Council members present: Jane VanDonge, Evan Joy, John Bisnette, Devin Renken, and Tonya Kuhn.  Others attending: Josh Hofflinger, Bruce Berkley, Ces Reinert, Joyce Stephenson, Donnie Stephenson, Vickie Oviatt, Ron Duran, Sherry Knouf, LaRhea Cole, and Mike Bristol.

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

Devin moved to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of September 17, 2018 and the minutes of the special meeting of September 24, 2018.  Jane seconded. Carried.

Lieutenant Michael Bristol presented the law enforcement report of activities for the period of September 1 – October 1, 2018.

Joyce Stephenson was present to request a payment extension on her September water bill until October 4, 2018.  John moved, seconded by Evan, to grant an extension on the water bill until October 4, 2018 for Joyce Stephenson.  Carried.

Sherry Knouf was present for requests to waive memorial hall fees for events.  Tonya moved to waive memorial hall fees for the Lakeside High School play on November 10th and 11th.  Devin seconded the motion.  Carried.

John moved, seconded by Jane, to waive the memorial hall fees for the Arts Council’s Tree Fest.  Carried.

Ces Reinert, representing Osborne County Community Foundation, was present to request that the city be the supervisory agent when applying to the Dane G. Hansen Foundation for summer college student interns for community improvement projects.  Jane moved, seconded by Tonya, to authorize Ces Reinert to apply to Dane Hansen for a community intern. Carried.

Jane had requested that George Henry appear before the council to tell them about the aggressive dog incident report that he had filed on September 17.  George said that he had seen the same dog became aggressive toward Kent Sullivan, city employee, on September 26. George said that this is not an isolated thing for dogs to be a large, but a common thing.  He said that he struggles to know why this is taken care of in other towns, but not here. It was noted that this same nuisance dog was ticketed last year more than once. Tonya asked that Bruce work with George to fill out a complaint.  Tonya noted that dog owners are being irresponsible and requested that Ron Duran be more proactive in writing tickets and patrolling. Jane asked that Ron be more aggressive looking for loose dogs. Tonya also asked LaRhea to work with Bruce to do an article for the newspaper.

Bruce reported on information regarding train horns and quiet zones.  He had contacted KDHE about grain dust. KDHE said that they do not regulate chemicals in the air, but Kansas Department of Ag regulates the application of chemicals.  Bruce is expecting a call to be returned from Dept. of Ag. Bruce will reply to Rex Moubry.

Bruce will contact Schwab Eaton for a land survey for the extension of Railroad Avenue.  Bruce is checking with the League regarding an update to the employee handbook.

Josh Hofflinger reported that 24 blocks have been sealed.  Council asked Josh to check on oil prices and, if there is going to be an increase, to proceed with ordering.  Josh reported that Pearce Electronics has ordered parts for the water plant. The crew will be flushing hydrants later in the year.  Lead and Copper testing results were good. Kyle Alflen’s last day of seasonal employment was Thursday, September 27, 2018.

City Clerk reported receipt of Terry Gradig’s written resignation.  Law Enforcement Contract renewal was reviewed. There was discussion.  Tonya will invite Sheriff Miner to attend the next meeting.

Tonya moved, seconded by Jane, to approve special use permits #18-42 & #18-43.  Carried.

Evan moved to approve a demolition permit for Don Miller, #18-15.  Devin seconded. Carried.

John moved, seconded by Devin, to approve CMB License #18-10.  Carried.

At 6:55 p.m., Tonya moved, seconded by Evan, to recess into executive session for 15 minutes with the mayor, council, clerk, attorney, and Josh Hofflinger, for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel, city employee.  Carried.

At 7:10 p.m., regular session resumed.

Tonya moved to offer Josh Hofflinger the City Superintendent position with a three-month probation period, with a $3.00/hour increase in wage, and $125.00/month for code enforcement/building inspector.  Devin seconded. Carried. Josh took the oath of office.

Mayor Justin Towery presented his written resignation as mayor.  He has moved to Osborne. Council President, John Bisnette, will move into the mayor position.

Vouchers and payroll were reviewed.  There was an error on a final payout check for Terry Gradig which will need correction.  Devin moved, seconded by Evan, to approve the vouchers and payroll pending change. Carried.

At 7:30 p.m., John moved to adjourn the meeting.  Evan seconded. Carried. Meeting adjourned.

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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 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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