Marysville City Council Meeting Minutes – 10/28/19

The Marysville City Council met Monday. Trees garnered discussion for well over an hour, as a pair of ordinance revisions were considered that would set the height that tree canopies must be trimmed from 14′ to 16′. A second clarification was in regard to definition of a 35′ mark from the curb line of a city street. Back and forth opinion on the proper height resulted in a 4-4 tie on the proposed ordinance revision, with an amendment following settling on 14′ resulting in passage 6-2, with Frye and Throm voting no. After further discussion on the second ordinance, it was pointed out that there were no significant changes from the current ordinance, which was left in place.

Another lengthy discussion followed on the matter of funding a sewer line extension for hookup on a new home proposed at 1139 Keystone Road. Concerns with previous agreements in place that allowed multiple hookups in the Keystone addition at a much lower assessment were voiced. Final consensus was to have the property owner provide a cost estimate.

Approval was given for an economic development incentive be provided for demolition of a blighted structure at 404 South 7th Street, after a new house for the residents is completed just north of that in cooperation with a Habitat for Humanity build.

Retirement resignation of Sam Kracht in the street department was received, and applications are being accepted, with a CDL requirement. Need for a swimming pool manager was also briefly mentioned.

It was reported that David Ohlde is leaving the Marysville Police Department. He has accepted a position as a trainer with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson and will be moving.

Police Chief Todd Ackerman spoke with concern in losing veteran officers in light of current low salaries. He noted that the sheriff’s office pays well over $2 per hour more, and half of current staff averages seven months experience, with two recent hires that have yet to complete training. He added that other officers may be considering other offers. A back and forth with the mayor opened a discussion of per capita staffing, and comparison with other similar size communities and the county. Ackerman spoke passionately for the need to staff 24/7, and the pair crossed again on a possibility that a vehicle upgrade could be pushed back to allow additional funding for salaries. He noted that this was not just a local issue, but a challenge other agencies face. Alternate incentives were also addressed that others are offering to attract candidates. City Manager Austin St. John expressed frustration that his earlier proposal to raise police salaries significantly was criticized, and he was questioned by the mayor. Consensus was that the Chief and City Administrator would meet and determine a higher starting salary, that would help to attract additional qualified candidates. Ackerman closed with a request for additional consideration for additional hours he would be working while covering short term for current vacancies. The mayor asked consideration of reducing 24-hour staffing, since other communities in the county operate without, but met resistance from Ackerman on the concept. The matter will be carried forward to the next council meeting.

Kansas State University students involved with the housing, urban planning, and seventh street design proposals will take part in a public presentation of concepts on November 6th, with the community urged to participate. The meeting at City Hall will begin with a mixer at 5:30 and come and go presentations following at 6.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, November 12th, with Veterans Day that Monday.