Norton City Council Meeting Minutes March 4, 2020

NOTE:  The following minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

March 4, 2020

The Norton City Council met in regular session Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at 5:30 p.m., with Mayor Jerry Jones presiding. Council members present were Gerald Jones, Donna Foley, Ron Briery, Dean Liddle, Dennis Gilhousen, and Robert Bowman. Others present were Donna Liddle, Gary Lacy, Michael and Carla Richards, Cynthia Cullumber, Jody Enfield, Gerry Cullumber, Karen Griffiths, James Moreau, and Darla Ellis.

Motion was made by Dennis Gilhousen and seconded by Ron Briery to approve the February 19, 2020 city council meeting minutes.  Vote taken.  Motion carried.

The following demolition permit was presented:

Casey’s General Store – $10,000 – Demolition of commercial building at 101 E. Holme

Donna Liddle stated the Chamber is a Local Partner with Census 2020 and is working to ensure Norton County gets an accurate count for our communities.  She explained the importance of completing the 2020 Census, and stated if just one household is missed in Norton, the community could miss out on about $52,050 in available funding over the next 10 years.  She reviewed a list of federal funding that is received in our community based on our census count, and asked if the City would like to partner with them in establishing a “Complete Count Committee”, with the Chamber, Economic Development and County Commissioners. Motion was made by Dennis Gilhousen and seconded by Robert Bowman to have the City participate in the Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census.  Vote taken.  Motion carried.

Motion was made by Dean Liddle and seconded by Ron Briery to waive the formal second reading of Ordinance #1728, increasing Municipal Court costs.  Vote taken. Motion carried.

Motion was made by Dennis Gilhousen and seconded by Robert Bowman to waive the formal second reading of Ordinance #1730, adopting the codification of ordinances of the City of Norton, Kansas, authorized by Ordinance #1729, providing for the repeal of certain other ordinances not included therein, excepting certain ordinances from repeal and saving certain accrued rights and liabilities.  Vote taken.  Motion carried.

City Attorney Karen Griffiths reported the Planning Commission received a variance request for a covered porch, and a hearing has been scheduled on April 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Chief Cullumber reported the grant application for the radar signs through Dane G. Hansen was not approved and he is looking at other avenues for funding. He also stated Coffee with a Cop will be held on Friday, March 13 at Java from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. to introduce the newest officer and police clerk.

City Administrator James Moreau stated a motion had previously been made to purchase four radar signs and recommends that only two of the signs be purchased right now with extra brackets to move them around as needed.  Gerald Jones asked if we could put a timeline on purchasing the other two if grant funding is approved rather than waiting for a whole year.  Motion was made by Dean Liddle and seconded by Donna Foley to purchase 2 radar signs instead of 4 as previously approved, at a cost not to exceed $8,000 plus additional brackets.  Vote taken.  Motion carried.

James Moreau stated Casey’s has their demolition and building permits for the new development at 101 E. Holme. The City has ordered the transformer and all utilities have been moved for the demolition work.

Gerald Jones asked for clarification of the formation and functioning of the recently appointed annexation committee. He stated the City currently has six standing committees made up of 3 council members, with a chairperson, vice chairperson and member.  These committees are appointed by the Mayor, with approval by the City Council, and the chairperson conducts the committee meeting and reports the committee discussion at the following council meeting.  He stated this process was not followed for the recently appointed annexation committee, and a report of the recent annexation committee meeting is not included on the agenda. He asked why established practices were deviated from for the annexation committee.

City Attorney Karen Griffiths stated the city’s use of committees is not addressed in the City Code, and there is no state statute regulating committees. It is not required that the council approve committee appointments, but historically they have. She stated the Mayor can appoint ad hoc committees that just meet for a specific time or topic, and the council may or may not approve the appointments. Dennis Gilhousen stated he never expected the annexation committee to be a standing committee, but thought it was appointed for one specific purpose and when that discussion was finished it would no longer be needed. He stated he felt it was the general consensus of the annexation committee at their first meeting that there will be nothing going forward, and instead the City would look at updating their comprehensive plan first.

Motion was made by Gerald Jones and seconded by Ron Briery to dissolve the annexation committee, due to the irregularities in the formation and functioning of the annexation committee when compared to established practices.  Vote taken.  Motion carried.

Donna Foley stated the Parks Committee met and learned there is a civil suit against the US Railroad regarding right-of-way and so the trails discussion has been put on hold.  The City is waiting for a corrected deed before moving forward with the Dog Park, and then a proposal for the Dog Park will be presented.  She stated all funds have been received for the new playground equipment and the designated area for the equipment has been marked at the pool park. Twenty-six locations were requested for bat houses and the City will be able to accommodate 22 of them.  She stated Service Learning Day has been cancelled for this year.  A Parks Committee meeting was scheduled for March 12 at 4:00 p.m., to meet with a forester, who will be coming to evaluate the City’s trees.

Dean Liddle stated there was discussion at the recent county commissioner meeting regarding Census 2020.  He also reported the Public Safety Committee reviewed a list of 11 substandard properties which were identified to need improvements or repairs. Motion was made by Dean Liddle and seconded by Ron Briery to accept the list of substandard properties and authorize the Code Inspector to proceed with the notification process to the property owners. Vote taken.  Motion carried.

Robert Bowman asked if a small drainage tube could be put in at the intersection of W. Lincoln and N. Second Street, to eliminate the standing water; City Administrator James Moreau stated he will look at it.

Motion was made by Dennis Gilhousen and seconded by Ron Briery to approve Appropriating Ordinance #5 as a whole.  Vote taken.  Motion carried.

Motion was made by Ron Briery to adjourn. Council adjourned at 6:08 p.m.