Special to The Gardner News
Gardner city council had a work session on the city’s Growth Management Strategy Plan at 6 p.m. on Mar. 5., followed by the regular meeting with a heavy agenda and lots of action. Council adopted a resolution establishing policies for the creation and operation of citizen advisory committees, then an ordinance that established a Board of Building Code appeals, made four appointments to that board, as well as two planning commission appointments and one appointment to the airport advisory board.
In addition during council updates, consensus was reached on the Gardner Golf Course, and there was discussion regarding selling or leasing Gardner Municipal Airport.
Gardner Golf Course
During council updates, Ryan Denk, city attorney, briefed council on the Gardner Golf Course.
GreatLife Golf and Fitness and the city have been working on an operating agreement for months.
A major element is the irrigation system, which needs to be completely replaced. That cost is estimated to be around $750,000 – a tough pill for council to swallow.
Denk basically told council it can be done if council wants to proceed.
“The irrigation system, we think we can figure out how to finance that. The $290,000 of largely seed, sod, and stuff like that, we’re going to have to get more creative figuring out how to debt finance that,” said Denk.
He wanted council to be clear in understanding this was a ten year commitment to repay debt.
“For the next ten years in terms of debt repayment, it means a commitment that, yes, we are committed to doing that. Because those are not costs that GreatLife is going to reimburse us for. They’re asking us to make those expenditures and cover those costs,” he said.
Denk said debt payments would be around $135,000 per year.
Mike Mallory, of GreatLife, came to the podium and told council the old irrigation system was in even worse shape than originally thought – it hardly works at all. He said and if they didn’t get the greens watered properly soon, they’d lose them, and this year’s golf season with it. The situation is critical according to Mallory, but it’s not too late to save the greens either.
Steve Shute, mayor, indicated the time for a decision had come.
“There’s only two options, guys. Either we say yes, and we’re going to pony up for an irrigation system, initially for nine holes, and keep the course, or we say no, we have to close the course,” said Shute.
Randy Gregorcyck, council member, said the course has an economic development arm too, an amenity not only for residents but also people visiting or doing business in the nearby industrial centers.
GreatLife has plans to restore nine holes of the 18 hole course to standards that will please golfers. Restoring those nine holes is the first priority, with many options open for the rest of the course.
Mallory says the course will improve each year and in 3 years will be in great shape.
“What other costs will the city incur while you operate this?” asked Lee Moore, council president. Mallory said “zero.”
Council came to consensus that they would move forward.
Justice Center Construction
Moore said he’d seen public discussion where people were alarmed to hear the Justice Center construction project was over budget. He referred to an internal memo that he thought explained it well, and asked staff to explain a little more for the public.
Michael Kramer, said that it was expected at this stage, mostly due to large built in contingencies in early estimates. He explained that those numbers will start dropping as actual costs become known.
“As we move forward we expect that contingency to come down,” Kramer said.
Kramer was confident that the Justice Center would be completed on budget.
Gardner Municipal Airport
Rich Melton, council vice president, brought up the municipal airport during council updates. Melton wanted to look into ways to make income from the property. He asked about leasing to private developers. Mark Baldwin mentioned selling the property. Michael Kramer said the FAA wouldn’t allow that. Shute, agreed and said the city was “grant encumbured.”
The airport was brought up again by Lee Moore, council president, when his turn came in council updates. He said he would like to do things out there to improve the service to transient pilots.
“It should be a contributing asset, not something we have to continually pump money into,” said Moore.
The Airport Advisory Board was discussed, and it was agreed the board was important, but the group didn’t believe the city was responding to them.
It was decided that the advisory board should have an ex-officio member from council assigned, to help get them involved and inspired again.
Gregorcyck suggested Moore take that position, and Moore agreed.
League of Kansas Municipalities Code
The council considered an ordinance adopting the “Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas Cities: Edition of 2017” prepared and published by the League of Kansas Municipalities.
Cities in Kansas adopt the LKM standard publication annually, adding or deleting provisions as they deem appropriate. Gardner routinely adds provisions for careless driving, prohibiting vehicle idling, parking restrictions, transportation of alcoholic beverage, prohibiting the use of any compression release engine braking system and maximum speed limits for streets within the city.
Chief I’m Pruetting, Judge Lewis, the city attorney and city prosecutors reviewed the new edition of the Standard Traffic Ordinance and did not request any additional changes.
Council adopted Ordinance No. 2567 with changes as noted within the proposed ordinance with a 5-0 vote.
Next, council considered Ordinance No. 2568, fixing certain standards of conduct for persons within the City of Gardner, Kansas; making violation of any such standards a public offense, subject to penalty; incorporating by reference the “Uniform Public Offense Code for Kansas Cities: Edition of 2017” as prepared and published by the League of Kansas Municipalities.
Council adopted Ordinance No. 2568 with changes as noted within the proposed ordinance with a 5-0 vote.
More meeting action
• Council authorized the City Administrator to apply for KDOT funding to study improvements at the I-35 and US-56 interchange. The total cost of the study is expected to be approximately $150,000. The city will request that KDOT fund 50 percent of the cost. The city’s portion of the cost will come from the Street Improvement Fund.
• Utility Advisory Commission recommendation to approve a contract with Larkin Lamp Rynearson to design and construct a storage tank at the South Lift Station site in an amount not to exceed $141,750.00 was approved by council.
• Council adopted Resolution 1984, establishing policies for the creation and operation of Citizen Advisory Committees of the City of Gardner, Kansas.
• Council approved Oil Well Permit and License Application for Eight Oil Wells on 124 acres of property located north and east of the intersection of 167th Street and Waverly Road. The property is covered by Conditional Use Permit CUP-15-01 to allow for oil wells within an A (Agriculture District) zoning district.
• Council adopted Ordinance No. 2569 creating a Board of Building Code Appeals of the City of Gardner.
• Consent Agenda contained seven approvals of contracts, agreements or expenditures, including a franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable Midwest, LLC d/b/a Charter Communications, for the provision of video services in the City of Gardner.