Danedri Thompson
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Council members Larry Fotovich and Chris Morrow asked that two items be pulled off the consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are typically considered general business items that don’t merit discussion, but Morrow requested that an item to approve the purchase of a new city truck be moved to new business, and Fotovich requested members discuss the standing approval of the city’s expenditures over the last several weeks.
City staff requested to purchase a two-ton full-size pick-up for $19,055 for the public works water treatment division. The new truck would replace a compact pick up truck with 141,000 miles on it. The truck is used as a shuttle vehicle to take employees between water treatment sites.
“One-hundred and forty-one thousand miles give or take… That seems gently used,” Morrow said.
David Greene, city public works director, said council members approved the purchase in this year’s budget. He explained that in the last two years, the existing truck has had more than $5,000 in maintenance cost including work on its brakes, diagnostics system and routine maintenance.
“We’re anticipating more issues,” Greene said. “You can always delay, but you’re looking at more issues. This one’s tired.”
He said city trucks are typically replaced after 10 years in service, but the current truck is 13 years old.
Mayor Dave Drovetta said the city’s vehicle-replacement program allows council members to budget for replacements over time in small bits.
“We’ve delayed this. We do utilize these vehicles tremendously,” he said.
Council member Kristina Harrison wondered if there weren’t a less expensive vehicle the city could purchase, but Greene said a sedan wouldn’t work, and a compact truck would be more expensive than what the staff was proposing.
Council approved the purchase on a split vote with Morrow and Fotovich opposing.
Fotovich also opposed the standing approval of more than $741,970 in city expenditures.
Council members received 36 pages of expenditures to approve.
“There are 36 pages of items that don’t have any information behind them,” he said.
For example, Fotovich listed a $704 payment to Olathe Wind and Water Works.
“Digital web cast, $500. What is that?” Fotovich asked.
He said he wasn’t prepared to sign off on purchases if he didn’t know what they were.
Mayor Dave Drovetta said the purpose of council is to establish policies.
“Our position is not to manage the day-to-day business of the city,” Drovetta said.
Interim city administrator Melissa Mundt said she can pull up specifics about each purchase, but that all of the purchases had been approved by council during the budget process.
Council member Kristina Harrison suggested that in the future council members could do a process similar to the school board. Two school board members examine all of the expenditures with school staff members an hour before each meeting.
“I don’t know if that’s something that would help,” she said.
Council member Brian Broxterman called the question, and the approval passed with Fotovich opposing.
In other business, council members:
• Re-zoned a 2.08-acre property at 980 E. Santa Fe from general industrial to planned commercial.
• Approved the establishment of an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation to participate in a federal fund exchange that would partially pay for the engineering design of upgrades to the intersection of Center Street and Main. Council also approved the hiring of TransSystems to do the design of the project for $153,102. Under the federal fund exchange agreement with KDOT, the city would pay approximately $46,000 for the design. The rest would flow from federal coffers to KDOT and then to the city for the project’s design.
• Approved a boundary agreement between Johnson County Rural Water No. 7 (JCRW7) and the city that will transfer two rural Gardner water customers to JCRW7.
Held an executive session to discuss land acquisition.