Special to The Gardner News
A sizable audience attended the Sept. 22 Edgerton city council meeting as Deputy Brandon Collins was honored. Council also considered plans to form a new economic development entity and concluded months of consideration on adopting an ordinance to regulate beekeeping.
Honoring Deputy Collins
Don Roberts, mayor, began the meeting with an official proclamation declaring Sept. 22 as Brandon Collins Day.
The proclamation honors Johnson County Master Deputy Brandon Collins, who was killed on Sept. 11 while conducting a traffic stop. Collins often served in Edgerton and was familiar to the community.
The Edgerton council chamber had a larger than usual audience, which included numerous officers from the Johnson County Sheriff’ s Department..
The city encouraged residents to show their support and distributed blue light bulbs to all in attendance.
Economic development developments
At the Sept. 8 meeting, council agreed that it might be advantageous for the city to engage in a “more Edgerton centric” economic development option.
After discussion, staff was directed to gather information on what it would take to form an economic development entity.
An initial plan was presented in the city administrator’s report.
The process would start with council approval of an economic development task force.
“This task force will be used to provide direction for the initial items of work until the organization is officially formed and has a board of directors,” explained Beth Linn, city administrator.
The mayor and city administrator would be on the task force, along with representatives from Northpoint Development, BNSF, RWD # 7, KCPL and other local businesses.
Office space would be located at Northpoint.
The city would hire an executive search firm to seek a president/CEO.
Linn said the organization could be operational by early 2017.
After Linn’s briefing, two motions were made.
The first was to officially notify Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation (SWJCEDC) that Edgerton will not be a member in 2017.
The other motion was to appoint Roberts and Linn to the task force.
Both motions were approved with 4-0 votes.
Referring to SWJCEDC after the vote, Linn said, “The mayor and I have done a lot of work with them. They’ve been tremendous.”
“We look forward to this new entity getting started obviously, but want to reach out and give a huge thank you to Greg Martinette and EDC for all they’ve done,” said Linn.
“I concur,” said Roberts. (See related story)
Amazon Building completion
Also at the Sept. 8 meeting, council okayed a resolution that approved an additional $25 million bond issuance to finish the Amazon building.
In order to issue additional bonds, the city must amend the existing bond documents.
The council was presented with Ordinance No. 1035, which authorizes the city to do that.
The ordinance passed by a 3-1 vote. Charlie Troutner was the ‘no’ vote. Cindy Crooks was absent.
Beekeeping Ordinance comes up for vote
Consideration of ordinance to regulate beekeeping within city limits has been a topic of council discussion for several months.
Back in June, staff presented information on beekeeping regulation adopted by other area cities and invited representatives from Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association to speak to council.
In July, council directed staff to write a draft ordinance for review. The draft ordinance has since been completed and was presented for review..
The proposed ordinance would require beekeepers to purchase an annual permit. It would regulate the number, size, location and other specifications for beehives.
Mike Sleister, resident,who has established beehives in Edgerton already, attended the meeting to voice his opposition to the ordinance. Sleister has appeared at previous meetings as well.
Sleister asked how many complaints about bees the city had received and demanded to see them.
Darius Crist, council member, noted that complaints were not necessary to create an ordinance.
Sleister said it seemed like there was no reason for the ordinance except to make money. He said he had talked to everybody in town, and no one had a problem with bees.
He also claimed he was the target of a council member’s personal vendetta and began discussing other activity in the city that wasn’t being regulated.
At one point, Don Roberts, mayor, warned Sleister he would be removed from the chamber if he wouldn’t stick to the topic of beekeeping. Roberts asked if he had another point to make regarding the ordinance.
“Yeah, this whole thing is bogus,” replied Sleister.
“This is why everybody is right now on the chopping block of getting voted out of here. Seriously. Everybody. Every single one of you,” Sleister concluded.
In council discussion, Jody Brown, council member, said he didn’t see any reason to enact the ordinance.
Clay Longanecker, council member, made a motion to prohibit beekeeping within city limits entirely. The motion failed to get a second.
Roberts then asked for other motions, and none were offered.
“If no one is willing to make any motions then we will just put this on the backburner until someone wants to bring it back up,” said Roberts.
When asked if there was a time frame for when it might be brought back up, Roberts said ‘no.’
“Really it’ll just die from lack of motion,” said Roberts.
City to form new EDC; beekeeping ordinance presented