Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The first council meeting for the city of Edgerton on Jan. 12 included discussion on a county proposed partner project with Gardner, water line improvements, consideration of weather forecasting service and the need for a new phone system.

Issues involving Gardner
In the latter part of the meeting, council recessed into executive session for five minutes, resumed and then entered a second executive session for 30 minutes.
Upon resuming open session, Cindy Crooks, council member, immediately made a motion: “to direct staff to proceed with a rate study as to the wholesale rate of the Bull Creek Wastewater plant per the partnership between Edgerton and Gardner.”
The motion was approved with a 5-0 vote.
Council then discussed an inquiry received from Gardner, which invited Edgerton to participate with Gardner and Johnson County in improvements to Waverly Road from US-56 to the new bridge near BNSF railroad.
The letter states that the county intends to asphalt this road regardless of action by Gardner or Edgerton; however, the project would be upgraded and expanded if the two cities are willing to contribute an additional $175,000, between them, to the project.
The upgrade would add an additional six inches of asphalt surface to the county’s base plan and would expand the project to include paving the bridge approach on the south side of the bridge. Only the north side bridge approach would be improved in the base plan.
The letter states that Gardner city staff “is of the strong opinion that participation is in the best interest of both communities” and asks for Edgerton’s position on the project.
Edgerton has discussed this section of road in the past as the LPKC area has developed, but declined to improve it because of both budget and safety issues.
Concern about the safety of the intersection at Waverly Road and US-56 is the primary reason Edgerton wants this road to be a”no truck” route.
Don Roberts, mayor, thought paving the road would invite more truck traffic and noted that this section of road is currently in unincorporated territory, belonging to neither city, and technically isn’t theirs to fix.
Robert’s opinion was that the road shouldn’t be paved until the intersection at US-56 is realigned.
Jody Brown, council member, agreed, saying, “I don’t understand why they would want to asphalt that road without improving that intersection to start with.”
There were multiple comments about a lack of information on the project. Roberts said that it appears the county has communicated with Gardner about this project a lot more than it has with Edgerton.
Later in discussion, Cindy Crooks, council member, noted this too and said, “I think staff needs to get more information directly from the county, not a letter just from the city of Gardner.”
At the conclusion of discussion. council directed staff to contact the county to request more information and convey their concerns about the safety of the US-56 intersection. Staff was also told to communicate their positions to Gardner.

New phone system
The city’s current phone system has been in place since 2011, at which time it was an upgrade, but now it is no longer sufficient.
No more than two calls can occur at the same time with the old phone system, and that is not expandable. When a third call comes in, it gets routed to an answering service, potentially giving the caller the impression that there’s no one at city hall.
The 2016 budget approved funding for a new phone system. Since then, staff has worked with a consultant to determine the city’s needs, then collected quotes from nine vendors. Staff chose Net2Phone for recommendation to council.
The Net2Phone system will be able to handle five concurrent calls, and is expandable. However, the new phone system needs high speed internet, and city hall currently only has DSL.
Staff reported that CenturyLink is already working on making fiber available to the city facilities. According to a quote summary handout, the city would pay $3,000 in one time installation costs to bring fiber to four city locations and $2,300 monthly for service.
The Net2Phone system presented was based on a three year contract. Council approved the selection of Net2Phone for phone services with a 5-0 vote.

Weather forecasting
Staff recommended approving a contract with Weather or Not, Inc., to provide weather forecasting services. Staff used a 30 day demo of the service prior to recommendation.
The service provides staff with weather information via email and text messages. During inclement winter weather events, staff may be advised of rapidly changing conditions by phone calls.
The annual fee for the premier plus service is $9,806. The fee would be paid from the 2017 Public Works budget.
Don Roberts, mayor, said he was in favor for now, but he wants to monitor how much it is used. “If we use it nine times a year, then my answer would be ‘no.’ If we use it 200 times, then it’d be an obvious ‘yes’ for me,” he said.
Charlie Troutner, council member, expressed concern with the cost and cast the ‘nay’ vote in a 4-1 approval.

Nelson Street water lines
Water line improvement on Nelson Street from W. 5th to W. 3rd was discussed. The project will replace about 2,100 feet of ductile iron pipe that is aged and corroded. Staff reported there have been 7 water line breaks in the past 5 years, and all of them were due to corrosion.
Staff said this section is the last area needing old pipe replaced with PVC. When this is completed, all the city’s water lines would be PVC.
The city was awarded a $170, 000 Community Development Block Grant for the project. Construction costs are $222,695. Required engineering design services takes total cost to $291,495.
Council approved BG Consultants for the engineering design services on this project in December, and tonight formalized the agreement with a 5-0 vote.
Decorating contest winners
Tegan Meadors, parks and recreation coordinator, announced the winners of the 2016 Holiday Home Decorating Contest.
All winners recieved a certificate and a check. Laura Depew got first place and won $100. Second place paid $75 and went to Gary and Shirley Gillard, and $50 for third place was awarded to Laci Lewis.
Meadors said that 27 patrons registered for this years contest compared to ten last year.