Special to The Gardner News
Due to a new audio visual system being installed in the council chamber at city hall, the city council meeting on March 6 took place at the Gardner Senior Center
Chris Morrow, mayor, began council updates by talking about the city’s goal of building a new ‘justice center’ that would serve as police headquarters and municipal court.
Morrow stated that each year that passes the cost of building goes up. If construction were done in 2018 the cost would be close to $12 million.
Morrow mentioned that Gardner would receive about $4.8 million from the new Johnson County sales tax increase and also funds from this year’s increase in county property tax valuations.
“I think we’re in a very good position to carefully consider whether or not now is a good time to move on something we’ve been contemplating for four years and moving towards for each of those four years,”said Morrow.
Lee Moore, council member, questioned the appearance of law enforcement experts at a recent work session.
“We went through seven months without having a work session that we asked for and all agreed to have, in anticipation of these ‘so-called’ experts that were going to come talk to us about this. We had four experts, and one of those was paid. I’m not sure how that works,” said Moore.
Morrow explained that the one who was paid was Mike Press, who is a local government consultant.
Press, who previously has served as an interim city administrator for Gardner, provided the service of finding and coordinating a variety of experienced professionals qualified to speak to the topic. Press also spoke to council as one of the four experts.
Morrow said the invoice had not been received yet, but he expected it would be under $1000.
Moore also stated his dissatisfaction with the decision made at the last meeting that a motion for resolution to censure the mayor was out of order and removed from consideration.
“Our whole case was thrown out on the basis that we didn’t have enough to go forward with formal disciplinary procedures. That’s not what we wanted to do. We just wanted to express discontent…’, Moore said.
Rich Melton, council member, also noted his disapproval of the work session experts who attended in February regarding a possible change to the GPD’s reporting structure. In January, Melton gave a presentation suggesting GPD report to an intermediary committee such as the Citizen’s Police Advisory Committee.
“I don’t really think it was needed to spend $1000, that’s my personal opinion,” Melton said. Melton, who also serves as chair of the CPAC, said his committee was the only advisory committee that doesn’t have a way to look at budget.
“We only can look at civic involvement. After 14, 16 months we’re pretty much civic involvement’d out,” Melton said. “My thing is to just give us something to talk about because right now we’re grasping at straws.”
Melton also wanted to change the way items are added to the agenda. He was told ‘no’ when he wanted to add an item to tonight’s agenda.
Currently agenda items are added by the mayor. Melton said he wants to have options.
Kristy Harrison, council member, asked what it was about.
“I think for some reason some of this stuff seems to be being made a much bigger deal than what it should be. So what was it and why was it denied?” asked Harrison.
It was then explained that Melton had asked to put Moore’s censure presentation, which was prepared for the previous meeting as part of the motion to censure, which was declared out of order and therefore not presented.
Morrow explained why he had said no. It had been ruled out of order, and it was time to move on.
“We’re in the process of trying to move things forward… great things are coming up… and this is kind of a distraction,” said Morrow.
Moore then interjected – “Point of Order, Point of Order! That’s your opinion sir, and we’re not here to listen to your opinion.”
Morrow said everyone at the table was entitled to opinion.
“No sir, you’re the chair, you need to chair the meeting. That’s the Point of Order. It’s in the book,” Moore said.
Harrison suggested that if agenda items become an issue, the mayor, council president and vice president should be able to work any agenda issues out between the three of them.
“Honestly, some of these conversations with this, I feel like I sit in the 7th grade lunchroom half the time. I’m not kidding, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
Todd Winters, council member, agreed and said it was time to move on.
Police and Pepsi were approved in the consent agenda.
Staff recommended purchase of GNX IIIA Maverick Ballistic vests and accessories from Galls LLC, for officers of the police department. These vests provide level IIIA protection, which is the highest level offered besides military grade armor.
The purchase also includes 50 gold and 50 silver embroidered badges.
The total estimated cost for the 34 vests and accessories is $32,626.39.
The 2017 budget included $32,000 for the purchase of ballistic armor.
The city was also awarded Department of Justice grant funds in the amount of $4,970, to be reimbursed against the cost of the vests.
Also approved in the consent agenda was an agreement with Pepsico for 5 years, beginning March 31, to provide beverage services for Gardner Parks and Recreation concession stands.
Pepsico will service four concession stands. Two at Celebration Park, one at the Aquatic Center and one at the Westside Sports Complex.
Police records management system
Council considered approving an Interlocal Agreement for a coordinated Law Enforcement Records Management System for Johnson County.
Lee Krout, lieutenant, gave the staff presentation.
Every county law enforcement agency has made a verbal commitment to move to a more sophisticated and functional records management system called Niche RMS.
The Johnson County Board of Commissioners agreed to purchase, house and maintain the system hardware for all Johnson County law enforcement agencies.
Gardner is one of three cities chosen to be part of the initial implementation.
The agreement includes an annual hosting fee of $2,046, which starts in 2017 and an annual maintenance fee of $8,040 beginning in 2018.
Total annual cost in 2018 is $10,086.
Council approved and authorized the mayor and city clerk to sign the agreement
Executive session followed by actions
Council recessed into executive session from 8:48 to 9:18 to discuss matters relating to litigation. Upon concluding the first session, they went into another executive session to discuss matters relating to personnel.
Upon resuming open session at 9:48 p.m., a motion was made to draft an agreement with the city of Edgerton, working out payment terms, rate structure and an agency to perform a wastewater rate study.
The motion carried with none opposed.
Next, a motion was made and passed to allow an agenda item to be introduced.
Steve Shute, council president, then recommended Resolution No. 1963, which would amend and expand policy regarding employee appeal of performance reviews. It would enable employees to appeal performance reviews to the council.
There was considerable discussion.
The Resolution passed with a 4-1 vote, with Harrison casting the nay vote, and the meeting adjourned.