Special to The Gardner News
The Edgerton city council met on Aug. 10 and heard about the Kiwanis intention to charter an Edgerton club. The council also considered a request from Fire District 1 to begin collecting fees for new commercial construction and were updated on the plan to revitalize the downtown area.
Edgerton Kiwanis Club
Steve Russell of the Kansas Kiwanis spoke to council during public comments and informed them that the organization is looking to charter a club branch in Edgerton.
Fifteen members need to be signed up to charter a new club. Russell said they already have ten and more are expressing interest.
“We’re on our way. This is going to happen. We would surely appreciate your help,” said Russell. “A club like this can really be a good part of the community, do a lot of good things for the community, so we encourage your support,” he said.
Don Roberts, mayor, said he believes a club in Edgerton would be a really good thing for the town. He recalled how the Jaycees organization, which no longer exists in Edgerton, used to help out with Frontier Days and other city events.
A landscape architect and planner from urban design consultant SWT Design was at the meeting to update council on the Downtown Plan. A representative from Mid America Regional Council (MARC), which is providing partial funds for the project, was also present at on the meeting.
The week of Aug. 14 is “Discovery Week, which will gather feedback and input from citizens through meetings and focus groups.
There is an advisory committee meeting on Aug. 15 and a public open house at city hall on Aug. 16.
SWT will spend the month following discovery week analyzing the information collected.
Design ideas will begin to be developed after that, and the rep said they hope to have initial planning wrapped up in December.
“Part of those recommendations will be – how do you implement it. We’re not just going to give you a plan and say see ya,” said the SWT rep. He said the firm would provide a ten year plan with big ideas.
Fire District Fees
The council considered a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the city and Fire District 1 regarding fire review and inspection fees.
FD1 has recently added fees for their services for new commercial construction projects and is requesting the city collect these fees upon issuing building permits and remit to the district.
Dennis Meyers, assistant FD1 fire chief, spoke to council on behalf of FD1.
Continuing construction at the LPKC/BNSF Intermodal has increased the demand for fire department services and workload. Meyers says these fees are needed because of the time and manpower these facilities require. He said they were going to have to immediately hire another person to keep up with it.
“If it is agreed upon tonight, we’ll start as of this day. That’s what we’ll do,” said Meyers.
FD1 also would like to make these fees retroactive for a few buildings that are currently under construction and have already paid fees for building permits. This would go back to June 8.
Discussion indicated council and staff did not want to ask developers for retroactive fees and didn’t think they could do so anyway.
Clay Longanecker, council member, wanted to know if FD1 would receive 100 per cent of the fees, or if other county agencies might get part.
Meyers said FD1 would collect all the revenue from the new fees.
Ron Conus, council member, did some math and figured the district would be gaining around $200,000 per year from PILOT payment programs.
“So in the next five years you’re going to take in over a million dollars, and you’re saying you want more than that,” Conus asked.
Meyers said that it’ll be a few years before they see $200,000 and at first it’d be closer to $65,000.
At the same time, he noted, emergency calls for fire trucks and ambulances have doubled, continue to increase and the district expects to have to hire three new employees over the next few years, with salaries around $150,000. He added that they’ve had to replace multiple fire trucks recently, including one now sitting in the Edgerton fire station, at over a million in cost.
One paragraph in the MOU starts with: “Whereas, both the City and Fire District believe it is necessary to require a fee(s)”. Conus questioned the use of the word ‘believe’ in that section.
“I thought we were just agreeing to collect the fee. This wording says we agree that it’s necessary for that fee. Those are two different things,” said Conus.
“I guess what I would say is, if we don’t think it’s necessary, why would we collect the fee?” said Don Roberts, mayor.
Roberts said if council voted for it, they do believe it is necessary, and if they don’t pass it, then it doesn’t matter what it says.
“It’s written on the assumption it’s passed. If you don’t believe it, don’t pass it,” said Lee Hendricks, city attorney.
Council approved the MOU with minor amendments by a 4-1 vote. Conus was the nay vote.
Council did not agree to ask for retroactive fees, advising FD1 that they would have to do that themselves.
Traffic and Offense Code
Council considered adopting Standard Traffic Ordinance for See KIWANIS, page 8
From KIWANIS, page 1
Kansas cities as developed by the Kansas League of Municipalities.
Annually, the Kansas League of Municipalities prepares and publishes Standard Traffic Ordinances (STO) and Uniform Public Offense Code (UPOC) for Kansas Cities.
An ordinance to amend city code is required to adopt.
The 2017 STO was addressed with Ordinance No. 1059 and the UPOC with Ordinance No. 1100. Both were passed with 5-0 votes.