Trent Cochran, GEHS junior, was recognized at the Dec. 4 Gardner City Council meeting for outstanding athletic achievements in 6A Boys Cross Country . Chris Morrow, mayor, congratulated Cochran and read a proclamation that also recognized Mia Tokavich, GEHS junior, for achievements in 6A Girls Golf. Staff photo by Rick Popptiz

Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
At the Dec. 4 meeting, Gardner City Council heard public comment on crosswalk safety, considered two service contract recommendations, an ordinance to amend the 2017 Budget, an agreement for design of improvements to the I-35 and Gardner Road interchange and a new drone for the police department.

Consent Agenda
Steve Shute, council president, asked for Item 4 to be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion and Lee Moore, council member, asked the same for Item 5.
Item 4 would authorize the city administrator to execute an agreement with Burns and McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc. to design the improvements for the I-35 and Gardner Road interchange.
Shute asked if this design project was being done in conjunction with KDOT. He also wanted to know if roundabouts were a design requirement.
Michael Kramer, public works director said that it was in conjunction with KDOT and they had reviewed the scope of services and the fee. Kramer said that the roundabouts were part of the original design request but indicated other options would be explored.
Shute commented that the city plans to make that road accommodate pedestrian traffic in the future and asked the Burns & McDonnell representative how roundabouts work out with pedestrian traffic.
The rep said that bicycle and pedestrian combination will be part of the overall study and that the interchange type was not predetermined. He added that there are ways to do mid block crossings that pull pedestrians away from the roundabouts.
After discussion, council approved the agreement by voice vote with none opposed.
Item 5 would approve the purchase of a drone for the police department for $9,463.99.
Moore asked Jim Pruetting, police chief, about staff training and service life of the unit.
Pruetting said there would be one officer on every shift trained and authorized for usage. He said the service life is expected to be ten years.
After discussion, council approved the agreement by voice vote with none opposed.

Public Comment
During public comments, Gary Carson, patron and disability advocate, told council that the pedestrian crossing at Center and Main Street does not work properly.
He said it audibly says it’s safe to cross but doesn’t stop auto traffic.
Carson, who is wheelchair bound, said he had nearly been hit three times at that intersection.
“This is a very serious public safety hazard involving all pedestrians,” he said.
Carson said that the Justice Department is investigating complaints he has filed.
“This isn’t two or three. This is an avalanche. You have no idea what you’re about to be hit with,” he said.
Carson said 50 thousand was in the budget for ADA improvements and that rate would take twenty years to fix current problems.
Finally, Carson asked to have the in-road signage restored at the Brittany Court crossing. He said a visually impaired resident had nearly been hit there and he had already pleaded with the police and public works director and was now at council asking to have the sign replaced.
“Can we please get our sign in the middle of the road again? Can we please get it back?, Carson said as his 5 minutes of comment time ran out.
Later in council updates, Michael Kramer, public works director, addressed the in-road sign.
Kramer said that there had been a in-road sign there in the past but it had been destroyed by a car and wasn’t replaced. He said there was no policy and few guidelines on use of these signs and that use was declining.
“Most of the jurisdictions that I’m aware of, that have used them in the past around Kansas City, no longer use them at all because, they do get run over and destroyed, and walked off with – we’ve had several on Madison that just disappeared,” Kramer said.
Kramer said he thought the problem Carson was describing regarding the crossing at Center and Main was the result of right turning traffic, which does have a green to turn – but after yielding to pedestrians, which is the driver’s responsibility. He said this was common and no different in other cities.

Service Contracts
Council approved two service contract recommendations from the Utility Advisory Commission.
The city administrator was authorized to contract Integrity Locating Services, LLC for utility locating services. Locating services are required to locate all underground utilities before and construction or digging.
The city has used the same service provider for multiple years. This year, staff asked for new bids and now recommends the new vendor.
The second UAC recommendation was to authorize the purchase of water treatment chemicals from multiple vendors.
Low bids were selected for nine different chemicals from five different suppliers, in amounts ranging from 2,500 to 225,000 lbs., for a combined total cost of $264,474.00.

Amendment to FY 2016 Budget
The first item on the agenda at this meeting was Public Hearing on amendment of the 2016 budget.
Laura Gourley, finance director, gave a brief description prior to the public hearing. She described it as a “housekeeping/technical amendment.”
No one came forward and the public hearing was closed.
Council moved to other agenda items and returned to the budget amendment later in the meeting.
The amendments were adopted by Ordinance No. 2562, which council passed with a 5-0 roll call vote.