Kiowa Welcomes Lou Leone as New City Administrator

New City Administrator Lou Leone

New City Administrator
Lou Leone

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council welcomed new administrator Lou Leone at Monday night’s monthly meeting and took care of several other items of business. Leone, who comes to Kiowa from Broomfield, Colorado, is now living in Kiowa and arrived with his 6th grade age son, Nicholas. His wife and young daughter are expected to arrive in Kiowa later this week.

“I just want everyone to know my family feels very welcome here,” Mr. Leone said. And he wasted no time in jumping into city issues with the council members present – Russ Molz, R.L. Simpson, Brian Hill, Bill Watson and Mayor Brandon Farney.

Recycling/Forklift Update

Street Superintendent Gary Johnson said he was expecting information on fixing the city’s forklift on Tuesday. As directed last month, Johnson also got another quote from Bogner, Inc. on a 23-ft trailer with a foldup ramp for loading and unloading the city’s tractor and other equipment. Council approved the bid of $5,780 from Bogner, Inc.

Pumps Purchased

City Water Superintendent Nathan Lambert explained his needs for submersible water pumps for use by the city and council voted to approve purchase of a 3-inch hydraulic pump at a cost of $2,448 and a 12 volt pump at a cost of $1,135.

Update on Sewer Issue

Nathan Lambert and Mayor Farney have both viewed the video of the sewer main just south of Main Street, where there was a large amount of grease found in the line. City attorney Laurel McClellan presented a draft of a letter stating the city’s authority to have grease traps, etc. installed to protect others on the sewer system, but it was noted that before taking any action council felt they should talk to business owners where the problem may have originated to see if the problem could be handled that way first.

Mayor Signs Documents

The Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA) sent three documents that needed to be signed by Mayor Farney as part of the change in electric providers.The first document is to demonstrate to KCP&L that the Mayor of Kiowa has the authorization to enter into these agreements on behalf of the city. The second document, an agreement between KMEA and KCP&L, is requested for credit and payment purposes, and the third between KMEA and Kiowa states that KMEA is the seller of the electricity to Kiowa.

Council voted to give the Mayor authority to sign the agreements.

In a related item, Mayor Farney attended the first board of directors meeting of KMEA and said he was more encouraged than ever that the city is making the right decision. It was noted that Kiowa would still be receiving its electricity through Western Farmers, as they put power into the pool along with other producers, but the cost would be at a lower rate.

Mayor Farney also got approval from the council to allow the city administrator to begin advertising for a new electric lineman, as the one Kiowa shares with Alfalfa Electric Coop will not be available when his contract expires in February.

Change in City Elections

One of several changes made by the Kansas Legislature earlier this year was that all city elections will be moved to the November general election ballot. This means that council members, and the mayor, that have terms that were scheduled to expire next spring will have them extended until November.

Changes also need to be made in the city code, and city attorney Laurel McClellan presented a draft ordinances for council to consider. Council passed Charter Ordinance No. 15 and Ordinance No. 425 to make the necessary changes.

Audit Agreement

Council received a bid from present city auditors Busby Ford & Reimer LLC of Wichita. The cost of $9,150 is the same as last year.

Council voted to approve the bid and authorize the mayor to sign the legger of engagementt

New Municipal Judge

Judge Von Achen has submitted his resignation as Municipal Judge t take a job with Sedgwick County.

The city attorney said he has spoken with Richard Befort about taking over the job, and he has agreed to at a cost of $300 per month. Mayor Farney appointed Mr. Befort to the position with council’s approval.

Kiowa holds Municipal Court on the 4th Friday of every month.

Meals on Wheels

Kim Balding at Kiowa Manor is continuing to get “the ball rolling” on a Meals on Wheels program in Kiowa, according to City Clerk Marlo Rugg, and she will keep council informed of any new developments in the program.

The City of Kiowa will again sponsor the Christmas Lighting Contest with monetary prizes for top three winners in both residential and commercial categories.

Council also voted to waive the rental fee for the Kiowa Community Building for the Christmas Craft Show on December 6, and also agreed to allow the use of electricity in the downtown Centennial Park for a Christmas light display.

In final action, council voted to waive the waiting period for Blue Cross/Blue Shield for the new city administrator and held a short executive session.