City Council Votes to Cut Funding to County Economic Development, Approves Appointments at May Meeting

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council voted Tuesday evening, May 10, to take a bigger role in Kiowa’s economic development by reducing its annual payment to Barber County Economic Development and keeping those funds for possible projects in Kiowa.

City Administrator Lou Leone told council members that in 2012 the city paid $12,000 to BCED and $15,000 each of the following three years for a total of $57,500. Most council members felt the city wasn’t receiving much for their money, as most of the new businesses the county has gained have been in Medicine Lodge.

Since the $15,000 annual donation to BCED was already approved in this year’s budget, council voted to donate $1,500 to the group this year and review the item again next year. The remaining $13,500 from this year’s budgeted funds will be used for possible projects in Kiowa. Council hoped that by withholding most of its funding this year that it might “send a message” to BCED that they desire to see more local results for its money.

Equipment Purchases

Council held considerable discussion on replacing the city’s old grader, skid loader and dump truck and finally decided on the purchase of a used 2000 Freightliner dump truck at a cost of $31,000. Council directed the city administrator to see if they could get some type of warranty on the truck, which is now located in Sioux City, IA. Purchase of another grader and skid loader were put off until more information could be gathered.

Annual Appointments

Mayor Brandon Farney made annual appointments to city positions with approval by members Tom Wells, R.L. Simpson, Bill Watson, Russ Molz and Brian Hill.

Rich Befort was appointed as Municipal Judge; Steven Johnson as Police Chief; Marlo Rugg as City Clerk; Laurel McClellan as City Attorney; and Rex Zimmerman as City Treasurer.

Administrator’s Report

Lou Leone noted in his report that the City of Attica had signed a service pool agreement with Kiowa that will allow for the sharing of equipment and personnel for electrical service work, since Kiowa now has two certified linemen.

Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA), which now supplies electricity to the city, has informed the city of an error in what the city is being charged for electricity, which will result in a credit of several thousand dollars back to the city. A capital credits check for $56,652.24 has also been received by the city from Alfalfa Electric Cooperative.

Mr. Leone said he is continuing work on the 2017 budget and has requested priority items from department heads and also council members.

City cell phones have all been placed under one provider, Verizon, to lower the monthly charge by $25. A survey of South Barber students was also held to get their opinions on what the city might need for future growth and keeping students in the community.

Thanks for Donations

The city and Kiowa Fire Department gave a big “Thank You” to the Molz Family and Kiowa General Store for their contributions towards the purchase of much needed radios for the department. The city administrator also said he conducted a walk-through with Fire Dept. personnel to access equipment needs and possible ways to fund future purchases. He has been in contact with other cities and fire departments to get information on grants and other means of acquiring equipment.

Smoke testing of sewer lines is completed and businesses that had problems were notified of the results.

Angela Cunningham has been hired as assistant manager this summer at the Kiowa Swimming Pool, which will open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.

The city’s electric rate has also been certified and council authorized the mayor to sign the required paperwork.

In other action, council”

  • Approved the annual insurance contract for 2016-2017 at a cost of $53,998, which is less than a one percent increase over last year. The premiums cover the city’s liability, property, vehicles and worker’s compensation, among other items.
  • Received the monthly report for the Police Department from Chief Steven Johnson, who reported that it was “a slow month, but we’ll take it.”
  • Voted to donate the Community Building to the Kiowa District Hospital Foundation on October 22 for a “beer and wine tasting: fundraiser.
  • Heard comments from council members concerning pit bull breed dogs still in town, boats and vehicles parked in yards, and various properties that need mowed and cleaned up. The city clerk will also make a list of street lights that are out or having problems that need replaced.
  • Approved a burn period in the city from May 11 through May 23.