City Hires New Clerk, Discusses What ATV’s are Allowed on Streets

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council hired a new City Clerk at last Monday night’s meeting, June 5. Following an executive session to review the final candidates for the position, council gave City Administrator Lou Leone authorization to offer the job to Patricia Brewer, and she accepted. Her first day at work will be on Monday, June 26.

Mrs. Brewer is the wife of Barber County Undersheriff Dusty Brewer. They moved to Kiowa earlier this year after he accepted Sheriff Lonnie Small’s offer to serve as second in command in the Sheriff’s Office.

All councilmen were at Monday night’s meeting – Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Brian Hill, Russ Molz and Tom Wells – along with Mayor Brandon Farney.

Status of Second Generator

After approval of previous minutes, with corrections, and bills for payment, council heard a short report from the city administrator on the status of the city’s second generator. The concrete pad is set to be poured this week and the entire project should be completed by the middle to end of July, Mr. Leone said.

He also reported on two electric outages the previous week. One was caused by a lightning strike during thunderstorms, and was restored after Western Farmers fixed the problem on their end. The other outage was caused by a bird strike causing a fuse to blow on the substation.

Mr. Leone also reported that with 44% of the budget year completed, the city has used just 37% of the budget funds so far. He also said that a shipment of 13 transformers and more LED street lights have been ordered to continue converting the city to a single voltage system and switching out the street lights to the brighter, much more energy efficient LED bulbs.

Bike Path in the Future?

The city administrator briefly discussed the possibilities of receiving funds from the Kansas Dept. of Transportation (KDOT) to help fund a bicycle past along the old railroad tracks along the south and east edge of town out to the river. The route, which had the tracks removed a few years ago, could be cleaned up and made accessible for bikes, hiking, etc. using matching funds from KDOT, if available. The project could also help with drainage problems along 12th Street, Mr. Leone said.

Council gave approval to allow the city administrator to get more facts and figures on what a bike path might cost and report back at a later meeting.

Insurance Approved

Council next voted 4-0 to approve the city’s insurance policy for 11 months at a cost of $52,489, which represents a six percent increase over the previous year. The one month shorter period is to get the city into a program that would increase the amount of dividends the city would receive.

Councilman Watson, who is also the city’s insurance agent, also noted the city has had several claims over the past year, and said that their would be a few reimbursements received due to city vehicles that are no longer on the policy. Mr. Watson abstained from the voting process due to his position as the city’s agent.

Police Have Been Busy

Police Chief Steven Johnson reported that there’s “been quite a bit going on” during the past month, with drug arrests and other activities. He said the department assisted with a very successful EMS Safety Week held the last day of school. He also reported that he has received final certification to instruct a “hostage” class, which also covers how to deal with persons with mental illness.

He was also asked how his department is working with the Sheriff’s Office, and he said relations are very good with each department helping out the other on several occasions.

What ATV’s are Legal on Streets?

Council next held a discussion as to what ATV’s (all terrain vehicle) are allowed on city streets under the “golf cart” ordinance. Councilman Watson noted that the ordinance was originally designed to allow elderly residents to purchase golf carts to drive around city streets (with the exception of streets that are also state highways – Main St. and North 7th). The ordinance was expanded to include utility ATV’s, but not “sport” ATV’s.

What defines a sport ATV was the primary question, and city attorney Laurel McClellan suggested the police dept. check with the Kansas Highway Patrol or Division of Motor Vehicles for a chart they have with pictures and descriptions of the various types of ATV’s.

Council also reminded the public that with either golf carts or ATV’s on streets, a city permit must be purchased and the driver must have a license and the vehicle must be insured.

Administrator’s Report

Lou Leone told council that the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment has submitted a list of improvements and has given the city a passing grade, acknowledging how fast the city staff has worked to be in compliance.

Changes have been made in how employees report mileage when the fuel up city vehicles to improve accountability and help with budgeting.

Work on the 2018 budget is awaiting valuation figures and other information, and he hopes to present a draft budget at the July meeting. The city staff is also working on the Water Conservation Plan, which is required to be updated every year.

The new water department truck should arrived by the late June, and Mr. Leone said that five houses have been identified around town as potentially dangerous or hazardous and the legal process will begin to have those structures torn down.

The city administrator also reported on a recent economic development seminar he attended in Glenpool, OK, finalizing the city water rights, city website improvements, and other continuing projects.