City Council Talks Electricity, Welcomes New Clerk, Passes Ordinances at July Meeting

Kiowa’s second electric generator was installed last week.

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council discussed electricity and passed ordinances at it’s June 10 monthly meeting. Council members present were Bill Watson, Tom Wells, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz and Brian Hill. In the absence of Mayor Brandon Farney, board president Watson conducted the meeting.

After approval of the agenda, previous minutes and bills for payment, council heard a budget report from City Administrator Lou Leone. He said that the finances are “doing good” with nearly all funds at or slightly below the 50% level midway through the budget year.

Patrol Car Donated

Council next gave a big “thank you” to Jeff Bryan, owner of Bryan Chevrolet-Buick of Kiowa, for the donation of a 2011 Chevrolet Impala for use as a patrol vehicle by the Police Department. The vehicle has 73,000 miles on it and had previously been used as a parol car by the Hays Police Department. It will be outfitted with new lights and decals and replace the present patrol car, which will be used for the reserve unit.

New Clerk Welcomed

Kiowa’s new city clerk, Trisha Brewer, was welcomed by the council. Board president Bill Watson declined to appoint her as City Clerk, however, as he felt that was the duty of the mayor. Mrs. Brewer was appointed, however, to serve as the city’s KMEA No. 2 director.

In a related item, both she and another recently hired employee, John Duvall, were approved to be put on the city’s insurance policy as of July first, without the normal 90 day waiting period.

Special Request

Council heard a special request from a citizens concerning tree roots in their sewer line leading to their residence. While sympathetic, council noted that service lines to private property was the owner’s responsibility, not that of the city. They stressed, however, that they welcomed citizens to relay their concerns on any city issue with council members or the city office staff.

Water Plan Complete

The city administrator advised council that the Water Conservation Plan for 2017 has been completed and has been sent to the Kansas Rural Water Assn. for approval. The plan needs to be updated every year, he noted.

Ordinances Approved

Next on the agenda was yearly approval of the Uniform Public Offense Code and Standard Traffic Ordinance, which were passed as Ordinances No. 442 and 443. They are published elsewhere in this week’s newspaper.

Staff Reports

Police Chief Steven Johnson reported an a credit card scam by an out-of-state source that has been reported in town and advised citizens to be wary of any phone requests for credit or any other personal information.

The city superintendent report noted that several poles were purchased from Southern Pioneer Electric when the wind storm struck on June 30, and that the city will now keep poles of several sizes on hand for future use. Councilman Wells gave the city crew a “job well done” on its work to get power lines back up and running and limbs cleaned up throughout town following the storm.

Council also approved plans for chip and seal of several streets throughout town later this summer.

Lou Leone noted in his report that the city has received a grant of $13,300 to help purchase a diesel generator for use at the Community Building in times of emergency. Total cost of the generator with hookups is $24,000.

He also said the new generator is arriving this week. The control room building is also set to arrive soon and when installed between the two generators will allow control of either or both of the units, which will double the city’s ability to provide its own electricity when needed.

Mr. Leone reported on the KMEA Conference he recently attended and said that the group has offered to sponsor the city’s membership in the KMU. Council voted to join KMU and spread costs of the membership out over the budget year.

The city administrator noted that it was KMEA who he contacted to have power crews sent for mutual aid when the city’s power lines were damaged. He said their main question was “how many do you need?” and he acknowledged how much those out of town crews helped restore the city’s electricity.

Upgrades to the electric grid were also discussed, especially an automatic reclosure system that would automatically close the breaker on a circuit when it is interrupted by a bird or squirrel in the system. It would then reopen when possible. It would save the city considerable overtime expenses for crews to come out and do the work.

Staff has contacted Southern Pioneer Electric to take the “next steps” regarding connecting the city to their transmission line. It was also reported that since Southern Pioneer is connected to poles along 14th Street that were damaged in the wind storm, the company will pay one-third of the costs to restore those poles.

City Attorney Laurel McClellan noted in his report that Mr. Paul Tilley had missed his date to file an appeal in his legal case, but action is moving along on another case involving costs associated with the demolition of the old bowling alley building. Mr. McClellan said they should have an opinion from the judge in the case on August 9.

After more discussion, council held a short executive session at the request of Councilman Watson, then adjourned.