FS Commission Minutes of Dec. 7

Minutes are unapproved until the next meeting.

The regular meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission was held December 7th, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. in the City Commission Meeting Room at City Hall, 123 S. Main Street, Fort Scott, Kansas.

ROLL CALL:

Commissioners K. Allen, P. Allen, R. Nichols, and T. Van Hoecke were present with Mayor J. Jones presiding.

INVOCATION: Diane K. Clay, City Clerk, said a prayer asking God for guidance for the City, our Government and City officials.

AUDIENCE IN ATTENDANCE: Jason Pickert, Brad Matkin, Rachel Thompson, Jason Dickman, Rob Harrington, Bill Downey, Sarah Maike, Thomas Russell, Tonya Cliffman, Jamie Armstrong, Deb McCoy, Jerry Morgan, Anne Dare, Matthew Wells, and Doug Guns.

ADDITIONS TO AGENDA:

PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS: None

CONSENT AGENDA:

  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of November 16th, 2021, special meetings of November 16th, 2021, November 20th, 2021, November 24th, 2021, and December 3rd, 2021.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1300-A totaling $425,303.56.

  1. Request to Pay #1 – Rogers & Sons Concrete – Union Lofts Alley Project – $45,666.00.

R. Nichols moved to approve the Consent Agenda. Tim Van Hoecke seconded. K. Allen, R. Nichols, T. Van Hoecke, and J. Jones voted aye. P. Allen voted no. Motion carried 4-1.

APPROVED CONSENT AGENDA.

Public Comment:

(Sign up required. Comments on any topic not on the agenda and limited to 5 minutes per person, at Commission discretion)

Thomas Russell – Mr. Russell stated that he lives at 623 S. Ransom. There is an unsafe structure at 619 S. Ransom. He shared a photo of this structure and said that the owner has not done anything to bring this structure up to code other than running a white pipe from the structure.

Diane Clay, City Clerk, stated that the public hearing held recently the Commission gave the owner 90 days to bring the structure up to code which is December 10th.

Mayor Jones said that this will be on the next agenda and asked Mr. Russell to appear at that meeting for an update.

Jamie Armstrong – Mrs. Armstrong informed the Commission that she is part of a group of volunteers called Warming Hearts. This group will be assisting the homeless in Fort Scott. They received a donation to construct small 4 X 6 sleeping pods. They would like to start with two pods. The design is still being determined, but they will be insulated and weather tight. The pods would be placed in the winter and removed in March and stored until the following winter. A trash receptacle and a port-a-potty will be onsite while the pods are in use. They have explored possible locations which include Bridal Veil Park and the private property located to the north of Community Christian Church. Community Christian Church is overseeing the donation funds and they also offer meals on Monday evenings.

Discussion was held by the Commission regarding a time frame for the pods to be there. It was also asked if they had discussed this proposition with the adjoining neighbors which they had not. The Commission determined it would be best to use the private property by Community Christian Church since they are overseeing the funds.

K. Allen moved to allow the construction of the 4 X 6 sleeping pods at the private property to the north of Community Christian Church (if the property owner agrees), and to start with two units, and have them removed from the property by March 31, 2022. J. Jones seconded. All voted aye.

approved to allow the construction of the 4 X 6 sleeping pods at the private property to the north of Community Christian Church (if the property owner agrees), and to start with two units, and have them removed from the property by March 31, 2022.

Deb McCoy – Mrs. McCoy informed the Commission that she wanted to address some confusing issues. She asked if they were setting a precedence that Commissioners can ignore our City Ordinances by allowing members of the Governing Body to manipulate and override the policies in place to meet their own agenda and not giving any consideration that they are clearly making decisions that are outside of the law. She referenced filling a vacant position on the City Commission. On 6/21/2005, a City Ordinance was passed on how to fill a vacancy in the City Commissioner position. It stated in case of any vacancy in the office of Mayor or Commissioner, the remaining members of the Board shall, within ten (10) days or at the next regularly scheduled City Commission meeting, elect some suitable person. It also states if a tie is held, the City Attorney will case the decisive vote. We have had two City Commissioners resign in the past year and the process was held very differently. On 11/19/2020, the Commission met to accept the resignation of the Mayor JoLynne Mitchell. Two of the Commissioners felt that the candidate from the last regular election for City Commission receiving the highest number of votes should fill the vacancy. The two opposing Commissioners did not want to accept the highest vote getter and said that was not their desire. The City Attorney did not make the decisive vote. They ended up extending the ten-day time frame of the Ordinance to request letters of interest. A replacement was chosen 21 days later.

During the 10/19/2021 Commission meeting, a Commissioner stated that they had moved out of the City limits. According to State Statute 14-204, the office shall be deemed vacant. The City Attorney stated that we had ten days to fill it. The Fort Scott Tribune printed the warranty deed, and it was completed on 11/1/2021. On 11/2/2021, no action was taken on the vacancy. On 11/16/2021 no action was taken. On 11/24/2021 a special meeting was called to accept the resignation which was 37 days later. The highest vote getter was given this position which made sense since there is only a month left in the vacated term. In her opinion the delay for the resignation allowed a candidate running in the 11/2/2021 election to be put into the vacancy. This candidate was publicly endorsed by a certain Commissioner during a previous meeting which is totally unethical.

She also addressed residency requirements. She said that she received copies of City ordinances passed by the City. She asked if we need to be more precise in the wording that is used in drawing up our City ordinances to prevent uncertainty.

Her last item was individual members of the Commission acting independently. She said that we have witnessed the results of four sitting Commissioners on two different occasions utilizing public funds by consulting with both the past and present City Attorney where actions were taken, and decisions made without the consent of the Governing Body. These Commissioners, along with the City Attorneys were involved in behind the scenes decisions regarding our past two City Managers. Individual Commissioners had the attorneys draw up the severance packages that we, the taxpayers, continue to pay. She asked where the accountability lies for those who have participated in questionable actions and behaviors, ignoring policies and procedures, and making deals to benefit personal agendas at the expense of the taxpayer. She asked if the actions were based on job performance or for means to accomplish a personal agenda for the acting Commissioners? She asked if these actions taken outside of City Hall would be considered abuse of power and official misconduct?

She stated finally that the citizens are the will of the people because they are the ones who exercised their right to vote you in as elected officials. We expect you to follow the State Statutes and City Ordinances that the previous Governing Bodies have put into place. They were not passed to be ignored, nor is it your option to pick and choose which ones you want to follow. The policies and procedures provide regulatory requirements, hold officials and appointees accountable, and provide a greater understanding of what is expected by all. She said that they were voted into office to do what is lawfully right. She hopes we have a brighter 2022.

Old Business: Jason Dickman, Earles Engineering, said that he sent out replacement documents earlier in the day but the Commission had not received them accordingly to the City Clerk. She will email them to the Commission tomorrow morning.

    1. Consideration to repeal Ordinance 2563 – Section 12.12.070 – Pavement – Approval of Ordinance No. 3587

Excavation-Procedure, Section 12-12-080 – Unimproved Street – Procedure Exception – Approval of Ordinance No. 3588

Section 12.12.110 – Replacement of Materials – Exception – Approval of Ordinance No. 3589

R. Nichols moved to table this item at this time so the Commission can review the new specifications that will be emailed to them tomorrow. K. Allen seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED TO TABLE THIS ITEM AT THIS TIME SO THE COMMISSION CAN REVIEW THE NEW SPECIFICATIONS FROM EARLES ENGINEERING.

Kevin Allen left the room at 4:44 p.m.

b. Consideration of Bids – Demolition of Structures

J. Jones said that he thinks the City and the County have an agreement on the dump fees. He recommended approving these without dump fees.

  • 611 S. Ransom Street – Structure and Accessory Structure

R. Nichols moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 611 S. Ransom Street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $2,949.00. J. Jones seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 611 S. Ransom street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $2,949.00.

  • 323 S. Hill Street – Structure

T. Van Hoecke moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 323 S. Hill Street to Saker Demolition in the amount of $2,000.00. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 323 S. HILL STREET to SAKER DEMOLITION in the amount of $2,000.00.

  • 1517 S. Main Street – Structure and Accessory Structure

R. Nichols moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 1517 S. Main Street to Saker Demolition in the amount of $2,500.00. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 1517 S. MAIN STREET to SAKER DEMOLITION in the amount of $2,500.00.

  • 316 S. Main Street – Structure and Accessory Structure

T. Van Hoecke moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 316 S. Main Street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 316 S. Main street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00.

  • 114 S. Barbee Street – Structure

R. Nichols moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 114 S. Barbee Street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 114 S. Barbee street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00.

  • 14 S. Margrave Street – Structure

T. Van Hoecke moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 14 S. Margrave Street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 14 S. MARGRAVE street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00.

  • 510 S. Heylman Street – Structure

R. Nichols moved to approve the low bid without dump fees for the property at 510 S. Heylman Street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $2,949.00. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

approved the low bid without dump fees for the property at 510 S. HEYLMAN street to Skitch’s Hauling & Excavation in the amount of $1,949.00.

Kevin Allen returned to the room at 5:00 p.m.

Public Hearings:

J. Jones moved to open the Public Hearing at 5:00 p.m. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

OPENED PUBLIC HEARING AT 5:00 P.M.

Budget Amendment – 5:00 p.m.

Diane Clay, City Clerk, informed the Commission that Susan Bancroft addressed these five funds with the Commission at the previous meeting. She has five (5) funds that need amended. They are as follows:

Proposed Amended

Fund Expenditures Expenditures

Special Streets and Highways $717,850 $1,357,991

Special Parks & Recreation $ 18,362 $ 57,796

CVB $ 65,157 $ 120,000

Water Utility $3,025,104 $3,346,480

Wastewater Utility $1,828,481 $1,950,000

There were no comments from the audience.

J. Jones moved to approve the budget amendment for 2021. K. Allen seconded. All voted aye.

approved the budget amendment FOR 2021.

R. Nichols moved to close the Public Hearing at 5:03 p.m. K. Allen seconded. All voted aye.

CLOSED PUBLIC HEARING AT 5:03 P.M.

J. Jones moved to open the Public Hearing at 5:03 p.m. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

OPENED PUBLIC HEARING AT 5:03 P.M.

Neighborhood Revitalization Public Hearing – 5:00 p.m.

Rob Harrington, Bourbon County R.E.D.I. Director, informed the Commission that before them is the Neighborhood Revitalization Program which will be from 2022 through 2027. This is a renewal of the program.

There were no comments from the audience.

K. Allen moved to approve to move forward with the Neighborhood Revitalization Program for 2022 through 2027. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION PROGRAM FOR 2022 THROUGH 2027.

K. Allen moved to close the Public Hearing at 5:05 p.m. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.

CLOSED PUBLIC HEARING AT 5:05 P.M.

APPEARANCES: None

New Business:

  1. Change Order #1 – Union Lofts Alley Project – $15,960.00 – Jason Dickman, Earles Engineering, informed the Commission that before them is Change Order #1 to increase the contract $15,960.00 for the Union Lofts alley.

Discussion was held regarding the project and brick versus concrete.

Pete said that he doesn’t want concrete put in where brick belongs especially in the downtown area.

Discussion was held to get a quote from the contractor to see the costs of brick versus concrete.

Discussion was held to table this to the next meeting and see what the brick costs will be.

K. Allen moved to table this until the next meeting in December to see what brick costs will be. R. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED TO TABLE CHANGE ORDER #1 FOR UNION LOFTS ALLEY UNTIL THE DECEMBER 21ST, 2021 MEETING.

  1. Skating at Buck Run Discussion – Brad Matkin, Human Resource Director, informed the Commission that the City will not be holding any skating sessions in December. They will try after the first of the year to get some sponsored skates.

  1. Water Rate Analysis Discussion – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that Susan Bancroft recently made comments regarding the latest water rate analysis that we received and it was not what the City needed. He shared a proposal with them from Carl Brown, of GettingGreatRates.com for a water rate analysis. He asked the Commission to look over this proposal and he would come back to them at a later date.

The Commission asked him to hold off until January when the new City Manager will be in place.

  1. Consideration of renewal of A.D.M. Contract – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that the City Attorney has approved this agreement with A.D.M. for renewal of their contract for the City to treat their wastewater. This new agreement also provides for a 2% increase each year in the cost of reuse water, wastewater, and sampling fees. There is a new spreadsheet where the City can track readings now. Part of the new tracking system is to repeal Section 13.24.120 for the Wastewater Surcharge. This agreement needs to be presented to A.D.M. officials if the City approves it tonight.

R. Nichols moved to approve the A.D.M. contract. J. Jones seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED ARCHER, DANIELS, MIDLAND CONTRACT.

  1. Repeal of Ordinance Section 13.24.120 – Wastewater Surcharge – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that this section of the current ordinance needs repealed.

R. Nichols moved to repeal Section 13.24.120 – Wastewater Surcharge and follow the new spreadsheet. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED TO REPEAL SECTION 13.24.120 – WASTEWATER SURCHARGE AND FOLLOW THE NEW SPREADSHEET.

  1. Approval of repair of Ozone Generator #2 – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that there is a problem with the generator that could be expensive. He has one purchase order already encumbered for $28,000. He invited the Commission to come and see him at the Water Plant and he can show them the issues with the generator. More information will be forthcoming.

  1. Consideration of Tree Removal Ordinance amendment – Bill Downey, Codes Manager, stated that he looked at the tree ordinance and there needed to be some revisions made to it. The ordinance will be amended as follows:

The City shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on public or private property within the City when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitutes a potential threat to other trees within the City. Removal shall be done by owners at their own expense within sixty (60) days after the date of the service of the notice. In the event of the failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the City shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the owner’s property tax notice”.

R. Nichols moved to approve the tree removal ordinance amendment No. 3598. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED ORDINANCE NO. 3598 AMENDING SECTION 12.24.090 (DEAD OR DISEASED TREE REMOVAL WHEN) OF CHAPTER 12.24 OF THE FORT SCOTT MUNICIPAL CODE.

Kevin Allen left the room at 5:27 p.m.

  1. Consideration of Old Military Bridge removal – Jason Dickman, Earles Engineering, informed the Commission that bids were taken for the removal of the old military bridge behind Walnut Hill.

Discussion was held regarding the bid and whether City staff could do the project.

Brad Matkin, Human Resource Director, informed the Board that the City crew has the experience and knowledge to do the job, but does not know what job commitments they have.

Discussion was held to bring this back in January when the new City Manager is here and discuss it then.

Kevin Allen returned to the room at 5:37 p.m.

  1. Request to Pay – Heckert Construction Co., Inc. – $45,059.96 – South National Avenue Overlay – Jason Dickman, Earles Engineering, informed the Commission that this amount is for 50% of the total amount owed since the project is not complete yet.

J. Jones move to approve the payment of $45,059.96 to Heckert Construction Co., Inc. for the National Street project. R. Nichols seconded. K. Allen, R. Nichols, T. Van Hoecke and J. Jones voted aye. P. Allen voted no. Motion carried 4-1.

approved the payment of $45,059.96 to Heckert Construction Co., Inc. for the National Street project.

  1. Change Order #1 – Heckert Construction Co., Inc. – South National Avenue Project – Increase of $32,609.17 – Contract total price – $90,119.92 – Jason Dickman, Earles Engineering, informed the Commission that this change order is for additional measured quantities for asphalt tonnage and final quantity adjustments. The amount of this Change Order #1 is $32,609.17.

Discussion was held between two Commissioners about this being the engineer’s error and not the contractor’s error.

J. Jones moved to approve Change Order #1 for Heckert Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $32,609.17 for the National Street project. T. Van Hoecke seconded. R. Nichols, T. Van Hoecke, and J. Jones voted aye. P. Allen voted no and K. Allen abstained. Motion carried 3-1-1.

approved Change Order #1 for Heckert Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $32,609.17 for the National Street project.

Reports and Comments:

Human Resource Director Comments: Brad Matkin informed the Commission that he has the new City Manager contract before them for approval. Kelley Zellner signed the employment offer which is effective January 4th, 2022. The agreement is for an annual salary of $95,000. The term of this agreement is from January 4th, 2022 until January 4th, 2023. Approval was recommended.

Brad thanked the interview panel for all their assistance.

T. Van Hoecke moved to approve the City Manager Employment Agreement with Kelley Zellner effective January 4th, 2022. K. Allen seconded. All voted aye.

APPROVED EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WITH KELLEY ZELLNER AS CITY MANAGER EFFECTIVE JANUARY 4TH, 2022.

Brad also informed the Commission of the new employee evaluation system he has put into place.

Commissioner Reports and Comments:

K. Allen – Thanked Brad, Diane, Mark, and Rachel for their work in putting on the City Employee Christmas dinner last night.

P. Allen – Nothing to report.

R. Nichols – Recognized Jessica Mowen for her work as Animal Control Officer. There is a nice article about her in Fort Scott.Biz.

T. Van Hoecke – Tim said that he wanted to discuss the dangerous and unsafe structures in the City of Fort Scott. He said that he checked with the Codes Manager and there is a list of 77 properties on the dangerous and unsafe list. He fears that this number will grow. The housing picture in the City of Fort Scott is not good. There are currently 32 homes for sale in Fort Scott. Of those homes, 15 are in a pending status for sale. 17 homes are available ranging from $14,000 to $417,000. He believes the budget needs to be larger for the dangerous structures for 2022. He discussed the newly created Lake Board Fund.

T. Van Hoecke made a motion to freeze the use or expenditure of the Lake Fund until a full review by the Codes enforcement team, economic development, law enforcement, fire department and the City Commission has completed both from a community hazard and cost to remediate estimates so that we can find a way to eliminate the hazards of these unsafe structures.

His motion died for lack of a second.

Discussion was held from the Commissioners about the list of structures he handed out.

K. Allen asked to table this at this time due to the upcoming Christmas parade.

J. Jones

Discussion of School Resource Officer agreement with Bourbon County – Josh asked that the City proceed with looking at a second School Resource Officer position.

City Attorney Report and Comments: Nothing to report.

Adjournment:

J. Jones moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:00 p.m. T. Van Hoecke seconded. All voted aye.

ADJOURNED MEETING AT 6:00 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane K. Clay, M.M.C.

City Clerk

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