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McLouth Council approves purchase of radio repeater

The Oskaloosa Independent of Oskaloosa, Kansas

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The acquisition of a new radio repeater for use by both the Fire Department and Jefferson County Fire Department No. 9 was authorized by the McLouth City Council when it met the evening of Aug. 18 at the fire station.

According to the unofficial minutes of the meeting, Mayor Keith Meador, who doubles as the city's fire chief, talked about the problems the city has been experiencing with the repeater and told council members Jim Moore, Don Nowak, Scott Weissenbach, George Bowen and Dixie Jones that it would cost $1,408 to repair the unit. He said a new repeater could be obtained for $1,735 and a battery backup for it for $185, bringing the total cost to $1,920.

Entering the discussion, Moore indicated that Union Township, the township served by Fire Department No. 9, was willing to split the expense of a new repeater with the city.

The city's share of the tab, $960, will be met with funds from the Fire Equipment Fund and the gas, water and sewer funds, according to the minutes.

Meador informed the council that Steven Peters, a volunteer firefighter with the city's Fire Department, had been attending various training sessions and was interested in going to the fire academy for additional training. He said Fire Department No. 9 was willing to absorb the cost of Peters' trip to the academy but wanted the city to pay for his lodging, which will involve multiple nights.

On a 5-0 vote, the council agreed to spend $650 to cover Peters' lodging.

Angie Coulter appeared before the council to ask why local farmers are not allowed to use all-terrain vehicles in town. Meador replied that the State of Kansas prohibits ATVs on the highways (both K-16 and K-92 pass through McLouth) and a discussion ensued.

Pete Glasser, assistant city attorney, indicated to the council that he would review the state statutes pertaining to ATVs and provide a report on his findings later. The matter is to be taken up at the council's next meeting, p.m which is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15, Moore asked Glasser about the status of the former nursing home located at 106 E. Cynthia. The assistant city attorney replied by saying he thought the city was in a position to start soliciting bids on the demolition of the structure.

Glasser informed the council that he and the other attorneys who collectively handle the city's legal work were in the process of correcting typographical errors in the zoning code book and would return it to the city as soon as possible.

Discussed at some length was the blocking of the sidewalk in the 200 block of South Union Street by Jerry Hullinger of 207 S. Union (see picture). Moore made a motion that Hullinger be given 60 days to complete the project underway at that location, but the motion was later withdrawn. The possibility of creating a temporary sidewalk that would extend out into the street was mentioned at one point, so Glasser will be looking into the legality of such a sidewalk prior to the council's next meeting.

Chief of Police Marcus Koch, charged with the task of enforcing the city's codes, also participated in the discussion. He will be visiting with representatives of a nearby day care center about the situation.

A copy of the Police Department's Activity Report for July was made available to the paper for publication late last week. It shows that Koch and his fellow officers handled 42 calls for service and were involved in 11 criminal investigations. Of those calls, six pertained to code enforcement and 13 to animal control.

According to the report, officers made two arrests and issued nine citations and 12 warnings.

Nowak expressed concerns about the appearance of a trailer located near the intersection of French and Union streets and the appearance of the former lumber yard along North Union Street.

Utility Superintendent Gary Tullis reported that he had met with officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation to talk about the condition of the ditch near Casey's General Store and the Ballard Patterson residence. He said KDOT promised him that the ditch would be cleaned up before the month was through.

Tullis informed the council that two gas service leaks had developed and were subsequently fixed.

The council was advised by Tullis that the school crosswalks along K-16 had been painted.

The utility superintendent was asked about maintenance worker Wil Rodriguez's progress and was able to report that he had successfully completed the Water II operator's certification class and had also become qualified to work with gas distribution systems.

City Clerk Kim Everley informed the council that because Rodriguez had passed the class and received his gas qualification, too, he was given a raise amounting to $1.50 an hour. Passing the class was worth $1 an hour more, obtaining the gas qualification another 50 cents.

Everley told the council that mosquitoes were a big problem in her neighborhood and mentioned a nearby junkyard that, at least in her mind, could be contributing to the problem. Meador said he would be visiting with the junkyard's owner.

Tullis said he would be contacting area fertilizer companies and Jefferson County officials in an effort to identify possible options for dealing with the problem.

Acting on a recommendation made by Courter, a member of the Library Board, the council OKd the appointment of Julie DePriest, Lara Beach and Monte Sheets to seats on the board. The vote was unanimous.

DePriest, Beach and Sheets will be filling unexpired terms on the board.

On a 5-0 vote, the council gave the city clerk permission to attend the Municipal Users' Symposium Sept. 16 and 17 in Wichita so she can express her views on the CIC software she is using in her office and make suggestions for improving it. CIC stands for Computer Information Concepts.

On a 5-0 vote, the council officially approved the proposed 2016 budget, which was the subject of a required public hearing held the evening of Aug. 11. The budget gives the city the authority to spend as much as $1,784,840 next year. A copy of the budget was published in the July 30 issue of the paper.

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Original Publication Date: August 27, 2015

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