What you need to know from the McPherson City Commission meeting

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By Teri L. Hansen

McPherson city commissioners met Tuesday morning for regular session and here is what you need to know:

McPherson Police Department

Commissioners approved the promotion of Lt. Jason Cummins to the position of patrol captain, effective Oct. 21. In addition, they approved a conditional job offer to retired Cpt. Kevin McKean for the position of McPherson Police Department operations captain, pending successful pre-employment requirements. This will also be effective Oct. 21. Commissioners also approved the modified job descriptions for both positions. Along with this an approval was granted to begin the hiring process for the police administrative lieutenant position.

Commissioners approved the purchase of new equipment for the department including 35 Point Blank Maverick ODC outer carriers with Aspetto buckles, 35 double magazine pouches, 35 cuff cases, 35 utility pouches, and 35 radio pouches from Galls Inc. for $12,685 and 12 bulletproof vests for $10,500.

“We currently have 12 officers with vests, Armor Express, that will not fit the new Point Blank Maverick ODC outer carriers. We are a part of the Office of Justice Program, Bulletproof Vest Partnership and are receiving grant money for vests purchased in 2017, 2018, and 2019 for an approximate amount of $6,500,” McPherson Police Chief Mikel Golden said in the written request to the commission. However, Assistant City Administrator Bo Moddelmog presented police department matters to the commission, as Golden was unable to attend.

A request was approved to purchase three short-sleeve and two long-sleeve polos for the 35 officers from Galls Inc. for $4,130.

“Initially, we were looking at T-shirts for an amount of $2,449.30, but decided to make a change to the outer carriers, saving $1,700.00 and allowing us to purchase professional polos for less than T-shirts,” Golden said.

Public Lands & Facilities

Commissioners approved the travel expenses to send City Forester Kody Kramer, to the Burr Oak Canyon Conference Oct. 17 and 18, in McCook, Nebraska for $550.

A motion was approved to pay Happy Repair, for mowing non-park properties during the months of August and September, for $3,616.75. It was explained that recent added responsibilities in non-park properties and wet weather created hardships on park staff.  It was necessary to evaluate the need for additional full-time staff or use contracted services.

Planning & Zoning

The area known as Plaza Drive or “The Plaza,” will officially be known as Plaza East Place, according to a motion approved by commissioners. This change will take effect June 1, 2020.

The Central Christian College Men’s and Women’s Wrestling teams are working on a new wrestling facility in which both teams will practice. The facility will be located at 414 W. Kansas Ave. The teams have raised an approximate $20,000 and have pledges in labor and equipment for another $10,000. This will facilitate the demolition of the former Tidy Laundromat building and building of the new facility. Commissioners agreed to waive the cost of the permits for the project.

Public Works

Public works determined that erosion control matting was needed at critical points along the drainage channel for the Eagles Wings Esates Unit 2 (Phase II) project.  A total of 694 square yards were required at a cost of $2.25 per square yard. Vogts-Parga will be paid $1,561.50. However the final contract amount for the project was reduced by $825.17.

Back in February, the commission granted access to Larson and Associates to install monitoring wells near 100 S. Maple St. in the right of way.  The monitoring wells are part of an environmental investigation that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has contracted with Larson and Associates to conduct regarding underground storage tanks in that location.   KDHE has now requested Larson and Associates to install seven additional monitoring wells.

Commissioners approved the hiring of  Earles Engineering & Inspection, Inc. to perform inspection on the Champlin Street Extension project for $60,667.70.

The sanitary sewer work on Grand Avenue started last week and should be completed early next week.

Hartup Street, from Avenue A to Hancock Street, is closed to through traffic with local access from both Avenue A and Hancock Street.  Through traffic on Hartup is detoured onto Park Street. Local traffic is able to access Hartup Street at Seitz Street.  Grand Street is closed to through traffic from Hancock to Elizabeth.

Anna Street is closed from North High Drive to Grimes Street.   Grimes Street is closed from 1st Street to Loomis Street. The contractor has been working on finish grading on Anna Street.  Concrete on drives and setting string line for curb and gutter is scheduled to start this week.

All concrete is placed on the Safe Routes To School project.  The retaining wall on Avenue B is complete.  The contractor is working on seeding and clean up items.

Not much work was accomplished on the Hartup Area Drainage Project, this past week due to the rain.

Myers Street is reduced to one lane.  The driveway remains closed between the Dillons and Tractor Supply parking lots.

 The intersection of North High Drive and Hulse Street is closed and will remain closed for several weeks.  The hope is to open it up before the end of the construction season.

Weekly construction updates, road closures and detours, and planned road closures and planned detours are available on the City’s website at www.mcpcity.com.

Administrative Report

Annually the various providers of public transportation services in McPherson and the surrounding area are required to make application to Kansas Department of Transportation for inclusion in federal grant funding for the various public transportation programs which are offered through the Kansas Department of Transportation.  The providers include McPherson County Council on Aging (Senior Center), Multi-Community Diversified Services, Disability Supports of the Great Plains and City of McPherson through their taxi voucher assistance program. Mayor Tom Brown signed the necessary documents to continue the programs.

After discussion with the various cab providers, there is a need to increase the reimbursement rate for taxi providers who administer the subsidized taxi services. Rising cost of insurance, gas, and other expenses coupled with declining services, has been a challenge. The reimbursement rate raised from $5 to $7, which is covered by city, state and federal programs. This change does not impact the rate to the customers, which will remain $2 per ticket, per ride for elderly and disabled and $4.50 per ticket, per ride for the general public.

In January 2018, the City of McPherson was awarded a Community Development Block Grant Block Grant for Housing Rehabilitation and Demolition. The grant required rehabilitation of 11 residential structures and demolition of two residential structures. The work has all been completed and there is still $44,000 left in the grant.

The city is seeking one or two homes to take advantage of the balance of funds in the rehabilitation grant.  This can include owner-occupied or rental-occupied units but the household must be within the low to moderate income category. The general borders of the target area are an area north of First Street, east of Main Street, south of Hulse Street, and west of Barber Street.

It you are interested in participating and think you meet the eligibility criteria, it is critical you reach out and let us know by no later than Oct. 24. Please contact City Administrator Nick Gregory, via email at nickg@mcpcity.com or by phone at 620-245-2535 for additional information.

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