City commission recap Nov. 4

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By Teri L. Hansen

Managing Editor

The McPherson City Commission met Monday morning for regular session and here is what you need to know:

Community Event

Commissioners approved the 2019 McPherson County Toy Run to be held from noon to 8 p.m. on Nov. 30 beginning at Walmart, 205 Centennial Drive and ending at the McPherson American Legion Post No. 24, 401 N. Main St.

Motorcycle riders and community people come together to support this event and ride in a parade to help support less fortunate families in McPherson County.  Gifts for children are collected and money is raised to purchase gifts for the older children, as well.  In previous years, hundreds of families in the County have been helped,” McPherson American Legion Post No. 24 Adjutant Dan Hervey said. “This will be the 32nd year.”

The route will be the same as previous years: North on Centennial Drive to 1st Street, west on 1st Street to MainStreet, south on Main Street to Avenue A, west on Avenue A to 81 Highway Bypass, north on the bypass to 1st Street, east on 1st Street to Main Street, south on Main Street to the American Legion.

Building Inspection

Permits are down by 24% this year as compared to last year at this time, with 650 in 2018 versus the 494 now. The year-to-date cost comparison is also down from $70,348,871 in October 2018, to $26,565,152 now. Current projects in the area include Disability Supports, Viega Racking System Building, Best Western Plus and Scooter’s Coffee.

Fire Department

On Oct. 21, the McPherson Fire Department received a call for service for a fire at the landfill. The fire was very deep-seated and required the use of firefighting foam to bring it under control. A total of 20 pails of foam was used, replacement foam is $111 per pail plus shipping costs for a total of $2,490.

Commissioners approved the new firefighter/paramedic job description and wage scale. Fire department incidents are requiring a higher level medical training of our personnel. Currently, the department is trained to a basic life support level. The addition of a paramedic will allow the department to become advanced life support.

The commission also accepted the resignation of paid call Firefighter Adam Kuluva who has a conflict with his primary job.

Police Department

McPherson Chief of Police Mikel Golden officially presented Administrative Lt. Stacy Snyder to the commission.

Public Lands and Facilities Department

The commission approved the travel expenses for $730.50 for TCGC Operations Superintendent Jason Buschbom and Assistant Grounds Superintendent Nathan Miller, to attend the Kansas Turf Grass Conference in Manhattan, Kansas.

Several changes are being made to the requirements and fees associated with tree pruning, treatment and removal. Specifically changes on how arborists will acquire a city license for tree care by removing the exam requirement.  Instead of taking an exam, arborists seeking a city license will need to show proof of certifications through the Kansas Arborists Association, International Society of Arboriculture, or Tree Care Industry of America. Also, it removes the requirement of a City license to prune shrubs or transplant trees.  An exemption was made allowing contractors to remove trees in the right of way for the City of McPherson without the requirement of a license. All changes have been discussed both in a public meeting involving licensed arborists, tree trimmers, and tree treaters, held on July 8, as well as past study sessions. The changes are being made in an effort to improve tree care practices within our community while allowing contractors working on street improvement projects to be more efficient.

Public Works

Commissioners approved the following flag schedule:

May 8, All Schools Day, United States/Welcome Flags

May 25, Memorial Day, United States Flags

June 14, Flag Day, United States Flags

July 4, Independence Day, United States Flags

Aug. 7 and 8, Class Reunion Weekend, Welcome Flags

Sept. 7, Labor Day, United States Flags

Oct. 3, Kansas Barn Sale, Welcome Flags

Nov. 11, Veterans day, United States Flags

Back in June the CCLIP application to improve the intersection of Kansas Avenue and 81 Bypass was selected for funding.  The City will receive up to $1,000,000 to remove and replace deteriorated pavement, look for safety improvements for the intersection and determine if this intersection warrants a traffic signal.  If the intersection warrants a traffic signal, the grant will fund the installation.   This grant is a 90/10 split for the cost of design, construction and inspection of this project.  The city will pay 10%, plus any amount over $1.1 million.

Initially, the payment method for the retaining wall for the Hulse Area Drainage Project was based on square feet of exposed wall.  After reconsideration to avoid a contractor having to guess at how much block was below the channel lining or get short-changed on the manufactures recommendations of amount of buried block, they will pay for square feet of front face of block, which was above and below grade.  Changing the way the retaining wall block was bid assures a contractor that he will get paid what is put in and the city gets the manufacturers recommendations followed. This increase amounts to $144,192.

The sanitary sewer work on Grand Avenue is complete on the Hartup-Elizabeth Street Reconstruction and the Hartup-Grand Community Sewer Project. Final preparations were made last week to get ready to place the pavement and curb and gutter.  Hartup Street (Avenue A to Hancock Street) is closed to through-traffic with local access from both Avenue A and Hancock Street, local traffic can also access Hartup from Sietz.  Through traffic on Hartup is detoured onto Park Street.  The south side of Hancock and Grand intersection is closed to complete pavement patching. Hartup Street is closed from Kansas Avenue north to Marlin Street.

The contractor worked on the storm sewer along Grimes Street between 1st Street and Loomis on the Grimes/Anna Street Reconstruction Project. We will hopefully see some concrete pavement and curb and gutter placed this week. Anna Street is closed from North High Drive to Grimes Street.   Grimes Street is closed from 1st Street to Loomis Street.

The base of the box culvert at Hulse Street/North High Drive was placed last week on the Hulse Area Drainage Project. 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.

The construction entrance for the detour of Plaza East Drive was placed this past week.  We are working through various utility issues. The fence at Orschlen’s was temporarily relocated to accommodate detour traffic during the first two phases of construction. The intersection of Plaza East Drive (formally a private drive) and Champlin Street is scheduled to be closed early this week.

Administrative Report

Commissioners approved the payment to The Phone Connection for $1,471, and the purchase of an analog phone card for  $134.63, all for the Community Building.
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