City Commission Recap Dec. 16


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

Fire Department

A budgeted sum of $40,000 has been transferred from the the Fire Department budget to Consolidated Streets and Highway fund for the parking lot project to be completed in the spring of 2020.

“We budgeted the replacement of the parking lot in 2019 in the Fire Department budget,” McPherson Fire Department Chief TJ Wyssmann said. “The Street Department plans on completing the work in sections as weather and time allows after approval in 2020.”

On Jan. 10, 2019, the McPherson Fire Department received a call for service regarding an explosion that occurred in the 500 block of West Hayes Street in McPherson at Chemstar.  The facility sustained a multi-million dollar loss due to this explosion. The fire and explosion investigation has been closed.

The National Fire Protection Association has flagged this incident for the 2019 Large Loss Fire Report for the 2020 NFPA Journal which will contain an in-depth study of United States large-loss fires. In 2018, fire loss nationwide was $12.91 billion, which tops the 2001 fire loss that included the Sept. 11 attacks. All information submitted to the NFPA will be retained in their files, considered confidential, and will not be released without our permission.

The fire department rescue apparatus does not have the required equipment to fill breathing air bottles on scenes. This has caused difficulties on incidents that are rural. The department has a limited number of air cylinders and once empty the cylinders must be loaded in a utility vehicle and returned to the station to refill. The crews can no longer continue operations until the air cylinders have arrived back on scene. This is problematic for continuous fire ground operations. The previous rescue apparatus was outfitted with this equipment however the current rescue does not have this equipment.

Commissioners approved a motion to add a SCBA cylinder fill station to Rescue 1 for refilling breathing air cylinders. Breathing Air Systems can supply the equipment compatible with the current Bauer Compressor for $11,430.

Engine 3 would not go into pump gear. The apparatus was taken to Hays Fire and Rescue Sales and Service for diagnostics and repair. They found problems with the gears in the pump transfer case, which takes the apparatus out of road gear and into pump gear. Repairs were made to the transfer case and the apparatus has been returned to service for a cost of $2,787.57.

The Kansas Forestry Department has surplus equipment available to fire departments within the State. The equipment is military surplus equipment and has very little use on it. The fire department is working to finalize the Firewise program for the area they protect. This tool will allow the residents access to heavy equipment to remove any potential fuel sources that could ignite and spread to their structures in a wildfire incident.

This program will be part of the McPherson Fire Department’s overall Community Risk Reduction plan for the city and protected areas. This will also be a deployable asset that could deploy for assistance to the region.

Police Department

Commissioners approved payment to Caliber Public Safety for the installation of server software on the new police department shared server for $900. In addition another $4,183.20 was approved for the purchase of 42 Microsoft Office 365 Business licenses for the department from Reach Solutions Inc.

Unit #26 sustained front end damage when the vehicle was involved in a collision with a no parking sign on Dec. 5, that will be repaired by Koehn’s Body Shop for $2,835.43.
Public Lands and Facilities
Stockham Family Funeral Home removed, engraved, and re-installed a monument at the McPherson Cemetery for $1,135.
Planning and Zoning

Central Christian College Men and Women’s Wrestling has asked to develop the new CCC Wrestling Center in 2 phases. Deputy Chief Darby has requested that the Knoxbox, for emergency access by the fire department, be placed as close to the main entrance as possible and that the fire extinguisher located in the activity area be placed in a more central area instead of at the exit door, as was originally planned. At this time, life safety issues and final plans detailing the Phases are complete. The city commission supported a temporary exception to the restroom requirement, so a conditional CO was granted that sunsets on Sept. 1, 2020, when start of the school year activities will have largely ceased.

Public Works

Don Bickford and Peter Kaberline hav completed the requirements and has time served to become an Equipment Operator II.  This is a non-competitive promotion, effective Dec.16. 

The main shaft of the centrifuge is leaking oil and getting progressively worse.  The seals on the main shaft need to be replaced.  The centrifuge is a $500,000 piece of equipment.  During startup, when the centrifuge was new, the company strongly encouraged a company technician to do the replacement of the seals the first time.  The Waste Water Treatment Facility employees will help with the work and possibly video the work for later reference. GEA Westfalia will complete the work for $14,411.14.

Two quotes to spread bio-solids produced by the Waste Water Treatment Facility have been recieved.  The lowest quote was from Sunflower Ag Enterprises at $7.70/ton.  There is an estimated 1,200 tons to spread.

Public works recently had a failure of one of the radio units at lift station number six.  These radio units trigger the alarms when there is a malfunction at the lift station.  We like to keep two radio units in stock for replacement purposes.  Integrated Controls out of Olathe repaired the units for $4,506.

Eagles Wings Unit Two (Phase II) has had multiple change orders to include the Earles Engineering Inspection Contract for the inspection services for a contract reduction of $78,510.99. After further review, it was found that the sanitary sewer SSD 166C inspection was included in the street inspection costs.  The Eagles Wings Unit Two (Phase I) project is complete and final.  The inspection services totaled $13,874.45, which was $1,006.23 under the original estimate.  The sanitary sewer project for Eagles Wings Unit Two (Phase II) project is complete and final.  The inspection services totaled $3,256.26, which was $40,157.76 under the original estimate.

The property owners along the south side of Plaza East Place donated easement for temporary access during construction, across the existing parking lots.  Orscheln’s outdoor storage had to be reduced to allow room for the detour.  The original agreement with the property owner and Orscheln’s was to permanently relocate the fence as part of the project far enough back from the new street to allow space for the temporary detour.  When the local Orscheln’s manager saw how much the outdoor storage was reduced, he requested the fence be moved back to the edge of the easement after Phase II of the construction.  Public works agreed to install the permanent fence at the edge of the easement after Phase II of the construction project was completed, which will result in an increase of plan quantity of fence and create the need for a temporary fence.  The property owner, Cedar Hills Realty, agreed to bear the cost of the temporary fence and asked that the city facilitate the installation. Adjusting the original plan quantity resulted in a total cost of $3,286.43 to complete this work.

No work was accomplished on on the Hartup-Elizabeth Street Reconstruction Project again last week.  The contractor is holding off on any further removals at this time due to the potential of upcoming seasonal weather. They want to make sure they can cover all the removals they have in the city before the weather turns too cold. 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 Street from Seitz Street.  Through-traffic on Hartup Street is detoured onto Park Street.

The contractor completed the work on the storm sewer along Grimes Street between 1st Street and Loomis Street on the Grimes/Anna Street Reconstruction Project.  Pavement was placed on Anna Street from North High Drive to between Barber and Wheeler Streets.  Driveways, entrances and sidewalk are completed in this area.  Storm sewer was constructed in the Loomis intersection.  Work continued on the base from Grimes Street to Wheeler Street. Anna Street remains closed from North High Drive to Grimes Street.  Grimes Street is closed from 1st Street to Loomis Street.  Loomis Street is closed from the east side of Grimes Street to the west side of Wheeler Street.

Grading and base construction was completed on the Hulse/North High Drive Intersection on the Hulse Area Drainage Project.  Curb and gutter and paving are under way. 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 another week while the concrete work is finished and has some time to cure.  We are planning to fill the pavement joints with backer rod and open the intersection next week.  As always, this is dependent on weather.   The intersection will have to closed down a second time in order to widen the joints and seal when the weather is more favorable.

All Phase II pavement was removed on the Plaza East Place Street Construction Project.  Work continues on the final grading.  We hope to place some base rock early this week. The intersection of Plaza East Drive (formally a private drive) and Champlin Street is closed.


In last week’s study session, the Calendar of Events for the General Obligation Renewal Temporary Notes Series A 2020 was presented.  The General Obligation Renewal Temporary Notes Series A 2020 will extend the General Obligation Temporary Notes Series A 2019 for $670,000, maturing Feb. 1, 2020, until August 2020, when the permanent financing will be issued.  This financed the Eagles Wings Phase I and II sanitary sewer and street projects.  The commission to adopted the Sale Resolution which has been reviewed and approved by the city’s legal counsel, Jeff Houston.

Current regulations pertaining to required fire lines and backflow prevention have been modified.  Section (d) is where the modification occurs and the changes generally effect required metering and flow detection on all fire lines.


According to the Purchasing Policy dated Feb. 11, 2008, the city governing body determines the level of expenditure for each department by adoption of the annual budget.  They take no further action with the exception of approving expenditures of $1,000 or more.  The Community Building will be exempt from this policy for events.  The city is requiring all event catering to be paid for by the city to help reach the alcoholic liquor license requirement of not less than 30% of gross sales which must be in food sales. The catering will then be charged back to the party hosting the event.

The Emergency Solutions Grant is funded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and is administered by the city for the benefit of McPherson Housing Coalition for their homeless prevention programs and activities.

Rehabilitation work was completed at 1141 N. Wheeler St. and 1016 N. Ash St. last week and the city received Payment Request No. 11 for the 2018 Community Development Block Grant Housing Rehabilitation and Demolition Project.  This pay request includes payment to Arambula Construction for work completed at 1141 N. Wheeler in the amount of $20,038 for the completion of rehabilitation work on Wheeler and payment to SCKEDD in the amount of $763 for related inspection services and mortgage fees. This pay request also includes payment to DH Home Improvement for work completed at  Wheeler for $23,850 and for the completion of rehabilitation work at Ash Street and payment to SCKEDD of $763 for related inspection services and mortgage fees and $5,700 which represents the landlords 25% match on the project.

To date, with this request, $205,542.25 has been expended of the total $300,000.00 in grant funds.  One home and two duplex unites being rehabilitated are under contract but not yet completed.  All work is expected to be completed by no later than Jan. 3.

When accepting bids on 915-917 N. Barber Street as part of the 2018 Community Development Block Grant Housing Program, additional change orders were expected.  An additional $3,175 for a deck replacement at 915 N. Barber St.  The property owner will be responsible for $793.75 of the proposed order to 915 N. Barber St.  The addition of the deck is not expected to affect the completion date of Jan. 3, 2020.

The city belongs to Kansas League of Municipalities which provides policy and legislative support to cities across the State of Kansas.  The annual membership dues for 2020 are $6,956.36.

The commission authorized the write-offs of uncollectible utility bills. All bills are from 2018 to be written off in 2019. The total to be written off for each utility is as follows:

Sanitary Sewer $3,238.69

Trash $2,752.86

Stormwater $1,413.45

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