The Abilene City Commission met for a city regular meeting yesterday afternoon. The commission approved all five resolutions.
To start, the commission approved the resolution to accept the Varney and Associates audit of the city’s 2021 financial statements. A co-owner of the firm gave a presentation of the audit last week during the city’s study session.
The audit can be found in the agenda documents. The version in this meeting’s agenda contains a correction to the interest rate of the lease purchase items on page 10 of the audit, said Ron Marsh, city manager.
The commission then approved the resolution to create the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. The committee is an ad hoc committee that will focus on giving guidance and advice to the plan development company creating the city’s comprehensive plan and engaging with the community in the process, according to the agenda document.
Marsh said this committee will report the planning commission and the city commission.
“Think of it as a bank loan officer that does the all the work in getting the information for loans,” Marsh said. “If someone wants to buy a house, they get the interest rates, the financials done and then present it to the bank officers for their approval. That’s similar to what the relationship between the planning commission and the city commission for this comprehensive plan.”
Another ad hoc committee, the commission voted to establish the already-formed Sports Complex Task Force as an official committee. Community members originally formed the committee. The city’s established purpose of the force will be to coordinate public and economic interests.
Marsh said city staff will recommend committee members for each established committee for appointment in a future meeting.
The commission then approved the purchase and installment of a new 250-kilowatt generator for the Water Treatment Plant. The new generator will replace the 1975 stationary generator originally used in the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The current generator is used for emergencies in the plant. The city approved the bid from Linder Electric of Abilene submitted a bid for a MTU unit for $79,704.50.
Brandon Rein, commissioner, asked if the contract with Linder Electric had a timeline. Lon Schrader said the contract does have a timeline.
The city then approved the bid from T & M Concrete Contractors for concrete street repairs. T & M’s bid is for $51,066.14. The repairs include paving that includes gutter and curb, sidewalks, disability ramps and valley gutter.
For the final item, the commission approved the longevity pay proposed by city staff. According to the pay scale, staff members between five and nine years of service will receive $200, between 10 and 14 years of service receive $400, between 15 and 19 years receive $600, between 20 and 24 years receive $800 and 25 years of service and over receive $1,000. The longevity pay budget for the 2022 budget is $20,600. The city will pay out $15,600 to employees this year. The scale can be found in the agenda documents.
Before the vote, Trevor Witt, city vice-mayor, said he would like to see longevity pay be transformed into a merit-based program eventually in future years. Rein agreed with Witt’s statement.
Marsh then gave a city manager report. As the public voted not to renew the 0.25 percent street maintenance tax, Marsh said the commission and city staff need to meet to discuss how the city should react and adjust to the vote’s result. The installation of the Abilene Senior Center’s new floors is finished. A new water fountain has been installed in the north end of the rose garden. The fountain was funded with Memorial Health System donations. The Public Works Department repaired a water valve at the intersection of 3rd Street and Cedar Street over last weekend. The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau received the Destination Awareness Campaign Award for the medium community marketing budgeting category at the Kansas Tourism Conference. The construction of the world’s largest belt buckle is almost complete. The buckle is expected to be unveiled in the middle of December. Replica normal-sized buckles are available to be purchased to raise funds for constructing the buckle. Lastly, Marsh announced Leann Johnson will be the city’s new city finance director, replacing Marcus Rothchild as he prepares to leave to work for Dickinson County.
Unless more agenda items appear, the city commission will not be meeting next Monday. The commission may meet earlier for their meeting Nov. 28.