City news

The Abilene City Commission reviewed at Monday’s study session a bid for audio and video equipment for the Abilene Public Library which will eventually allow for the recording and replay of meetings.

Solid Rock Audio Video, operated by Cory Frey of Abilene, presented a bid of $82,652.

Finance Director Marcus Rothchild said it was the lowest of two bids received, the other being $140,000.

“If we get to that point (to record and replay meetings), we’ll have the equipment and it will be close to being turnkey,” he said.

He said the audio/video equipment can also benefit the non-profit groups that utilize the second floor of the Carnegie and Jordan rooms in the library for meetings and conferences.

The proposed budget has $100,000 allotted for the audio/video equipment and installation. Rothchild said funding for the equipment is from the library/Abilene City Pool special sales tax which was unused.

The 0.35 percent tax ended in June 2018.

Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Julie Roller said that the city’s new web page should be up and running by the end of the year and have the ability to show the YouTube videos.


Commission Chris Ostermann said that the mayor failed to conduct last week’s meeting correctly.

After a motion and a second was made to deny the vacation of two city streets, discussion among the commissioners was not allowed by Mayor Tim Shafer.

“Without a discussion prior to this vote, this prevented the right that everyone is heard. It’s called Democracy,” she said.

Flint Hills Grain requested the closing of Southwest Second Street west of Walnut, Elm Street from First Street to Second Street and an alleyway going down the property.

“One of Abilene’s top employers requested a vacated street for safety reasons, and had a petition signed by the public who probably don’t even travel that road. It’s an embarrassment. I think a business that brings people, one of the top employers, has a question about safety and we don’t even address it, but rubber stamps approval that they cannot close the streets is not fair to that company.”

Commissioner Dee Marshall said discussion would not have changed her vote.

“He did neglect discussion. I would agree with that,” Marshall said. “It wouldn’t have changed my vote.”

She said one of Dickinson County’s largest farmers said there were no problems.

“He said I’m in and out of there in four minutes,” Marshall said.

Commission Trevor Witt who did not attend last week’s meeting, said the traffic study showed less than 10 percent of the traffic being trucks.

Interim City Manager Jane Foltz said a process was followed.

Both Witt and Commissioner Sharon Petersen were absent. The commission voted 2-1 to deny the vacation with Ostermann being the dissenting vote.

Eighth Street

Foltz reported that the city has started eminent domain procedures with a property owner on Van Buren for right-of-way land for the Eighth Street project.

Vin Diest Supply Co, Webster City, Iowa, . which owns owns the land located at 800 N. Washington Street has agreed to sell.

The city is preparing a $2 million expansion of Eighth Street from Washington Street to Van Buren.

Eminent domain is a process for the government to take possession of private property for public use with payment of compensation.


Public Works Director Lon Schrader reported that test drilling for another public water supply has been ongoing.

“We are still testing but we found an area that seems promising,” he said.

The test drilling is being conducted by Sargent Drilling of Salina.

Schrader said he is requesting approval of $32,610 for the initial phases of the well exploration.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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