For the second time in less than a year, a person will be appointed to the Abilene City Commission.

The resignation of Sharon Petersen was accepted on a 4-0 vote at the regular meeting of the Abilene City Commission on Monday.

Petersen was elected to a two-year term in the 2017 election. Her term will expire in January 2020. Petersen has not attended a city commission meeting or study session since March and she did not file for reelection.

In September 2018, Commission Terry Chaput submitted his resignation when he moved out of the city of Abilene. Commission Trevor Witt was appointed by Mayor Tim Shafter with approval of the commission to fill his unexpired 4-year term which ends in 2022.

The city commission will be accepting statements of interest to fill the vacancy until Aug. 23.

Statements may be second to the City Clerk Penny Soukup at City Hall, 419 N. Broadway or emailed to

The election for three positions on the city commission will be held on Nov. 5. The top two vote getters will be elected to 4-year terms and the next highest vote getter will receive a two-year term.

On the ballot are incumbents Timothy Shafer and Dee Marshall. Also on the ballot will be Phil Hamilton, Brandon Rein and William Hane.

In September when Chaput resigned 10 people showed an interest in filling that unexpired term.


The commission approved 4-0 the 2020 budget with a mill levy of 51.495, the same of 2019.

There were no comments from the public during the budget hearing Monday.

The approved budget shows a budget authority for expenditures at $15.6 million.

“The budget is a planning tool to ensure that the city has the resources available to provide the quality of life that is expected of a community,” said Finance Director Marcus Rothchild. “We still have a healthy cash reserve.”

He called it a “strong efficient budget.”

A 4.7 percent increase in the valuation of Dickinson County property gives the city an additional $131,665. Expenditures increased from $10.3 million to $15.6 million.

Property owners pay $1 for each $1,000 of assessed property valuation for each mill.

The budget includes a new fire engine, the Eighth Street expansion project and funds for safety and other improvements to the city building.

Interim City Manager Jane Foltz said those improvements to the building have started.

Water rates

The city commission approved on a 4-0 vote a water/sewer rate increase.

Abilene customers will see a 12.75 percent increase which is about a $4 a month increase for a home using 5,000 gallons per month. The estimated bill for a user at 5,000 gallons in 2019 is $30 a month. After the increase in 2020, the estimated bill would go to $33.83.

Rothchild said the plan is for an increase in rates over three years.

“After the third year we want to give back to the place where the water and sewer pay for itself,” he said.

The water and sewer rates will be reviewed every year, Foltz said.

The city also plans to meet with the Board of Directors with Rural Water District No. 2 which purchases water from the city to discuss a rate increase.

Historic sign

The commissioners agreed to request from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism a Cultural Interest Sign (the brown signs announcing places of interest) along Interstate 70 and Kansas Highway 15.

The Abilene Heritage Commission requested the sign for Abilene Downtown Historic District.

In 2009, the Abilene Downtown Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Kansas Historic Places.

If approved, the signs will be placed by the Kansas Department of Transportation at no cost the city of Abilene.

Consent agenda

The commission approved several items in the consent agenda:

• added electronic cigarettes (vaping) to its smoking code;

• approved an agreement with Van Diest for land acquisition and right-of-way deed for $15,956;

• approved $32,610 with Sargent Drilling of Salina for well development;

• approved $82,652.27 with Solid Rock Audio for audio/video equipment for the city commission meeting room;

• approved two patrol cars for the Abilene Police Department, a parks and recreation truck and one public works vehicle not to exceed $105,425.98.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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