The Abilene City Commission met yesterday afternoon for their first meeting of the month. They discussed six agenda items. Marcus Rothchild, city finance director, also publicly announced his departure from city staff for the finance director position at Dickinson County.
To begin the meeting, the commission then saw a presentation on the city of Abilene’s financial statement from Varney & Associates’ April Swartz. The company concluded their audit of the city two weeks ago.
The commission then considered a resolution to create two Ad Hoc committees, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and the Sports Complex Task Force.
The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee will focus giving guidance and advice to the plan development company creating the city’s comprehensive plan, according to the agenda document. They will also aid the company in communicating with the community about the plan and their process.
For the Sports Complex Task Force, the commission vote will be to establish the already-formed task force of community members as an official committee.
“So far, they they’ve done a pretty good job, but they seem to be floundering at times, through no fault of their own,” said Ron Marsh, city manager. “This will give them some legitimacy and allow you to give good direction as to what you want to see as far as moving forward on the sports complex.”
Marsh said city staff will present candidates for appointments for positions in the committees in a future meeting.
Mayor Dee Marshall said she thought the idea of establishing these two committees was a good idea.
Trevor Witt, vice-mayor, said he wanted the staff of the Recreation Commission be involved with the Sports Complex Task Force. He also wanted a community youth member to serve on the committee. Marsh said one staff member of the Recreation Commission is a part of the task force currently.
The commission then considered approving purchasing a new 250-kilowatt generator for the Water Treatment Plant. The generator will replace the 1975 stationary generator originally used in the Waste Water Treatment Plant used in emergencies for the plant. The city has four bids for a generator. Accurate Electric of Salina submitted bids for a Caterpillar unit for $115,900, MTU unit for $106,700 and Cummins unit for $117,150. Central Mechanical Construction of Manhattan submitted a bid for a MTU unit for $103,900. Foley Equipment of Wichita submitted a bid for a Caterpillar unit for $99,673. Linder Electric of Abilene submitted a bid for a MTU unit for $79,704.50 City staff recommends the bid from Linder Electric.
The proposed purchase of the generator was proposed in the 2022 capital improvement plan. The city estimated generator’s cost at $75,000 when the purchase was included in early 2021.
“It’s amazing how close you came to your estimate of what your came in at to what the actual bid was. Because prices are so wild right now, being within $5,000 of that is pretty darn good,” Marshall said to Lon Schrader, Public Works Department director.
Wendy Miller, commissioner, asked what the difference between the Caterpillar and MTU units. Schrader said they are not much different.
The commission then considered approving of concrete street repairs. The repairs include paving that includes gutter and curb, sidewalks, disability ramps and valley gutter. The city received three bids, Lancaster Construction of Salina for $58,463.85, Hutton Corporation of McPherson for $139,054.28 and T & M Concrete Contractors of Chapman for $50,667.30. Staff recommends T & M Concrete Contractors‘ bid. Due to a miscalculation of a couple of materials, the bid for T & M Concrete Contractors listed in the agenda is incorrect, Schrader said. The correct number is $51,066.14, increased by $398.84. The city estimated the cost at $67,550.
The commission then considered approval of the longevity pay for city staff for this year. 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.
During Monday afternoon, Shayla Mohr, city clerk, discovered that the Federal Department of Labor requires the city to use longevity pay in the calculation for overtime.
“It sounds like most cities and counties don’t do it the correct way. Since I’ve been on the phone with a lady from the Federal Department of Labor a couple of different times, she’s explained how it should be figured,” Mohr said. “I’ve made a spreadsheet for this year and figured out the most at this point in time is like $30 more for one employee.”
Marsh said the city may give out the pay overtime as opposed to one lump sum.
Marcus Rothchild, city finance director, then announced he accepted the position of finance director for Dickinson County. His last day will be around Dec. 22.
“Working for the city for the last seven and a half years has been an extremely rewarding opportunity, and it’s been great working with everybody,” Rothchild said. “I’m looking forward to continuing this relationship, just in a partnership type of status, as we work with the city moving forward.”
Marshall commended Rothchild for his work in his current position.
“I have really enjoyed working with you. I’ve watched you grow in your position. We’ve been on about the same amount of time. I admire your integrity, your honesty and your willingness to help everybody,” Marshall said.