By PHYLLIS ZORN
The question whether city funds should be spent on Chingawassa Festival buttons for employees who won’t use them sparked discussion at Monday’s city council meeting.
Mayor Todd Heitschmidt questioned buying buttons for police officers who are admitted free anyway before council members ultimately voted to purchase employee buttons.
Heitschmidt asked if police officers enter the festival free whether they are on or off duty, and committee member Clayton Garnica said they do.
Heitschmidt answered that he doesn’t like buying for all employees when police officers give the buttons away.
Heitschmidt asked whether others also get free admission. Parks and recreation director Margo Yates said festival committee members do.
Heitschmidt said he didn’t agree with buying buttons for people who get in free anyway.
Yates answered that treating different groups of employees differently would probably result in questions to council members.
“As long as the council knows we’re giving the police department officers a button and they’re giving it away, I’m OK with that,” Heitschmidt said.
The council approved a beer garden for this year’s Chingawassa with a restriction that nobody under 21 can enter the area.
Proposed increases in planning and zoning fees got a first review at the meeting.
Conditional use, rezoning, variance, and zoning appeals would have a $125 fee for residential properties. For commercial or governmental properties, the application fees would be one percent of the valuation with a minimum of $500 for conditional use, rezoning and variance permits, and a $250 minimum for zoning appeals.
If council members approve the changes, they will go into effect June 1.
In other matters, council members:
- Heard an annual audit report from Jan Nolde of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd;
- Held a follow-up discussion on acquiring dilapidated properties;
- Voted to approve receiving paperwork from a USDA Rural Development Grant for purchase of 80MHz radios;
- Approved city administrator Roger Holter to attend the Kansas Municipal Utilities conference; and
- Held an executive session to discuss acquisition of property with no action taken after the session.