City of McLouth hopes ordinance will eliminate future confusion

Some information given at a city of McLouth special meeting last month by a local attorney has caused some confusion.

At the regular McLouth City Council meeting on Aug. 3, City Attorney Carol Bonebrake informed the council that a state statute cited by attorney Mike Hayes had nothing to do with the matter at hand concerning a water line project the city was engaging in.

Last month the council voted unanimously to approve the bid of Monarch Pipeline to replace a four-inch water line on east Cynthia Street.

Monarch Pipeline was not the lowest bidder out of 13 contractors that submitted sealed bids. Daniels Excavating, another local contractor, was the lowest bidder by about $1,400 on a total project that costs more than $65,000.

At the time, the council noted experience as the reason for selecting Monarch. City Administrator Carl Chalfant said that Monarch had performed at least 10 large water line projects for the city. Chalfant considers the Cynthia Street project a large project. Chalfant said although Daniels had performed work for the city, the company had not done a project of this size.

A week later Daniels Excavating owner, Brant Daniels, attended a special meeting in McLouth with Hayes joining him as his attorney.

Hayes recited some passages from Kansas Statute that he said applied to the city of McLouth. Some key phrases Hayes used were, “the word shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder by Kansas Statute” and that the project was more than $2,500.

Hayes went on to read some other passages from the statute he was relying on.

Councilwoman Barbara Hasemeier asked Hayes what state statute he was relying on.

Hayes referred to statute 12-2828 or also know as the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act. The statute applies only to the city of Topeka and more specifically only applies to the Topeka Transit Authority. There is no state statute that requires a city such as McLouth to conform to the regulations Hayes cited.

Bonebrake reported the news to the council last Tuesday

“He correctly cited the statute but what he didn’t tell you is that it only applies to the city of Topeka,” Bonebrake told council members.

When asked about the situation Bonebrake expressed some concern.

However, last week Hayes told the Independent that in addition to that state statute he had a Kansas Appellate Court decision from 2003 that rules that third class cities must follow Kansas Statute KSA 13-1017 that applies to first class cities when dealing with contracts that must be put out for sealed bids.

Bonebrake said the city is currently working on a purchasing and bid procedure ordinance that could be approved soon.

The issue the city faced with this project will be addressed in the ordinance with the hope of eliminating any future confusion.

by Dennis Sharkey

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Posted by on Aug 22 2010. Filed under McLouth, Municipalities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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