Valley Falls hires two police officers
by Clarke Davis
The Valley Falls City Council offered a part-time law enforcement job to two officers when it met last Wednesday.
The council had interviewed candidates the previous Monday.
Offered jobs were Derek A. Charles, Topeka, and Joshua L. Pence, Meriden.
Police Chief Tammy Gross said both men are certified officers and experienced.
The opening occurred following the recent resignation of 10-year veteran officer Mark Isenberg.
Mayor Charles Stutesman and the council drew a consensus that they would use three part-time officers along with Chief Gross to cover the city instead of hiring another full-time officer. They believe they will get more police coverage for about the same amount of money.
Also on staff is part-time officer Cory Shields who will continue to serve the city approximately 16 hours a week. He has been with the police department for nine years. He will draw $13.75 an hour. The new officers will be paid $11 an hour.
Isenberg was costing the city close to $43,000 a year and the city estimates that the three part-time officers will run close to $38,000.
Administrator Chris Channell estimates the city will have $188,000 for an ending balance in the general fund come Dec. 31. On the advice of the city auditor, Channell said at least $100,000 is needed to be carried over the general fund leaving $88,000 to transfer to other funds.
The swimming pool fund will get $20,000, because that fund had a large shortfall this past year. The remaining $68,000 will be split, half going to the equipment reserve fund and half going to a new building fund.
The building fund will support the work going on at 417 Broadway, a business building that has deteriorated because of a bad roof and the city will attempt to save it along with further damage to neighboring buildings. The deed has been gifted to the city and work began last week to empty it of rubble and begin repairs.
The equipment reserve fund has a $57,000 balance. This fund will be used to finance a police car, upgrade the computer system, and buy other equipment purchases the council chooses. A backhoe for the street department has been discussed.
Repairs and replacement of the street sweeper might also be in the works. Channell said a citizen called to complain, saying the street was worse after the sweeper went down it than it was before.
Utilities superintendent Daryl Courter said the city paid $3,500 for the old sweeper 10 years ago.
“It doesn’t do very well, but we’re cussed if we do and cussed if we don’t,” Courter said.
He said it does pick up some of the leaves out of the gutter, that two or three truck loads had been hauled off.
Salary increases for next year was on the agenda, but delayed until next month. A sheet with current salaries and increases ranging from 2 percent to 6 percent were listed, but the council decided it needed more time in a closed evaluation session to tie increases to work performance rather than give blanket across the board raises. They also wanted more council members present.
City employees did not receive a raise last year.
In other business, the council:
- Approved a pit bull ordinance banning these dogs from the city.
- Approved a change in the snow ordinance, excluding a part of the 300 block on the north side to accommodate Mark’s Repair.
- Approved a 20-year franchise with the Kansas Gas Service, repeating the 5 percent fee on gross receipts.
Mike Hahn, Paul Burns, and Lucy Thomas were present. Tony Trower and Mark Boyce were absent.
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