Financing projects next on Valley Falls agenda

by Clarke Davis

The recession has cost the city of Valley Falls $80,500 in lost valuation, administrator Chris Channell told the mayor and council when they met July 6.

Channell had just received the estimated figures from the county that will be used to establish next year’s budget. The lower valuation figure will mean a loss of $3,010 in ad valorem tax revenue if the council does not raise the mill levy.

Mayor Charles Stutesman made it pretty clear that he thought the city can absorb the loss of revenue without increasing the levy, something he does not want to do.

The mayor has called for a work session to deal with finances on July 27 and the 28th if another night is needed. A Kansas City firm has scheduled a financial counselor to be present at the July 20 meeting to advise the council members in municipal finance.

Projects that need financed are the water, sewer, and streets to bring housing to the Barnes Subdivision and improvements at the waste water treatment lagoons. Should officials decide to use bonds to finance these projects, they might add the cost of the new city hall and improvements to south Linn Street.

The first phase for the subdivision will be rerouting some water lines so that more of the town is fed water from the south water tower. The estimated cost is $172,000 for this phase plus $649,000 for streets and sewer in the east portion of the subdivision.

New pumps and improvements to the dry well at the lagoons is estimated to cost $312,000. However, adding more extensive work suggested by the engineers to upgrade the entire complex would cost a total of $1.2 million.

Channell thinks there might be some grant money available for the sewer project through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The city’s debt is currently $268,000 from upgrading the water plant.

While the valuation figures were down, Channell noted that the motor vehicle tax and sales tax collections are both up somewhat.

The council approved the purchase of body armour for Police Chief Josh Pence at a cost of $625 and the purchase of a new shotgun for $450.

Pence said the city’s shotgun dated back to the earliest days when Gordon Bledsoe was the chief. He said one has to use a mallet to pound the reloading mechanism open to load it and he has his doubts about the gun’s safety. He said he would replace the ammunition also, since the old shells were corroded and had turned green.

The mayor also believes the city will soon be in need of additional part-time officers and will continue advertising for additional help.

Chickens are going to be allowed at 1706 Oak Street. Sylvia Woodgate made the request that was approved by a 2-0-1 vote after being told that no neighbor had objected. Lucy Thomas and Jo Tichenor voted in favor and Shawn Jepson abstained. At the last meeting, two horses were allowed at 9th and Linn requested by Cinda Hazelwood and a 4-H lamb for Cylus Tichenor on south Frazier.

Channell told the council that he had been asked by an out-of-town firm if the city had any licensing requirements to do work in town. He thought someone had hired them to do some roof repair.

The administrator noted that the last time the ordinances were updated there appears to be a requirement for all businesses — even those in town — to be licensed, which the city has never enforced. He advised the officials that maybe the ordinances should be changed to do away with the requirement, however, he thought it was not a bad idea for the city to require certain out-of-town businesses to be insured and bonded. The Green River Ordinance is in effect that requires door-to-door salespeople to have a city permit.

Poorly kept properties were discussed and city employees had created a list of properties that need attention although there have not been any complaints.

Most were lawns that had not been mowed and the mayor asked that letters be sent to the owners. A couple of dilapidated houses are scheduled to be razed soon.

Pool manager Shirley Allen requested an additional aide be hired to assist with swimming lessons. She said there are more “special needs” children at the pool this year that need extra attention.

“We want to accommodate each child,” Allen said.

The request was approved.

Mike Hahn and Todd Harrington were absent.

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Posted by on Jul 18 2011. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Valley Falls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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