Posts tagged with De Soto City Council

Council approves 2012 water and sewer rates, gives go ahead for jobs incubator

Good news for De Soto water and sewer customers, while water and sewer rates for 2012 will be increasing, the increase is lower than predicted.

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle proposed a rate increase of one percent for water rates and 4.8 percent for sewer rates, lower than the previously predicted need of five percent and 6.2 percent respectively.

"Both the water and sewer funds finally appear to be gaining traction so I'm comfortable our cash balances can handle the lower rate increases," he told the council.

The new rates will go into effect with the February billing cycle.

The council also gave the go ahead for city staff to enter a lease agreement with local business man Jo Bisogno allowing him to open a jobs incubator in classroom space in city hall.

Bisogno and his associate Ken O'Toole plan to use the incubator to train potential employees for open jobs in the De Soto area.

"This is a new approach to an incubator model," O'Toole said. "We're hoping it will be attractive to local businesses needing employees and to citizens needing work."

The incubator will occupy space in the west wing of City Hall where the Johnson County Sheriff's Department previously had their De Soto office. As part of the incubator agreement, the sheriff's deputies have relocated their small office to the third floor of Memorial Hall downtown, also the site of the Northwest Consolidated Fire District offices.

Other council actions included the following:

  • Designating The Legal Record of Johnson County as the city's official newspaper for publication of legal notices and public hearings. The city's previous paper, The Olathe News, is no longer in circulation. The Legal Record is published every Tuesday and is available for subscription or can be read at city hall.

  • Appointing Bob Garrett to the Northwest Consolidated Fire District Board of Directors, replacing Kent Dvorak, who recently moved. Garrett, who is also on the city's Planning Commission, has 20 years of experience as a firefighter.

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Jan. 5 De Soto City Council Meeting

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Council to consider new water and sewer rates, potential jobs incubator

De Soto residents could be facing a smaller increase in their water and sewer rates than previously planned after tonight's De Soto City Council meeting.

A resolution reducing the 2012 rate increases for water and sewer from five and 6.2 percent to two and 4.8 percent respectively due to better than expected end-of-year cash balances is on the agenda for tonight's meeting.

Also on the agenda is a request by De Soto businessman Jo Bisogno to create a jobs incubator for residents that would utilize space in City Hall.

The full agenda and supporting documents may be downloaded from the city's website.

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Council approves budget amendments, modifies tax abatement for Engineered Air

The 2011 budget for the city of De Soto will remain balanced thanks to some end-of-the-year amendments passed by the city council on Thursday night.

The council approved transfers from the city's cash balance fund to three other funds in order to legally maintain the budget before the end of the year. The changes will have no impact on citizens' taxes, according to City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle. The following changes were made:

  • $5,000 was transferred to the city's law enforcement fund as a precautionary measure. According to Guifoyle, the previously budgeted amount of $461,318 will likely be correct but as the city has not received the final bill from the Johnson County Sheriff's Office for the year it would be best to prepare for an overage.
  • $70,000 was transferred to the city's water fund to safely cover the nearly $60,000 budget overage due to the late completion of the "water break alley" project last month instead of over the summer, according to City Engineer Mike Brungardt. The original budget amount for the water fund was $1,225,809.
  • $16,000 was transferred to the city's refuse fund to cover the cost changes due to the voluntary curbside recycling program that started this year. Guilfoyle pointed out this change is cash-neutral as the cost is recovered by the city in customer charges but must still be noted in the budget. The original budget for this fund was $340,000.

The good relationship between the city and Engineered Air continues after the council approved a modification to the ten-year tax abatement agreement between the two.

The abatement, which was approved for the company's newest building addition, called for a 100 percent tax abatement for the first three years and a 50 percent abatement for the remaining seven. This year marks year three, the end of the full abatement, and Engineered Air asked the council to extend the full abatement by one year to help the company with their new acquisition of an Oregon company. The new acquisition will add approximately 100 jobs to Engineered Air over the next 10 years, according to company representative Ric Rambacher.

The council unanimously approved the modification, citing Engineered Air's good history with the city and the community. Engineered Air is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council and sponsors many city events such as the De Soto Days Festival and Night on the Kaw.

The council also took care of several other minor business items at their final meeting of 2011:

  • Beer Thirty owner Connie Shackelford received a renewal for the special use permit for her business. The 10-year permit will allow Shackelford to continue operating the business as usual.
  • Staff was directed to enter into a contract with R.L. Duncan Construction to replace a culvert on Shorewood Drive. The contract is not to exceed $60,000.
  • City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle was directed to draft a proposal outlining the logistics of relocating the Johnson County Sheriff Department's De Soto office from City Hall to the fire station downtown in order to make room for a proposed jobs incubator and to return with the proposal at the council's next meeting.
  • Mayor Dave Anderson received approval from the council to approach four community members to gauge their interest in joining the Board of Directors for the Northwest Consolidated Fire District. Anderson will bring back more biographical information on any candidates interested in January.
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Dec. 15 De Soto City Council meeting

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Council to have budget amendment public hearing before tonight's meeting

There will be a public hearing before tonight's De Soto City Council meeting regarding potential amendments to the city's 2011 budget.

According to the agenda provided on the city's website, City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle is proposing three amendments to the budget for the law enforcement, water and refuse funds.

The council will also be considering a new appointment to the Northwest Consolidated Fire District's Board of Directors to replace departing member Kent Dvorak.

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Council approves 2012 contract for police services

The De Soto City Council unanimously voted to approve a $428,000 contract with the Johnson County Sheriff's Department for police services in 2012, a nearly 7 percent reduction from expected costs.

The original amount set aside for the services in the 2012 city budget was $455,000, according to City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle, but that number was reduced thanks to fewer calls in De Soto in recent years. The city will still be receiving the same service as in the past, Guilfoyle said.

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Council votes to keep 83rd Street open to bicycles

The De Soto City Council voted 3-2 at their meeting Thursday night to keep 83rd Street, from approximately Kill Creek Road to the eastern city limits, open to bicycle traffic.

The council lifted the ban, which was put in effect in the mid-1990s, at a meeting in September of this year and almost immediately received requests from the public to reinstate the ban. Residents brought a petition with more than 300 signatures before the council asking that the council reconsider their decision, prompting Thursday night's discussion of the matter.

Councilman Rick Walker, a traffic engineer by profession, was the first to speak on the issue, outlining his belief that the road is just as safe as any other stretch of road open to bicycles in the country.

"I spent some time over the recent holiday doing the math and talking to experts around the country to get a better understanding of the real safety of this road," he said.

Walker's report, which went into detail regarding sight distance and stopping distance along the three-mile stretch of road, ended with his belief that it was safe so long as motorists and cyclists alike follow the law. He did suggest the city make a few improvements to the road to ease safety concerns.

"There are a few areas that could use some shoulder pavement to make [safety] better, and we could perhaps put up more signs to make motorists aware of the bikers' presence. But I don't think a ban is the answer."

Councilwoman Lori Murdock agreed with Walker, reiterating her belief that the ban impedes the rights of those who choose to cycle and her concern for De Soto's image.

"I ran [for council] to support De Soto and to help it move forward. Keeping bicycles out of our city in this way gives De Soto a bad image," she said.

Murdock also supported Walker's idea to explore adding cycling signs to the road and exploring minor paving options.

For the first time since the council began discussing lifting the ban earlier this fall, De Soto residents who support lifting the ban spoke, thanking the council for their efforts.

De Soto resident, recreational cyclist and city planning commissioner Mike Kroeger quoted lessons from his childhood to express his belief that lifting the ban was the right action.

"As a kid I was taught to mind my own business, and that's what I thought of when I heard this [lifting the ban] was such an issue. I think Rick [Walker]'s report shows that it's not unsafe. This seems like more an issue of inconvenience," he said. "The few times I've had trouble with cars while biking that road have been because of the drivers' actions, not mine. In my opinion, banning bikes because drivers have been misbehaving is out of whack."

Kroeger also pointed to a principle of American government regarding the ban and the petition to keep it in place.

"This country was founded on the majority rule but at the same time not at the expense of the minority right."

Four other residents joined Kroeger to speak in support of the lifting of the ban but their voices weren't the only ones heard. Several residents against the ban, including many who had spoken at previous council meetings and brought forth the petition, also reminded the council of their opinion.

"I've pushed for keeping the ban and I've heard a lot of good arguments here tonight but I'm still concerned about the safety," said Mike Vukas. "I think what tonight really shows is that the ban, one way or another, isn't the answer. We need to find a way to fix the road so everyone's concerns are addressed."

Councilman John Krudwig agreed and promised to support council members Walker and Murdock in their research for ways to improve the road at little cost to the city.

When the vote came to put the ban back in place, council memberRon McDaniel was the first to make the motion and speak in full favor of it. Council member Randy Johnson said he supported the motion despite his personal hesitation.

"[The ban] goes against every core value I have, but I was elected to represent the people of De Soto and those signatures are something I can't ignore," Johnson said.

After the motion was defeated, the council directed staff to look at options for paving shoulders in some areas of the road and research signage possibilities for future discussion.

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Dec. 1 De Soto City Council meeting

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Bike ban discussion on City Council agenda again

The De Soto City Council will once again discuss the 83rd Street bicycle ban, or lack thereof, at tonight's meeting at 7 p.m. at the De Soto City Hall. The discussion is back on the agenda after the council heard from many citizens at their last meeting who were unhappy with the council's previous decision to lift the ban.

The council is also scheduled to discuss the 2012 contract for police services with the Johnson County Sheriff's Department at the meeting. The full agenda and supporting documents may be downloaded from the city's website.

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