Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Child Abuse, 56 Highway and School Resource Officer on Council Agenda Monday Night

Mayor Marilyn Pearse called the March 21, 2016 city council meeting to order promptly at 7 P.M. The first order of business was the consent agenda, which included:
  1. Consider the draft minutes of the March 7, 2016 Regular Meeting.
  2. Consider an Appropriation Ordinance number  2016-03B claims against the city for goods provided and services rendered.
  3. Renewal of the drinking establishment license of the Lodge.
 Child Abuse Prevention Month
There was no old business, so the council moved on to new business. where Mayor Pearse read and signed a  Mayoral Proclamation. The proclamation proclaims the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the city of Baldwin City.

WHEREAS, children are key to the state’s future success, prosperity and quality of life and, while
children are our most valuable resource, they are also our most vulnerable; and
WHEREAS, children have a right to be safe and to be provided an opportunity to thrive, learn and grow;
WHEREAS child abuse and neglect can be prevented by supporting and strengthening Kansas’ families, thus preventing the far-reaching effects of maltreatment, providing the opportunity for children to develop
healthy, trusting family bonds; and consequently, building the foundations of communities; and
WHEREAS, we must come together as partners so that the voices of our children are heard by all and we are as a community extending a helping hand to children and families in need; and
WHEREAS, by providing safe, stable and nurturing relationships for our children, free of violence, abuse and neglect, we can ensure that Kansas’ children will grow to their full potential as the next generation of leaders, helping to secure the future of this state and nation; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Marilyn Pearse, Mayor of the City of Baldwin City, Kansas, do hereby proclaim the month of April 2016 to be
“Child Abuse Prevention Month”
Robin with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) said that in 2015 there was 2100 abused and neglected children reported in Douglas County.
56 Highway Corridor
Bill Winegar spoke to the council about the the proposed Highway 56 corridor improvements. Winegar said that they were applying for grants for safety improvements. The estimated costs would be about 2 million, with the city portion of the project being approximately $325,000.  According to Winegar the city would be responsible for the costs of moving any utility lines (power, water, etc) and any new right of ways that would need to be purchased.
Reiterating several times that this project was just in the proposed stage and nothing was set in concrete yet, he said that the project would include widening the current 10 foot lanes to 12 feet.  Sidewalks would also be included on both sides of the highway. A pedestrian controlled signal at Eisenhower with a crosswalk. Responding to a question from the council, Winegar said that it would be at least two years before any dirt will begin to be moved.
Baldwin City resident, Cindy Knight asked, "why now?"  Winegar responded that the traffic counts were higher then what had been anticipated when the highway was built. Also stating that he thought, the goal of KDOT was to make the side streets more perpendicular with the highway. Another citizen mentioned kids crossing at the most direct route. They aren't going to go down to Eisenhower. Winegar agreed, but stated that KDOT isn't going to let them put traffic lights in at every intersection.
Kirk Nyberg raised concerns about large vehicles such as RV's and fire trucks being able to negotiate the proposed new curve on Washington Street. 
Police Chief Greg Neis answering
questions about SRO Kyle.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
School Resource Officer 
The council looked at their agreement with the Baldwin School District for the their School Resource Officer (SRO). The current three year contract was coming to an end and it was time to once again take a look at their options. Currently the city provides officer Kyle to the school district nine months of the year. Splitting the costs of his salary 70%/30%. The costs for his equipment (car, uniform, training, etc) is provided by the city.
Mayor Pearse raised concerns about the amount of tax dollars the city uses to pay for this officer who is dedicated to school. Saying in her opinion the school district should be paying the majority of his salary.  Explaining that 1 mil is $30,000, meaning to pay that 70% from a taxpayer standpoint, it costs the city nearly 1 and 2/3 mils.
She also said that had thought the agreement was more progressive, where it started out with the city footing most of the bill, but decreasing as the school district paid more.  The 3 year contract started off as a 75%/25% split with the last two years being a 70/30 split.
After some discussion, several council members thought it would be good to see how other similar sized cities and school districts handle the SRO. Police Chief Greg Neis said he could talk with Eudora and find out how they do it.
Other Business
In other council business,  Councilman Tony Brown, who sits on the Utilities Committee said, Baldwin City is a leader with customers with Solar Energy.  Saying with the recent upgrades to the cities meters, they now will be able to keep track how much energy is being put back on the grid.  The city may be closer to the state mandated 1% then was originally thought, Brown said.

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