Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Baldwin City Council Learns About Changes in State Statutes

The August 5, 2016 meeting of the Baldwin City Council meeting got off to a quick start, but after some contentious moments ended with several postponed votes.
The council heard from Police Chief Greg Neis in regards to ordinances 1349 and 1350, which would bring current local ordinances up to date with 2016 State Statutes. A process that occurs every year after the states revised statutes take affect on July 1 of each year.
Chief Greg Neis discussing the changes in state statutes.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Some of the changes this year include exempting a minor from prosecution of underage drinking, if they report a medical emergency during the commission of that crime.The statute
 requires the  person to 1) notify LE or EMS; 2) cooperate with LE and EMS; and 3) remain at scene with person needing  medical assistance. The person appearing to need medical assistance also cannot be prosecuted for MIP if  they cooperate with LE and EMS. LE cannot have an action taken against them for compliance or non - compliance with the new law. The wording is “exempt from prosecution” because there may be occasions  when it would not be prudent to simply release a person due to a minor’s state of intoxication rendering  such a release unsafe, especially if a juvenile. So the law allows the person to be taken into custody if  necessary, but they could not be prosecuted in court. Think of it working kind of like the no DL on person.  This law does not apply to the crimes of social hosting or furnishing alcohol  to a minor. - The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Ceneter
Other changes include weight limits on trucks, addresses what is called revenge pornography, and raising fines for criminal theft.  Neis said, that the weight limits for commercial trucking is enforced by the state, as the cities police department doesn't have portable scales.

As the council neared a vote on these ordinances that are a matter of state law, whether or not the council approves them, a discussion ensued on whether or not they can vote on these two ordinances or to wait until the next meeting on September 6, 2016. The council eventually decided to postpone taking action until the first meeting in September.
The council learned about and briefly looked over changes to the personnel manual. Which city staff said, they would like to review annually to keep it more up to date with any changes.
Like the ordinances earlier, a discussion ensued about whether or not vote on this or wait until the next meeting.  This being an employee manual was not considered an ordinance or resolution.  
Due to the lack of a second to Councilman Steve Bauer's motion to approve the changes, the vote was postponed.

In other business:


  • The council approved passing on a franchise fee hike beginning in September. Which means that all city electric, sewer, water and trash customers will be assessed a 2.5 percent franchise fee on their monthly bills then in September 2017, the fees will be doubled to 5 percent.
  • Mayor Marilyn Pearse appointed Council members David Simmons, Christi Darnell and Economic Development Chairman Ed Crouton to a new Public Buildings Commission. 
  • Passed unanimously Resolution 2016-16 regarding the Utility Fund Balance Policy. Changing the amount sit aside for the Enterprise Fund Reserve from 50% to 25% and including trash service in the reserve fund as well. 
  • The multi-year negotiations with Wellsville is nearing an end. City Financial Administrator, Brad Smith reported an agreement that just needs the contract to be drawn up and signed by the two parties.
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