Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Council Hears First Street Concerns, Discusses Murals and Meeting Dates

Kevin Surbaugh

The November 21, 2016 meeting of the Baldwin City Council was called to order promptly at 7 P.M. by Mayor Marilyn Pearse. Council Member Christi Darnell was absent.  To begin the meeting, Baldwin City resident Josh Ediger spoke to the council to the council the unpaved road of First Street, near Bryan Road. Ediger told the council that he had moved to Baldwin City five years ago and that his daughter developed asthma due to all the dust. He along with the other six property owners along that small stretch of 1st Street  who are city residents, however 1st Street there, as well as other sections of 1st Street (like by the Wooden Spoke Restaurant) itself is not in the city.
Josh Ediger addresses the Baldwin City Council.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
His child cannot go outside because of her allergies, due to the cloud of dust from the gravel road. Pearse sympathized saying if there was anything they could do they would. She told Ediger even if the city annexed the road, the residents would have to pay for the paving of the road.
In addition, Pearse mentioned the road is to narrow to be a city street and would require annexing and purchasing property from county residents to widen the road to meet the city widths.
Council Member Steve Bauer said that the city cannot legally improve the road, because it is not the cities road.

After Ediger addressed the council the council again discussed moving the meeting dates. If the meetings are switched from Monday's to Tuesday's there would be fewer conflicts, due to holidays. Council Member Kathy Gerstner moved that an ordinance be drawn up to move the council meetings to the first and third Tuesday's
City Clerk Laura Hartman, mentioned that she recently attended a meeting of city clerks in Wichita, where between meetings, she talked with out city clerks from around the state. Many of those clerks told her that the first meeting of the month was generally more of a work session, while the second was an actual council meeting.
Bauer expressed concern that one meeting a month would limit the council members interactions with members of the public. Two meetings would make the council more accessible.
Council Members Tony Brown and David Simmons like the idea of two meetings each month.  An ordinance, still needs to be drafted, but it is already expected that council meetings will be moved to the first and third Tuesday's at 7 P.M. beginning January 1, 2017.
The council also learned about a mural being planned for 608 High Street, which will be painted by local residents and led by renowned artist David Lowentein of Lawrence.  Lowenstein is also a writer and print-maker. His murals can be found across the United States, including the largest mural wall in Kansas, "The Great Mural Wall of Kansas," in Topeka, KS as well as in Ireland and South Korea.  After discussion, the council approved a $3,000 grant for the project. 

In other business:

  • Discussed ordinance 1357 which will amend ordinance 1247 which would amend  the cities zoning ordinance, to match the updated state regulations. However, no action was taken so that city staff clean up some of the language a bit.
  • Unanimously approved the authorization for City Finance Director, Brad Smith to sign a recent Financial Advisor Agreement.
  • 1 comment:

    1. Mr. Ediger.

      If the city leaders had the will, they would find a way. But they have no will, innovation, vision for the city except that which promotes the “insider deals” that have been obvious and prevalent for the past decade in this town.

      If Mr. Bauer really was interested in good city governance he would offer to open talks with the county and city for joint work on your street, including funding. But look around, there are some streets within the city-proper where homeowners have waited more than 50 years for proper streets. And they still wait. I read recently where one city government official stated those people would have to pay for their own street – which is complete bull in a well-managed metropolis.

      I suggest you follow the money, as they say. Look at what most city council meetings are about and you quickly see they’re about benefiting one particular group (or groups) of business people who all have ties to each other and the council (think mortgages and home inspections).

      Homeowners have complained for decades about city sidewalks (and streets), yet all city councils have said is “we don’t want to have to bill homeowners for the costs”. Well again, no will, effort or vision by the council. If they really wanted to do their job for the voters they’d find a way to make it work through grants (just like Lawrence), donations, low cost 20 year loans on utility bills. Instead we have non ADA-compliant, terrible and dangerous sidewalks throughout the city.

      Follow the money ---

      $15,000 taken from the Utility Department’s marketing account to pay ½ of Dave Hill’s “private” company’s salary for Hank Booth (who was let go by the Chamber of Commerce). (While sneaking in a new 5% franchise fee to pay for a new maintenance building because city leaders knew the proper city vote on the issue would not pass.)

      $3,000 for a mural on Dave Hill’s building downtown.

      $35,000 for security glass to separate the “commoners” paying their city fees from the “rulers” of city hall. While security is good, one incident in 75 years doesn’t justify the expense.

      Consider these $53,000 dollars alone. At $6.00 per square foot for sidewalk concrete installed, this money would have paid for almost 1/2 mile of new 4-foot-wide city sidewalks. Enough to cover at least 6 square blocks with new, ADA-compliant sidewalks.

      When taxpayers and residents look under the covers, you discover some familiar faces all hiding in bed together and laughing at taxpayers.


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