Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Baldwin City Council Decides Local Seat Belt Fines

Kevin Surbaugh

The July 19th council meeting of Baldwin City was called to order by Marilyn Pearse. After quickly approving the consent agenda the council turned attention to public comments. This week, Baldwin City resident, Mary McGreery, approached the podium to address the city council. Her concern was the now daily music in the downtown area. Her house is within ear shot of one of the speakers which are annoying to her.
Some on the council were under the impression that the Chamber originated the request for music every day. Jeannette Blackmar, Baldwin City Chamber Director, told the council the chamber did not request the music to be constantly played over the sound system. Blackmar, did say that they did request that the city utilizes Baldwin City Radio over the CD’s that they had been playing.
Brad Smith, City Finance Director and Rob Culley, Baldwin City Power Plant Superintendent said that the speaker closest to McGreery’s house would be turned off on Wednesday (July 19, 2017) morning, except for special events, like the Maple Leaf Festival.
The council then heard from Hank Booth with a report from Baldwin City Economic Development Council (E. D. C.) of the first half of 2017. Booth started off with a ten-year overview of the E. D. C.’s accomplishments.
  • BEEP – Baldwin Energy Efficiency Program
  • Home Shows
  • Website – Commercial Inventory
  • RV Park
  • Douglas State Lake Walking Trail
  • Downtown Concerts
  • Kansas Belle Dinner Train

He then highlighted just a few of the accomplishments from 2016 and 2017.
  • Promotion of Baldwin City First
  • Baker Summit
  • Car Show - $1,000 to market show
  • Lawrence Home Show (to promote Baldwin City)
  • Promoted new CPA
  • Maintain Douglas State Fishing Lake

  • Booth then listed some of the goals for 2018.
  • Promote and support a city business park
  • promote and support residential growth
  • promote and support Baker University – our single biggest asset
  • fill gaps – a new fuel/gas station
  • annual fall promotion of Midland Railway and Kansas Belle Dinner Train

Dave Hill, E. D. C. chairman joined Booth at the podium and said that when they look at the local area they look at the entire school district, because everyone who lives in the district calls Baldwin City home.
Hill said they look to continue the scholarship program for Baldwin High students attending Baker University. He also mentioned, that he would like to see Baker implement a graduate program in Banking. To conclude their E. D. C. update, they discussed growth in the area. Growth in the city itself has been stagnate, while the rural areas have seen a 2.8 percent growth.
The council then discussed the paving of First Street, Shane Starkey, serving as the spokesperson for the seven residents asked about resident access to their homes, when construction begins. City Administrator Glenn Rodden, replied that they didn’t know at this time, but as things got closer the county engineers would make that part of their plan.
Shane Starkey
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Discussion ensued about the early payoff option and whether it could be done at other times, besides at the beginning of the payment start. Hill told the council that it could be done and that people in other special benefit districts have done it. The reason, Hill explained, that you might want to pay it off early is if a resident was going to move in year twelve of a twenty year payoff plan. A prospective buyer might be fine with a $6,000 tax bill, but might bulk at $2,000 more in specials. Thus, the selling resident might want to payoff the remaining amount to make the house more palatable to the prospective buyer.
The council postponed a decision to creating the First Street Benefit District until the August 1, 2017 meeting.
Council members also took up seat belt fines. The council first learned at the last meeting that the state had updated the fines for seat belt violations. As a result the city is mandated to update their ordinances. Until action is taken the city will lose money on each ticket they write. Under the new state laws, the fines go from $10 to $30 for drivers and from $10 to $60 for passengers. That means each ticket wrote before the city updates the ordinances, would result in the city sending the state $30 for the $10 it collects for a drivers infraction and $60 for the $10 it collects for each passenger infraction.
Voting under emergency authority the council passed ordinance 1376 (Uniform Public Offense Code) and ordinance 1377 (Standard Traffic Ordinance) on votes of four to one. Citing concern of transparency Council-Member David Simmons was the lone dissenting vote on both ordinances that were affected by the states updates to state law.
In Other business:
Approved, on a vote of 3-2, ordinance 1374 that rezones a plot of land owned by Casey Simoneau. Council-Member Kathy Gerstner and Christi Darnell cast the dissenting votes.
Unanimously approved the publication of the 2018 Budget hearing.

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