Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Mayor won't run again
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Iola Mayor Bill Maness formally announced he would not seek reelection come April, when an eight-person council plus a mayor will be elected to replace the existing three-man commission.
“I’m accepting a position with Senator-elect Jerry Moran as a district representative in this area,” Maness told commissioners at their meeting Tuesday evening.
He did note that he would try to drum up interest in citizens to attend the council’s meetings, however.
Beginning Jan. 3, those meetings will be on the first and third Mondays of the month, commissioners decided. They had discussed moving the meeting date to Mondays previously, and settled on the odd-numbered weeks so as not to conflict with local school board meetings, they said. Two upcoming exceptions will be Jan. 17 and Feb. 21, both federal holidays, when the meeting will move to the next evening.
Commissioners extended the contract of City Administrator Judy Brigham through the end of March.
After reviewing cost estimates, commissioners directed TITLE Corey Schinstock and Brigham to try to find about $9,000 in funding for crossing signal improvements at five designated corners, including the one at Buckeye and Madison streets used regularly by USD 257 students in getting to their classes at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
Existing signals can be converted into those with timed walk signals, Schinstock said.
The other timed crossing signals would be at the corners of Madison and State, Madison and Washington, Madison and Jefferson, and East and Kentucky.
A budget hearing opened and shut without public comment. No action was taken. Proposed amended expenditures under the 2010 budget are $16,557,881, about $1.6 million more than previously approved.
Commissioners approved, 2-1, transferring money from the city’s utility fund to help pay for a full time animal control officer. Iola Police Chief Jared Warner noted increased interest on the part of city residents in animal welfare.
Since losing its animal control officer in May, 2009, calls to deal with wild animals, feral cats or stray dogs have been divided between the police and street and alley departments. “There seems to be interest in providing pen checks and welfare checks,” Brigham noted. Both she ands Warner credited the new Allen County Animal Rescue Facility with raising public awareness of such issues, plus that of strays.
Warner suggested a full time animal control position be placed under the code enforcement arm of the city, and volunteered about $22,000 — $12,000 budgeted for animal control and $10,000 set aside for a part time officer — in the department budget to the cause. The Another $38,000 would be transferred from the utility fund, Brigham said, for a one-year trial period. In the 2012 budget, she noted, the position could be paid for through the city’s general fund. “With the 2011 budget already set, we didn’t’ have any money set aside for that (position)” Brigham said.
Maness and commissioner Bill Shirley agreed to the transfer. Commissioner Craig Abbott voted nay.
The position will be scheduled to emphasize coverage in evening hours and weekends, commissioners were told.
Commissioners unanimously voted to hire Zach Frank Web Design and Development of Kansas City, Mo., to develop and maintain a website promoting Iola and Iola Industries. The $2,200 fee will come form the city’s industry fund. The fund, designated “for industrial promotion expenses sounds like a perfect fit,” Brigham said. Money for the fund comes from an annual one mill levy, about $38,000 per year, she added.
In other business, commissioners renewed a cereal malt beverage license for Coronado’s Mexican Restaurant.