Peabody mayor and city council observed another swearing-in Monday night before Tom Schmidt settled in to the council position previously held by Tim Peterson.
Peterson has gone to work for the county dispatch department and no longer will be able to attend council meetings. He tendered his resignation, which was accepted with regret and gratitude for his service by two of the three council members present. Steve Rose voted against accepting the resignation and Peggy Phillips was absent.
Schmidt is a former councilman and mayor. He recently had indicated to Mayor Ed Slocombe that he had some interest in serving on the city council again should a vacancy occur. Slocombe tapped Schmidt to fulfill Peterson’s position with approval of the city council. The council vote was unanimous.
USD 398 superintendent Rex Watson addressed council members. He commended the city, police chief Bruce Burke, and public works director Darren Pickens for the new signage in school zones and cross walks. He noted the district office had received positive feedback from patrons.
Watson also asked the city to consider entering an agreement with the district for the use of an empty lot that lies between Elm Street and Westbrook Park. The area, all grass and mature trees, is maintained by the city.
The district wants to use the grassy area as a parking lot. It would put down a gravel base and use it for the fleet of Suburbans that currently sets in the western-most parking spots in the grade school lot.
The school district would maintain the property and take care of all the mowing.
The land was donated to the city by Shreves and Mary Avery in the early 1980s.
The original purpose was to provide a play area for children who accompanied their parents to the tennis courts, also given to the city by the Avery family in memory of Grant Avery who was murdered in 1979.
The Avery family contributed to the purchase of equipment and Progressive Mothers Club raised funds for the balance. Husbands of club members and other volunteers built some of the equipment.
The park is the only one on the east side of the community.
City councilman Tom Schmidt offered a brief history of the park and urged Watson to consider other areas around the elementary school for a parking area.
After discussion, Watson agreed to look at other options.
In other business, the council:
- reviewed APAC Paving bids for the street projects, but tabled approval once again because of questions about the mobilization fees included in the bids. Council members agreed to meet in a special meeting if necessary to approve the bids once the fees in question are explained.
- approved training for Ronnie Harms to meet requirements for class two wastewater re-certification.
- heard that the pumps at the new lift station have gone out again and have been sent in for repairs, with the backup pump in service during the time the regular pumps are gone. The charge will be $2,622. Pickens noted that large fabric items are being flushed into the sewer system somewhere in the community, causing extensive damage to the pumps when they materials reach the lift station.
- approved a bid of $652 from Peabody Hardware to replace the roof on the rest room at City Park with a metal roof. Vandals destroyed parts of the roof currently on the building.
- approved a bid of $7,126 from Flaming Plumbing and Heating for the city shop heating system.
- heard from Pickens that water lines in the vicinity of Maple and Second streets have required additional flushing once again. Homeowners have complained of problems with color, taste, and odor.
- approved a $12,490 bid from Rod’s Ditching to replace the sewer line from Seventh to Eighth street between Plum and Locust, if the work can be started in 30 days.
- approved the purchase of a used utility truck for $11,074 using the police department’s oldest Crown Victoria as a trade-in and financing the truck with a lease-purchase agreement with Peabody State Bank. Also approved was a second utility truck for $12,600 using a surplus in the vehicle repair fund and the two trucks the city is currently using.
- approved for Peabody Police Department an increase to $100 per month gas allowance for the animal control officer, the purchase for $240 of testing kits for court cases, and the use of land near the new sewer lagoons for a practice firing range providing cost estimates to build it are reasonable.
- approved a resolution to create a 457 plan for city employees to supplement their retirement funds.
- heard the city is saving about $150 a month with the new Alltel plan.
- approved the Standard Traffic Ordinance and the Uniform Public Offense Code for 2008
- approved an extension of the work agreement between the city and interim Main Street director Shane Marler. Legal counsel is still reviewing the new memorandum of agreement. The extension will remain in effect indefinitely.
- heard Kansas Department of Transportation will demand a local bridge inspection program for all cities and counties. A bridge is defined as spanning a void of 20 feet or more and must be inspected every two years. Benbrook recorded eight bridges in Peabody. There is no information on funding the inspection and/or repairs.
- heard also that KDOT is getting ready to look at its next 10-year transportation plan and cities should be thinking of issues they would like to have addressed so they can apply for KDOT project approval. Council members selected an entrance/exit ramp at the industrial park site, U.S.-50 improvements previously discussed, and the Northern Flyer Alliance rail project.
- heard the abatement issue for 710 North Walnut is still being reviewed by the city attorney.