Mayor, council play to review city blueprint


News editor

Peabody City Council members and mayor each received a copy of the newly completed comprehensive plan to review at the Monday night meeting.

The group tabled any discussion of the findings until the next meeting. At that time, council members will schedule in-depth discussions of areas covered by the study.

The last comprehensive plan was made in the late 1970s. In order for the community to be eligible for many projects, grants, or studies funded by the state or federal government, a current plan has to be on file. It is considered a blueprint for future projects and development.

Council members and Mayor Ed Slocombe will review the findings and recommendations of the group from Kansas State University that gathered and compiled the data and presented it to the community at a meeting May 7.

A copy of the comprehensive plan is available at the city building for members of the community to view.

Former mayor Tom Schmidt presented a formula for rebuilding cash reserves using general obligation bonds. Following the presentation, the council took no action, but did instruct city administrator Jeff Benbrook to do some background investigation with the city's bond council and attorney.

Council also approved the following items proposed by councilman Larry Larsen:

— the city building will remain open during the noon hour beginning May 19.

— Benbrook will have direct supervision over (and evaluation of) all department heads.

— a stand-alone job description will be developed by Benbrook for each position of city employment. The job description will not be tied to the evaluation of the employee.

— Benbrook will change his method of keeping minutes and make them more in keeping with the League of Kansas Municipalities clerk's manual.

— council members will host four budget meetings to get a handle on 2008 spending and decide where to trim for the 2009 budget.

In other business, the council:

— heard a request from health and safety officer Tammy Whiteside to meet on a night other than regular council night to discuss nuisance properties. After discussion, it was agreed that the schedule would remain the same.

— heard from Main Street interim director Shane Marler that a downtown cleanup is scheduled for Saturday in preparation for Operation Celebration. Volunteers will do the job. Marler also reported that a landscaping project for Santa Fe Park has been approved and might be completed in time for the Memorial Day celebration.

— heard the economic development committee is awaiting an on-site visit by a Kansas Department of Transportation representative for final approval of the re-installation of the large directional sign for U.S.-50.

— heard from Benbrook the county emergency plan will be "web-based" allowing it to be updated or changed at anytime.

— accepted the resignation of police officer Michael French.

— heard that no bids were received for work on the Peabody street project. Benbrook will contact the companies again.

— approved a request from the historical society to allow school buses on the track at the park on Memorial Day for an historical tour that will include a stop at the "round house" at the park. The building is the only remaining structure from the 1885 state fair held in Peabody. It served as the floral exhibition hall.