Beloit City Council renews commitment to Solomon Valley Transportation

The Beloit City Council met on Tuesday night, July 20, at the Municipal Building downtown. The council renewed their annual commitment to Solomon Valley Transportation (SVT) in the amount of $10,041. This is the same amount as last year when a sizeable increase was made.

Citizens of Beloit account for about 60 percent of the rides given by SVT. Mitchell County $16,800, Jewell County $15,000, City of Mankato $4,000, City of Osborne $500 and the City of Downs $300. SVT Director Tammy Kimminau will present an annual report at an August council meeting.

The council approved the closure of Chautauqua Park this weekend July 20-22 for the2018 Kansas State Disc Golf Championship. The pool and playground area will remain accessible, but the rest of the park will be closed except to those attending the event.

A public hearing was held without comment prior to council’s approval of the standards of procurement, bidding and contract awards required by USDA Rural Development in how USDA loan or grant money is spent by the city. No actual grant or loan was applied for at the time.

Ron Boden appeared before the council to discuss the Mid-America Region of Narcotics campout held at Chautauqua Park earlier this summer. Boden said the event was a success and people are requesting Beloit be the site again in 2019. About 250 people attended the event at its peak. The council approved to allow the event to be held in Beloit again next year. The park will be closed July 4-7, 2019 for the campout. The playground area and the pool will still be accessible to the public.

The consent agenda including the minutes of the July 2 meeting were approved along with Appropriations 2B showing accounts payable disbursements of $609,708 for the period.

Ordinance 2230, an update to the city’s standard traffic ordinance, was approved. It includes new speed zones. A 20 miles per hour limit in the area north of the Law Enforcement Center on Walnut St. across from Beloit High and southbound through the curves to the area on N. Hersey north of 15th St. near Trojan Field. Also, Asherville Road running west from Hwy. 24 to Brooklyn Ave. is now a 40mph zone.

Ordinance 2231 was approved which updated the city’s Public Offense Code without significant changes. Contact the city office for full details on these code updates.

The council approved an FAA Planning Grant Agreement to fund projects at Moritz Memorial Airport. It provides grant funds in the amount of $215,550 from the FAA with a city match of $23,950.

A Memorandum of Understanding for Environmental Assessment with the North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC) was also approved. This is required as part of the USDA loan application process. The NCRPC will perform the assessment with costs not to exceed $1,500.
A public hearing was scheduled for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment loan program to be held on August 21 at 7:00 p.m.

The council approved a bid from Mid-States Energy Works, Inc. for vacuum circuit breakers at a cost of $79,075. These will replace oil breakers which are aging and less than ideal in terms of safety according to Power Plant Foreman Manny Milbers. The new breakers will be more reliable and much less likely to pose a safety hazards such as explosion and fire. These are system upgrades to the city’s power grid which also help meet goals on the strategy for the electrical rate structure.

A Geographic Information Systems Specialist Services contract was awarded to Micah Scoggan, of rural Beloit, at a rate of $30 per hour up to $15,600 during a period of up to six months. Scoggan agrees to update the missing parts of the city’s system since the time of the last GIS data collection in 2012. He will add additional attributes to currently possessed data, increase public access, and provide assistance in uploading media and rolling out mobile device utilization.

Health Insurance Renewal was approved for city employees through Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The cost was estimated at $877,000 with the city paying 82.5 percent of the employee premiums for regular plans, leaving 17.5 percent employee responsibility. High deductible plans will be paid 95 percent city, and 5 percent employee contribution.

The council then tagged Councilor Kent Miller to head a group with a working title of “Committee for Beloit Signage”. Miller will recruit more members of the committee who will look to improve directional and possibly city limit signage as suggested by visitors from Clay Center during the First Impressions Program.

In the work session, the council members were provided a copy of the proposed fiscal year 2019 budget. The preliminary total of about $10.5 was presented which is one million less than the 2018 budget. The council will review the budget at the next meeting and scheduled a public hearing for the budget at the August 21 meeting a 7 p.m.

The council also entered into preliminary discussion about changing meeting times, on occasion, to avoid conflicts with other events in town such as scholastic and summer sporting events. It was also suggested that the city could maintain their responsibilities with fewer meetings overall, though it may increase the duration of individual sessions. No decisions were made, and the issue may be taken up in earnest at future meetings.

The next Beloit City Council meeting will be held on Monday, August 7.