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Lyons City Council Approves Residential Solid Waste Fee Increase

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Lyons City Council Meeting Highlights 07/01/2024

By Lucky Kidd

 

LYONS, Kan. — Partly to catch up with something that wasn’t done a year ago, The Lyons City Council Monday approved residential solid waste fee increases, to take effect with the August billing. Under the city’s contract with Stutzman Refuse Disposal, a two percent increase in monthly charges is provided for each year.

Typically, the Council will approve fee adjustments on an annual basis, taking effect in August. However, last year this was not done during the time when the city was in-between City Administrators. As a result, the rate the city was paying to Stutzman was less than what it was collecting as part of utility bills.

The monthly residential charge will increase 23 cents per month, to $11.36 as of August, with additional carts to go up nine cents a month to $4.43. The ordinance setting out fees also includes the rates for 2025 and 2026, which will also reflect the 2% annual increase, the 2025 increase taking effect Jan. 1. Stutzman officials said there will be no increase for commercial businesses in the city of Lyons.

The Council also adopted a resolution making revisions to alcoholic beverage license fees reflecting recent amendments to state law and city ordinances, and setting out chicken permit fees after keeping of chickens were legalized in the city. The fee schedule for chickens provides for a discounted permit renewal charge if renewed prior to Dec. 1.

During his report to the Council, City Administrator Eddy Truelove said the council (for now) should assume a 2025 budget they will review during a series of work sessions next week will exceed the city’s revenue neutral rate. One of the major reasons for this is he is still not totally sure what the property tax levy that would raise the same dollars as was raised from that source for the current year would be.

Truelove pointed out even if they publish a notice of intent to exceed the RNR, the council could still approve a budget that did not. It was noted by Council member Sheila Spielman the city would not exceed the rate by very much if it does.

Council members agreed to waive the remaining $3,777.20 in assessments on a Mobile Home Park at 105 North Clark. In 2011, the Council entered into an agreement with the then owner of Morningwood Mobile Home Park for “Economic Assistance” related to emplacement of a gas line and water line materials, with a ten-year forgiveness period with a reduced payback each year and calling for payback if the property sold.

The property later was sold, at which time the city agreed to allow transfer of the debt to the new owner. In 2019 for unknown reasons part of the payback funding was released to the County for placement on the tax rolls. Present owner Ben Timberlake was not aware of this charge until he was notified by Rice County the unpaid assessment caused the property to be in danger of being sold at an upcoming tax sale. The payback period would have ended in 2021, the year Timberlake purchased it.

A public hearing was set Aug. 19 by resolution ordering the owners of properties at 608 West Main and 526 North Grand to show cause why structures at those two locations should not be ordered repairs or demolished as unsafe or dangerous structures. The resolutions begin the very specific legal process that has to be followed for any ultimate demolition to take place. Although there is a provision that would accelerate part of the process in the event of what is called an “imminent danger” this has only been used once in Lyons in recent memory.

The Council authorized signing of lease agreements with First Bank for a Bobcat wheel loader it agreed to lease in April. The lease calls for an annual payment of $14,500 a year.

Three mayoral appointments were approved by the Council. These include Rocky Summers to fill an open term on the Planning Commission through the end of this year, Donetta Birzer to the Library Board to complete the unexpired term of Pat Briggs that runs through April 30, 2026, and reappointment of Debbie Dumler as primary member and Tim Birzer as alternate member to the Rice County Council of Aging for three-year terms starting Aug. 1.

The Council agreed to give city employees the day off Friday, July 5, allowing them to have a four-day Independence Day weekend. A number of communities and some private businesses are taking similar steps this year.

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