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Lyons High School Homecoming Parade Friday, no Thursday Evening Bonfire

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Items from the Lyons City Council Meeting 9/18

By Lucky Kidd

 

LYONS, Kan. — The Lyons City Council on Monday approved a 2024 budget that while having a lower mill levy than for 2023 is still above the Revenue Neutral Rate, which is a rate that would raise the same revenue from property taxes as for the 2023 budget.

Two hearings were held at the start of the meeting, one on exceeding the Revenue Neutral Rate (RNR) and the other on the budget itself. The adopted budget calls for a levy of 52 mills, a reduction of 1.284 mills from 2023 but 3.821 mills above being revenue neutral. The resolution to exceed the RNR was adopted following the conclusion of that hearing, with the ordinance adopting the budget approved later in the meeting.

The only member of the public to speak at either hearing was Dave Gangabin, who directed his questions primarily at the process to reach the budget and how expenditures were developed in it. Interim City Manager Howard Partington outlined the process that began shortly after he came on board in late May, including the fact department heads were more involved in the budget process than in the past.

While the general fund levy was reduced by 2.363 mills, that was offset by just over one mill increase in the levy for the Lyons Public Library, which was set at five mills, and a slight increase in the municipal equipment reserve levy.

The overall budget proposed for 2024 is $13,620,975. However, this includes reserve funds which may or may not need to be used. It also reflects a Council decision to increase the budget authority for the gas, wastewater and water funds, primarily within the gas fund. One line item added to the budget for 2024 is a specific fund set aside for clean-up and abatement projects.

Monday’s meeting was the first for new City Administrator Eddy Truelove, who succeeds Chad Buckley (Buckley resigned on May 1). While a contract was agreed to last month, his formal appointment was approved during the meeting. Truelove was sworn into office Monday morning by City Clerk Gayla Horsch.

The Council approved the closeout of the waterline improvement project of East Avenue North. This included approval of a change order to reflect a $541.80 decrease reflecting actual material quantities and adding six days to complete the project.

Approval was given for a parade Friday afternoon in connection with the Lyons High School Homecoming. The parade will begin from the high school at 2 p.m., and will go north on Dinsmore to Commercial, then west to the Courthouse Square. LHS Principal Derek Carlson said they have decided not to have a Thursday evening bonfire as originally planned.

The Council authorized the submission of a grant application to the Rice County Community Foundation to update school zone crossing lights and add pedestrian crossing lights. The project would address existing school crossings and four designated intersections in the city. This grant would come from the newly established Community Fund that has grant funds set aside for each community in Rice County.

During citizens comments at the meeting, John Hazard spoke to the council about new requirements for food vendors during Fair on the Square. While Hazard has served food there in the past, he is not able to this year due to not having a state food service license, which he explained due to the number of events he currently does a year he is exempt from licensing by state law. Mayor Dustin Schultz said the requirements are what has been in city codes for some time and are just now being enforced. Truelove asked Hazard to meet with him in the near future to review the regulations and see what, if any, changes could be looked at.

In his written report to the Council, Public Works Director Jared Jones said rehab work on Water Well #2 has been completed and is now back in operation, and variable frequency drives for the blowers that operate the aerobic digester at the Wastewater Treatment Plant have been installed. Jones also attended a Kansas Municipal Utilities training in McPherson Tuesday to obtain his CDL instructor credentials to train commercial driver’s license applications.

In a written report, Human Resources Director Jennifer Wood provided an update on the OPEN program, in which Council members, Mayor Dustin Schultz and nine staff members made visits to 45 local businesses. This is based on an initiative Partington started while City Administrator in Great Bend. Information on surveys conducted as part of the visits is being given to Truelove to review and follow up on.

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