Archive for Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eudora leaders ponder becoming a city of the second class by 2009

August 9, 2007

By the end of 2008, it appears Eudora will be moving on up.

City officials are looking to make Eudora a city of the second class. State statute requires cities make the move from third-class status once their populations exceed 5,000.

"It's just that they simply don't have the option," Kansas League of Municipalities Director of Law and General Counsel Sandra Jacquot said.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty directed city attorney Mike Book with Lathrop & Gage to start studying what the change might mean to the city.

She informed the city council the change would be imminent earlier in the year, Beatty said.

"It's more of an awareness issue and finding out what it means to your city," Beatty said.

The De Soto City Council voted Thursday to make the transition to a city of the second-class.

Should Eudora follow, the move would place the city under a whole new set of statutes, Jacquot said. The majority of the new rules wouldn't be much different than what the city follows now, but it could change the election process for council members.

"For one thing, they would have wards and probably, with population of Eudora, they would have at least four," Jacquot said.

Each ward would be allotted one representative. The council also would have two at-large bids.

Even with the change in class, the city could decide to pass a charter ordinance that would, in effect, leave the election process as it is now, Jacquot said.

"They certainly would have the option of continuing to operate very much the same," Jacquot said.

The city also would have the option to charter out of other changes.

"If there is a statute and they want to do something that's not in conflict with it, they can do an ordinance or supplement the statute," Jacquot said.

The charter ordinances would need at least a supermajority of the council and would be subjected to a 60-day protest period.

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said he still had to steady what the change might mean.

If possible, he would try to leave the election system as is, he said.

The other changes to the city would be minor, Beatty said.

"It just changes the general fund up and the general operation of the city slightly," Beatty said. "And then you get the title of the city of the second class."

The city also could be eligible for more government funds as a city of the second class, Jacquot.

The city council would need to pass a resolution to make the shift and attach a copy of the city's boundaries to send to the governor. The governor then signs a proclamation to make the transition complete.

"From that point, they're a city of the second class," Jacquot said.

The move is something Beatty initially considered when she signed on with the city in 2005, but put it off in lieu of more pressing projects, she said.

"It is my understanding that when most cities choose to go ahead and become a city of the second class, the changes are minor," Beatty said. "We just need to examine them and follow the changes. And when we report to the governor, we're telling her we're ready to make the switch-over and we make sure we're knowledgeable of what it entails."

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