Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2007

Council approves lobbyist contract

December 20, 2007

The Eudora City Council approved a contract Monday to give it a bigger voice in Topeka.

The council approved a contract at the meeting to hire Kevin Barone of the Topeka-based legislative consultants Joseph & Hollander as a contract lobbyist. He has lobbied the Kansas Legislature on behalf of bail bondsmen, Sumner County and the city of Park City.

Eudora will pay Barone $1,000 per month for lobby services and no more than $350 a month for his expenses. These expenses could include lobby registration fees, outside copying expenses over $50, travel expenses and any other items approved in advance by the city. Expenses can exceed $350, but only if the city gives approval.

The contract will run until June 30, 2008.

The city retained Barone's services to lobby at this year's state legislative session in the hopes of improving its position in its dispute with Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4. However, Barone told council members that he would be keeping all of Eudora's interests, such as annexation issues, in mind during the session.

RWD No. 4 filed a lawsuit in September in U.S. District Court of Kansas City, Kan., to prevent the city of Eudora from providing service to properties annexed into the city in recent years south of Kansas Highway 10 along Douglas County Road 1061.

The two sides met on Oct. 24 but failed to come to an agreement, as Eudora City officials offered $235,000 to pay off the water district's federal loan to settle the suit. RWD No. 4 found this offer to be too low, saying the district would make upwards of $6 million by serving present and future customers within the roughly 153 acres in the Fairfield district over a 40-year period.

City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said that the city council saw their action as a way for them to resolve any future issues and foster a better working relationship with RWD No. 4.

"In any working relationships that you have with any group, you need to set parameters," she said. "What I'm seeing happening is that we need to define the parameters in which we're going to be working with rural waters districts better at the state and federal level so that these misunderstandings don't come up and go to court."

In other business, the council:

¢ Approved a cost of living increase of 3 percent in city employee wages. The city budgeted to give employees a cost of living raise of 3 percent or a cost of living raise of 2 percent with a possible 1 percent merit raise. Beatty said that she spoke with employees and they chose the former option.

¢ Approved a revision to the employee handbook that will mean eliminate pre-employment drug testing of seasonal employees such as life guards and sports referees. The employees, however, can be randomly tested at the request of a supervisor.

¢ Approved a cooperative work site agreement with Social Rehabilitation Services. SRS will provide workers at no cost to the city as part of a mentoring program The city will provide employment in exchange for the social services that SRS will provide for the employee's family.

¢ Council member Maria Nelson requested that the city look into what picking up recyclable items such as glass, paper and aluminum would entail.

There currently are recycling bins for cardboard, plastic and aluminum at the city shop, located at Fifth and Oak Streets.


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