Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2008

Council moves closer to wall repair

August 14, 2008

The Eudora City Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution declaring the retaining wall in the 700 block of Main Street unsafe and dangerous after a public hearing.

The resolution directed the owners of the wall to repair the structure and make it secure within 30 days. If they fail to do so, the city would condemn the wall, make repairs and charge the owners.

The wall, which sits barricaded between 706 and 714 Main Street, is owned by two different entities: Darrel Keim, Lawrence, and the Denton family of Lawrence who have the rights to it as the result of a trust.

City officials decided to improve the wall in 2001 for the CPA parade. In 2006, engineers became concerned that a heavy rain could cause the wall to further push out and collapse onto the sidewalk. It then was barricaded, deemed a dangerous building and notices of safety code and zoning violations were sent to the owners.

Keim went to the Eudora Board of Zoning Appeals, claiming the wall was city property since it had made the improvements. The board disagreed, and he took the issue to court.

Kansas District Court Judge Stephen Six then issued a memorandum June 1 of last year, upholding the Board of Zoning appeals' decision.

The council formally condemned the wall April 31.

"Basically, the city had tried everything they could try to get the Keims and the Dentons actively involved in getting that wall fixed," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "Since they had not taken any action to work with the city, it has gotten to the point where we're renovating the downtown now and we're still dealing with the wall. The council has been forced to deal with it this way."

A representative of the Denton family attended the meeting and said that since thecity originally made improvements to the wall, it's state of disrepair is not the responsibility of either owner.

In other actions, the council:

¢ Set a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at City Hall for the 2009 budget. Council members and department heads already have had three work sessions and will continue to discuss the budget during the next two weeks.

Cuts have been made in several areas in order to raise the mill levy by 2.5 mills. Councilman Jeff Peterson said he though it was important to invest in economic development to increase the business tax base so the city didn't habitually find itself in the position to have to make cutbacks each year.

The council likely will allow for three percent salary raises for city employees, though they will divide that amount between a cost of living increase and increases based on merit. They have not decided what the splits will be.

The council also might not cut any jobs, though they wouldn't fill any openings in any departments, either.

In order not prevent the need for layoffs or frozen salaries, the council would make cuts to other areas including the street departments, the police department, and the fire department.

They also will discuss eliminating the city fireworks display.

"This year we went into great detail line-by-line of every single budget the council got," Beatty said. "Each department head was very involved in presenting their budgets and going through the details."

¢ Took a complaint from a city worker who said another city worker had been allowed to use services at the Parks and Recreation Department for free. Cheryl Beatty said she was aware of the issue.

"There had been a mistake made and it is being rectified," Beatty said. "There will been disciplinary action taken and possible reimbursement has been discussed."

¢ Approved the Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas Cities and the Uniform Public Offense Code for Kansas Cities.

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