Manhattan City Commission Meeting Sparks Off NBAF Debate

The Manhattan City Commission met on Tuesday night at City Hall for their legislative meeting, and received a good helping of public comment on everything from NBAF to tree cutting.

Representatives from Westar Energy briefed the commission on an initiative called Reliabilitree which they say focuses on cyclic maintenance of trees to ensure safety, and the reduction of power outages.

Manhattan resident, and biologist, Gary Conrad gave a presentation on why the commissioners should not allow NBAF to go forward, and cited a former Coast Guard Admiral’s analysis of security risks. Conrad also pointed out the dangers of the spread of hoof and mouth disease, and said the outbreak is inevitable.  Conrad warned that the facility would be a “millstone” around the neck of the university even though it won’t be directly involved with the site when the outbreak would occur.

Commissioner Jim Sherow gave examples of similar facilities operating without incident around the world.  Commissioner Wynn Butlersaid he had some of the same security questions, but says the experts are saying it will be  a secure site.

The transfer of possession of land from city to federal for the NBAF site was included in the consent agenda.

Also on the consent agenda was the refinancing of approximately five million dollars worth of bonds, which Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr confirmed would save the city around $320,00.

Finally the commission was given a choice to extend the selection process for art to adorn the roundabout located on the intersection of Anderson and 4th street. The selection committee requested a 90 day extension on the item.

The commission passed all the items on the consent and general agendas with a 4 to 0 vote, and with only one abstention from commissioner Rich Jankovich due to a prior business relationship.