Manhattan City Commission: MPO is a Go

It was a tale of two cities,three counties, and a state governmental entity at Tuesday evening’s Manhattan city commission meeting.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization designation agreement was passed with a three to two vote during the session, and the lines were drawn based on the amount of control given to Manhattan on sub-committee creation.

Commissioner Wynn Butler is the Manhattan representative on the interim policy board, and wanted more weight given to Manhattan on the creation of the committees.  Butler wanted a small change in wording within the designation agreement to accomplish the task.

Local Manhattan resident John Ball agreed with Butler, and wanted the agreement changed to ensure Manhattan residents weren’t being railroaded into projects from outside influences.  Ball said if the commission voted to pass the agreement the could be giving up the rights of Manhattan residents to self govern.

However KDOT representatives rejected the idea of changing the language within the current agreement saying the time for creation of by-laws is not in this document.  Furthermore KDOT would reject any changes made, and would not sign the agreement.  This would bring the MPO creation process back to square one.

Mayor Loren Pepperd said he  understood the concerns, but believed the regional concept should be firmly in place and furthermore the regulations currently within the document would help alleviate any issues concerning forced measures on the city of Manhattan.

The commission held a public hearing on a new proposed expansion to the Manhattan public library.  Commissioner Butler and Commissioner John Matta were concerned about the extra costs it would incur for the city.

Local landlord Richard Hill says he’s not against the library, but is concerned the project will raise the mill levy.

City and library officials said the projections from financial advisers has placed the project well within the budged 6 mill levy ceiling for the library even with the additions of employee benefits.

Mayor Loren Pepperd issued a proclamation naming January 21st as the Martin Luther King Junior Day of Service.