The Wamego City Commission set the 2017 budget hearing date. At Tuesday’s meeting, City Manager Merl Page reviewed the minutes of the July 25 special meeting, where the Commission approved the rough draft of the 2017 Budget that reflected a mill levy increase of 1.772 mills over last year’s budget. The Budget Hearing date was set for August 9 at six p.m. in City Hall.
In other business, Page updated the Commission on the 150th Celebration’s upcoming event. Page said he met with event Chair Barbara Meinhardt, who went over the plans for the Farm, Faith & Family event scheduled for the weekend of August 20 and 21 in the Wamego City Park. Hayrack rides, a kid’s tractor pull, and a cow-birthing demonstration are among the planned events, which begin at two p.m. and goes until nine p.m.
The Commission also reviewed equipment needs for several departments. Page began the conversations by saying the request was not a budgeted item, but that provisions were made years ago to install additional dispatch equipment in the basement of the Police Department. He said during severe weather, the staff moves to the basement and does not have the necessary equipment to continue communicating to emergency services. Page said the cost of the equipment would be around $36,000, and would be taken out of reserves. Commissioner Vic Enns suggested more research into the issue should be done before a decision is made. Commissioner Bill Ditto echoed Enns concerns. The issue is slated to be on the agenda in September.
The Commission approved the replacement of a Street Department 1992 Dump Truck for a used 2003 Kenworth Dump Truck complete with frame and snow plow for a cost of $54,792 after a $5,000 trade-in allowance. Page said a new truck with all the equipment would cost over $108,000. He added that they budgeted $65,000 for the purchase. A motion was made and approved to move forward with the purchase and passed by a vote of five to zero.
The Commission gets an update on a grant application for bridge replacement. Page said he’d met with the County Engineer, who has applied for an off-system bridge replacement grant for the Valley and Balderson Boulevard bridge. The bridge is part of the Industrial Commercial Route project that is a 50/50 project with the City and County and will be completed incrementaly.
Page said things are looking positive with sales tax revenues. He said the City was up point four percent (.4%), which was about the same as last month. The County-wide was up four point three percent (4.3%), both compared to the same seven months a year ago. Page said it was important to monitor the sales tax revenues as a budgetary tool.
Also, Page suggested setting the Power Plant Public Open House for late September or early October. Someone suggested holding the event during OZtoberfest. More information will be forthcoming.
Page also read a letter addressed to the Mayor of Wamego from a Lincoln, NE lady. The letter stated the family spent the weekend in Wamego, visited all the various points of interest, ate at various restaurants and shopped local merchants. She was most complimentary of the friendliness of all the people they came in contact with and the cleanliness of the community. Page said this was a testament to all the hard work of everyone in the community to make Wamego a great place to live, work and visit.