Abilene Commission meeting filled with public comments

·4 min read

Sep. 14—After a lengthy study session last Tuesday, Abilene city commissioners met for their regular schedule meeting to vote on the agenda topics. Before the meeting started, the agenda was amended with Family Dollar on 1709 N. Buckeye did not pass their inspection to allow for their Cereal Malt Beverage License, according to City Manager Ron Marsh.

Following the amendment, Mayor Brandon Rein started the week with the Constitution Week Proclamation. A petition created by the Daughters of the American Revolution to set September 17 to 23 annually to celebrate the creation of the constitution.

"We ask our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of these liberties," Rein said.

With Constitution Week proclaimed, Rein opened the floor to other public comments. First up to the podium was local lawyer Hank Royer, who wanted to express his thankfulness for the Abilene recreation commission.

Royer stated that the commission helped 251 kids be able to enjoy local activities without the worry of finances.

"We would do what we could to try to help them to fulfill their goals," Royer said before giving Parks & Recreation Director Kellee Timbrook a donation of $10,000 to assist with scholarships.

After Royer left the podium, Brandon Creach, an Abilene resident of 75 years, came to the commissioners with a concern about trucks traveling 7th street from N. Buckeye Avenue to Elm Street.

"Do we need someone hurt, killed or whatever on Seventh street to have people smart enough to keep them of there, that is what I want to know," Creach said.

Creach was in the understanding that the residential street was not a designated truck route, but trucks would still come through the area. However, Assistant Police Chief Jason Wilkins stated that in March Abilene redirected their truck routes, which include the utilization of Seventh Street. Wilkins spoke to Creach about the complaint a week before and stated that he was the first complaint the department heard since March.

"Seventh street is wide enough," Wilkins said. "It was made to endure that kind of weight and both sides have sidewalks."

After a heated discussion of how roads were used in previous years, Commissioner Tim Shafer spoke up against the form of discussion: "I think we moved past public comments into public argument."

Mayor Rein could only tell him that the city will keep monitoring the area, on top of the police's monitoring with speed trackers.

Concluding the public comments, Joseph Tatner, new owner of the Lebold mansion, came to tell the city his plans for Halloween.

On Halloween night, Tatner plans to open up his yard and basement for businesses to create a haunted house for trick-or-treaters to come visit. Each business will have their own room where they can decorate and pass out candy to kids and business information to adults. The event will be at no cost for the public, but donations are appreciated.

Tatner is still looking for people to assist with the night, so he wanted to inform the city in case anyone could help.

"It's my house and I'm sharing it with the community," Tatner said.

With public comments completed, Commissioners moved to new business and went quickly through each topic.

For the Kansas Municipality Annual Conference, the commissioners voted unanimously to send Mayor Rein and Vice Mayor Marshall as delegates to vote for Abilene. If anything happens, City Manager Ron Marsh and Commissioner Chris Ostermann will act as alternates.

Public Works Director Lon Schrader came to speak about the 'Fall You Haul' event and explained he will be releasing updated information to the public in the next few days. The updated information included an address for the city's old dump.

The commissioner unanimously approved the amending of city ordinances and code to follow the newly updated Uniform Public Offense code and Standard Traffic ordinances for Kansas cities. The STO included new definitions for golf cart and more, updated rules for Funeral Processions and new traffic offense for those who fail to move over when approaching an authorized utility or telecommunication vehicle.

The city also unanimously approved the signing of the new Land Lease Agreement and Farm Lease Agreement with Warren Wilson Hay, Inc. The new agreements help the city start to building Well #23 on the newly acquired land.

Lastly, the city unanimously approved the creation of a hearing about the desired Community Improvement District for Family Dollar at 1709 N. Buckeye Ave. The CID would allow Family Dollar to charge a 2% increase in sales tax for 22 years. The tentative schedule for the public hearing is Oct. 11 with two public notices published before the set date.

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