Rector Council Airs Concerns on Gas Line Project

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Rector City Council met in regular session Monday, with councilman David Romine serving as chair for the meeting in the absence of Mayor Teresa Roofe. Mayor Roofe had informed the council of the upcoming absence at the November council meeting.

Standard agenda items primarily occupied the councilís time, and discussion, with a few unexpected items presented by City Superintendent Todd Watson. In reporting for the street department, a concern was raised when Watson reported natural gas provider Black Hills Energy had informed the city on Monday that they would be accessing 50 to 70 gas service pipes. He noted the effort would require street cuts, digging out for access to the pipes, and retiring the service back to the main line. Black Hills plans to start work on the project this week, according to Watson.

The council responded to Watsonís concerns about procedures and costs to the city. He presented to the council, and to City Attorney Kimberly Dale, a copy of the December 1996 costs for such work, lined out as sewer taps, water repairs and street cuts.

Deeming the fees outdated, and not useful for current effort, the council discussed how to bring these fees to current prices so the City would not be paying for utility cuts and work conducted by outside agencies. It was further discussed to differentiate between commercial and utility required street cuts and residential street cuts.

After considerable discussion, the policy was updated for water, street, and sewer repairs to reflect 2017 costs, with residential customers still receiving appropriate allowances. Council member Lark Sigsby made the motion to approve the new pricing levels, Iva Fahr gave the second and all approved. As the fees relate to residential customers and street cuts, the fee shall be cost plus labor at a minimum of $200 for the completed work. Commercial and utility companies will receive the new policy as work requiring street cuts is planned and undertaken.

Additionally, Watson stated that the water department had experienced a good month and that code enforcement had been working ongoing issues on 1st Street and 6th Street.

The fire department report was read in the absence of Fire Chief Hutie Bowden who, along with the Rector Fire Department, was responding to a house fire in Marmaduke at the time. It was noted by council member Sigsby, even with a declared and widely reported burn ban in effect for all of Clay County, the fire department has responded to 12 calls, nine of which were in the county.

She noted grass fires have kept the trucks and men busy, in some cases fighting wild fires requiring many hours and much equipment on the job. Those persons in violation receive a citation and a substantial fine, in addition to the fee for the fire department making such a run. Farmers engaged in agricultural burning are exempt from the ban, but are required to call in to the department and report upcoming activity with an explanation of how the farmer intends to monitor the burning fields.

Later in the meeting, the council returned to the lease agreement on 40 acres near the city shop, acreage that was offered for lease to Rector School District for use by the FFA group. Concerns were raised on the part of Rector Schools Superintendent Johnny Fowler and by council members David Romine and Ryan Lawrence. Watson weighed in on the discussion. It was noted the city council wishes to work closely with the school and crafted a statement for Mayor Roofe to review with Superintendent Fowler. A survey of the acreage must be completed prior to determining which plots may be used for a future FFA barn and which plots might be used for other needs. Council also agreed security in investment is necessary for both parties. Attorney Dale, Mayor Roofe and Superintendent Fowler are scheduled to meet to put the lease agreement into motion.

As discussed in the previous meeting, the council approved a cost of living raise for all city employees and approved a year-end bonus of $400 for all full-time employees and $200 for all part time employees, to be paid this month.

Police Chief Glenn Leach gave the department report with a statement regarding a great number of loose dogs, one being declared vicious after it bit a six-year-old child riding his bicycle.

The council approved a resolution presented at the previous meeting to reimburse the mayor, the fire chief and the police chief for cell phone usage in 2017.

The community center reported the Christmas reception would be held on Thursday, after the Christmas parade. Linda Robinson sent word that the craft fair was a success.

City chief financial officer Kim Romine was on hand to answer councils questions on the 2018 city budget. Several questions requiring clarification were raised and response was complete and forthcoming. The council determined to conduct further review of the matter at the conclusion of the January meeting, with plans to approve it prior to Feb. 1, 2018.

To conclude council business, the council determined to review other citiesí policies and procedures which allow adults to operate licensed golf carts and side-by-sides on city streets. Council members Lawrence and Sigsby each mentioned the need to study and use exact language to assure safety and compliance should the council wish to institute such a provision. Council members Romine, Fahr and city attorney Dale noted several other cities in the area have recently approved such procedures. They indicated citizens interested in seeing the city pursue the issue further should contact their council representatives. The council will further review the request, presented by Joey Pruett, at their January meeting.

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