The El Dorado City Commission heard from several concerned citizens regarding the proposed southwest quadrant mandatory sidewalk project during the public hearing at their meeting Monday evening.
Fred Wilson first addressed the commission.
“My concern with this is for one, I’m on Social Security/disability,” he said. “Secondly, what about these people who don’t have sidewalks on their streets? They don’t have to pay anything, yet I’m being assessed by the city to have my sidewalks done. It’s not fair to me or anyone else to have their sidewalks done.”
He felt it was a public access across his property so it should be just like the streets and the city at large should pay for it.
Tom Tibbets also had concerns.
“I don’t know why they are replacing that sidewalk there because I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he said. “I had new sidewalks in the front part in ‘07 and the one around the corner is not absolutely perfectly smooth, but it’s not bad.”
He also spoke on behalf of one of his elderly neighbors who couldn’t get out. He said her sidewalk was smooth except one square and she was being charged $500. He also pointed out that section of her sidewalk was broken when the sewer line was dug. He said she had called the city and they were supposed to come out but never had.
“I don’t see tearing something up when there’s nothing wrong with it,” Tibbets said.
Cayetano Triana also was concerned and said they had part of their sidewalk replaced in 2007.
“This one on Summit,” he said, “is perfectly fine so I don’t know what caused it to be on this here. I would like to get with someone and find out. This dollar figure is a lot for doing that section.”
Gary Smith owns seven properties in the area and said two were redone in 2007.
“There’s nothing changed with these two properties,” he said.
Roberta Ebberts was concerned that her quote might increase like she said her driveway quote had a couple of years ago.
“If the city takes it out, I don’t want it put back in,” she said. “Can I do that?”
“I would be more than happy to come out and visit with you,” said Scott Rickard, assistant city engineer. “These assessments and quantities on here aren’t necessarily set in stone.”
Page 2 of 3 - He said they would discuss the work and try to come to an agreement. The city also has worked with people where sidewalks were damaged by utility work with the city at large paying that.
He also said he has had a few calls with questions about the work and had a call from one woman wanting to protest the project.
Commissioner Nick Badwey encouraged anyone who had a question to contact the engineering department.
Commissioner Bill Young also wondered about the sidewalks replaced in 2007 and why they were on the list again.
The commission approved, 4-0, the resolution to determine the advisability of the improvements. Commissioner David Chapin was absent.
In other business, the commission:
• approved canceling the first meeting in January.
• approved deeming uncollectible the deferred fines accounts in the amount of $48,970.28 and in miscellaneous billing $10,199.50. Both of those numbers are up from last year. The city will continue to work to collect the money.
• approved a resolution redefining the boundaries of the city based on annexations this past year. It includes the new middle school as well as adjustments to the highway right of way on North Highway 77 and West Highway 254.
• approved a resolution of support for the residential re-use of the old El Dorado Middle School. There was some concern what they were doing would not contrast what the school district has approved. This action gave the company the city’s support, which will aid in receiving the tax credits for the work on the project.
• appointed Randy Wells, Jim Holderman, Ryan Murry, Larry Gaston, Simon Schippers and Eddie Dean, Jr. to the Sales Tax Committee.
• approved a resolution establishing the 2013 salaries and wages paid to city employees. There were no changes from last year.
• heard that the Butler Homeless Committee has a plan they will begin to bring forward. The first step will be to take it to the Planning Commission and Badwey hoped by this coming spring they would be ready to have something to bring to the City Commission.
• approved a budget amendment for the Prairie Trails fund. When the 2012 budget was set, Prairie Trails was under the management of Kemper Sports. Since then, the city has began operation of the facility and the commission approved a transfer of $233,000 from the general fund to the Prairie Trails fund. As of Nov. 30, the expenses were $580,700, with an estimate of $70,000 for December, although that was expected to be high, making a total of $650,789. That would be the amended amount, where the published amount had been $238,569.
On the operating side, revenue was $455,468, with an estimate of $5,000 for December, making a total of $460,468.
Page 3 of 3 - Subtracting those two leaves a deficit of $190,320, coming in under the approved transfer amount of $230,000.
“I think it was great Prairie Trails was able to operate under what we had budgeted,” Young said.
“And they made a lot of improvements at the same time,” McKibban added.