Changes at city's compost site begin July 23

Most Augusta residents will be pleased with the new changes at the city’s compost site, which begin Wednesday, July 23.  In addition to new hours, the compost and limb yard are being combined, making it easier for the city employees to oversee and to avoid routine/random inspections of the compost site from Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
“The inspector recommended that berms be installed to contain the run-off water and funnel that water into a grass filter before allowing it to reach the main drainage ditch.  With the consolidation, the run-off water will be diverted into a series of ditches before reaching the main ditch,” City Manager Josh Shaw advised Council members at Monday night’s regular meeting.
Shaw also explained that new consolidation change will eliminate the need for KDHE to perform inspections of the compost facility, as KDHE regulations state that if the facility is less than half an acre than the city will only have to register the facility and no longer have to obtain a permit.
“Also, moving the compost site into the limb yard will eliminate the need to use the aging compost turner and staff can use a loader to turn the compost.  We’re able to be open more hours without using more staff,” Shaw also stated.
The new hours, effective July 23 are as follows:
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Wednesday through Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Councilor Sue Jones said, “I think citizens will be pleased with the new hours.  The site will be open more.  Good job.”
The Council approved the measure 8-0.
Councilman Jason Lowery did request that the Sunday hours be monitored to see if the site is used enough to warrant being open on Sundays.
2014-2018 Strategic Plan
At the March 17, 2014 regular meeting, the first draft of the City’s five year strategic plan was presented to the Council for review.  After discussing the document the Council directed staff to place the strategic plan on the City’s website, ask for public comments, and to bring those comments back for consideration.
“We’ve prioritized the stated goals and objectives.  Two different surveys were used to collect feedback.  Council has reviewed the results of the surveys.  I’m presented a final draft for your approval,” City Manager Shaw advised.
The analysis included the composite scores and ranking for the goals as follows:
1.  Goal 1: Assure stable funding for future City services by maximizing stewardship of current revenues and initiating actions to achieve financial sustainablity (Score 91.92).
2. Goal 2: Complete timely maintenance and investments to City’s infrastructure and other capital assets (Score 91.54).
3.  Goal 3: Contribute to expansion of businesses and high-paying jobs by supportive City initiatives, responsive municipal services and efficient coordination amount community partners (Score 84.23).
4. Goal 4: Model performance innovation and excellence in the delivery of City services, and cultivate an affirming workplace for employees (Score 84.23).
5.  Goal 5: Provide leadership for improving the visual attractiveness and aesthetic appeal of the community (Score 83.46).
6.  Goal 6: Enhance the city’s quality of life amenities with emphasis on contributing to the health and well being of residents and visitors (Score 77.31).
7.  Goal 7:  Improve public communication to inform the community about City services and initiatives (Score 68.55).
The next step in the process following the Council’s 8-0 approval for adoption, is to develop an implementation strategy.
Other action
The Council approved 8-0 a request by the Augusta Chamber of Commerce to use the council chambers in order to  conduct a Candidates Forum for the Kansas House of Representatives 77th District Seat at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29th.
Council approved 8-0 the Augusta Housing Authority’s recommendation to appoint Chuck Bowman as Commissioner of the Housing Authority for at four-year term ending April 2018.
The Council also approved scheduling budget work sessions for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 14th and Monday, July 28th, at the Council chambers at City Hall.
Councilor Ron Reavis thanked residents who picked up trash and debris from the fireworks show, “Shame on those who didn’t.  Thank you to the Harveys and lake walkers and the civic-minded who also picked up trash around the lake and park.”
Councilor Sue Jones reported that she had heard a number of complaints concerning unmown lawns and furniture on porches.  She asked that City Inspector Dan Allen report to the Council on what is being done on code enforcement.  “Some neighborhoods are quite unsightly and most likely,  unsafe.”
Mayor Kristey Williams asked for further consideration of allowing tied bags of trash placed next to residents’ trash bins over holidays.  More discussion is expected.
Councilor Matt Childers closed the meeting with, “I want to thank the Downtown Augusta, Inc. people for a great festival.  I heard that it exceeded all expectations and that the organizers are already planning a bigger and better one next year.”