Monday's city council meeting

In a shorter-than-usual meeting Monday night, the Augusta City Council handled several items of business.  Council members Ron Reavis and Cale Magruder were absent.
The first item of business was to schedule a public hearing to take input and comments on the proposed 2018 budget.
City Manager Josh Shaw told the council that the proposed budget does not include a lot of changes, but health care rising costs, police car rotations, and employee salary and benefits will be reflected in some increases.  
The State requires the City to conduct a public hearing and publication of the hearing at least 10 days prior.
“A formal presentation will be made at the public hearing...As a reminder, once the notice is published the Council can only lower the expenditures and mill levy in the proposed budget,” Shaw advised.
Council approved scheduling a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, at City Hall.

Council members also approved Resolution No. 2017-40 Requesting the State Director of Accounts and Reports Waive the Requirements of K.S.A. 75-1120a(a) with regard to the City’s 2017 financial statements and reports.
Erica Jones, city clerk and finance director, explained that the state requires municipalities to use accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S., in the preparation of the financial statements and reports.  The governing body of any municipality may waive the statutory GAAP requirement.  Those reporting requirements are for much larger cities with separate financial departments.  Although, the city waives the requirements, all financial statements and reports are made in compliance with the laws of Kansas.
Also approved was the acceptance of electric utility easement at 340 E. Broadway needed to support infrastructure enhancements.
Resolution on condemnation issue
An item that had been tabled on two previous occasions returned for an update Monday evening.  Pending the outcome of an inspection performed on Monday, the council would be required to authorize a contractor to backfill and grade remaining low spots at 1154 N. School Street, where a previously condemned residential structure and detached garage were demolished last month.  
“Travis (Combes) inspected the site today and  reported the grading job was good and all obligations have been satisfied,” stated Shaw.
No further action was required.
Matters from Council
Before adjournment, Councilman Tom Leffler opened a discussion on after-hours closing of the west side of the City Lake Road.
“I’d like for us to think about the possibility of closing the back side of the lake road in the evening hours.  I took Cody Sims back there a few weeks ago and he was amazed at the damage that had been done,” Leffler continued, “People would love to see that part closed.  They report hearing the noise (from ATVs) and by the time the police arrive, they’re gone.  There are two locations that would work for gates and the officers wouldn’t need to patrol if gates are locked.  I realize there are a lot of details to work out, but I would like to see a discussion.”
Mayor Matt Childers suggested the item could go to the Park Board for discussion and a recommendation be presented to Council.
Shaw added that he was aware that Councilor Leffler had spoken to a number of residents in the area and that closing the west side of the road at night might be a good idea.
“I would like to have someone from the Safety Department at the meeting with the Park Board,” said Councilman Mike Rawlings.
Leffler also asked about the progress on the new public works building.
Shaw explained that since working with an architect on a concept design, the city acquired two nearby properties and that the site plan should be re-visited.   
Shaw advised that the architect’s plans did not meet the budget and he’s interested in meeting with a metal building firm, who will provide a free design, along with more building for less money.  Council consensus was that Shaw should pursue obtaining information on metal buildings.