Former councilman to fill unexpired term
With Ward 4 Councilman Justin Londagin’s resignation earlier this month, left a vacancy on City Council. According to City Code, council members were asked to submit nominations to City Manager Josh Shaw to be considered for nominations to the open Ward 4 seat.
One name was submitted to be included on Monday night’s agenda: Ron Reavis, former councilor for nine years.
Mayor Mike Rawlings asked for any other nominations before conducting a vote. Councilors unanimously approved Reavis filling the unexpired term.
Angie Johnston with the Augusta High School Booster Club appeared before Council to request approval for the annual bonfire pep rally at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29, near the peninsula at Augusta City Lake.
Johnston reminded the council members that during the pep rally, the band, cheerleaders, and dance team perform for a crowd of approximately 500. Coaches of the fall sports will speak and some of the senior athletes, as well.
Volunteer firefighters Andy Hall and Jason Payne will light and maintain the bonfire and the event lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Council members approved the event, but stressed the concern about proper cleanup of the nails from the pallets used in the fire. Johnston assured them that the ashes and nails would be picked up by that Friday.
Sarah Hoefgen, Augusta Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, presented requests for approval of closing State Street from the 300 block to the 1100 block from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 for the Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally in downtown Augusta. The parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will start in front of the Augusta Middle School and travel south along State Street to the roundabout at Third Street for the pep rally. This year’s parade and pep rally expects to draw 500 to 1,000 people, as the event will be part of Augusta’s 150th Birthday Celebration.
Council approved the request, 6-0.
Hoefgen also requested permission to close State Street at 7th Ave. and south to just past the roundabout at Third Street, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. The 150th Birthday Celebration events will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The request was approved, 6-0.
Hoefgen asked that council members discuss the City of Augusta flag contest, which was announced recently.
According to Council notes, council members on May 3, 1999, endorsed and authorized the Augusta Historical Museum to create and sell an official city flag as a fundraiser. On Oct. 18, 1999, Council accepted the design submitted by Jim Wheatley, as recommended by the Augusta Historical Museum.
City Manager Josh Shaw provided those notes to council members Monday night.
“I’ve spoken to the designer. The design is almost unreproducible. There are too many colors...My concern is that it can’t be reproduced digitally. He was taken aback. He put a lot of effort into it...But is it actually official?” asked Mayor Rawlings.
Councilor Cale Magruder stated that he liked the idea of a contest, but was afraid that “the cart was before the horse” and more discussion was needed.
“There was some feeling that this was the official flag,” he said.
Shaw suggested that “official flag” needs examined because there is nothing in the city code concerning flags.
City Attorney Austin Parker shared that there would be nothing illegal in having two flags and that other cities continue to update their official flags and/or seals.
Councilor Paul Belt suggested that Wheatley’s flag could be kept as an honorary flag and displayed in various city venues.
Hoefgen said that the Arts Council could narrow down entries for a new design and submit to the Council for a decision.
Councilor Tom Leffler asked what if the council didn’t like any of the designs.
“Are we actually gonna make an official flag for the city or is it a way to make money?”
Parker suggested, “You could let it die and take no action. Let the contest run and later if you want, you can adopt it as the official city flag.”
Hoefgen stated that she’d really like to see a new simple design like Wichita’s new city flag that can be reproduced on items.
“I like the idea of a contest, but I have a problem with us endorsing it,” Councilor Kip Richardson said.
Magruder agreed, “I would love to see it move forward, but I don’t want to shove it through. More planning and thought need to go into it.”
“I would like to see the contest go on and perhaps we can use the winning design,” stated Councilman Belt.
“Be careful what promises you make,” warned Leffler.
Hoefgen stated that she would meet with the Arts Council and see if they wish to move ahead with the contest.
Earlier this year, Council approved the City’s renewed membership in the REAP organization, and as part of the membership benefits, staff members have taken advantage of various training opportunities available to members through REAP and their partnership with the Kansas Leadership Center.
Augusta’s Public Safety Department is interested in utilizing the training for supervisors and officers interested in developing their skills for supervisory tracts, so the City discussed the possibility of pursuing its own Leadership Transformation Grant to cover the costs for training of 20 or more individuals within the city.
Council approved, 6-0, Resolution No. 2018-23 acknowledging support of the application for the grant.
The water fountain purchase for Shryock Park returned to council. Earlier this month, the councilors approved the purchase of a $4,016 ADA-compliant water fountain with a bottler filler and a dog bowl to be installed along the pedestrian trail in Shryock Park, near the new public restroom facility and splash pad.
When staff contacting the vendor to confirm the correct price of the freeze resistant model and place the order, it was discovered the $4,016.03 price is for the model that is not freeze resistant.
The price of the freeze resistant model is an additional $1,508.98, making the price $5,525.11 from PRO Drinking Fountains.
Because the costs exceed the cost approved by Council earlier, the item was required to be resubmitted for approval.
A bid of $4,292.62 from Halsey Taylor Outdoor for the freeze resistant model and the lowest out of three bids, was approved.
Take the dogs swimming
The Park Advisory Board recommended the approval of a canine swim event to take place at the Augusta Municipal Pool in September, at the conclusion of the summer swim season. Council recently approved the canine swim even, but there were concerns for consideration:
1. What vaccinations should be required of all the dogs participating?
2. Should there be a signed waiver of liability that would allow the dog owner to certify the dog is current on required vaccinations?
3. Should a lifeguard be on duty during the event?
Assistant City Manager Cody Sims explained that Dr. Mike Cocke with the Augusta Animal Clinic offered his professional input on what vaccinations should be required for all the dogs participating. His recommended vaccinations include:
Dr. Cocke also agreed that a Waiver of Liability would be good to have signed at the time dogs enter the swimming pool.
Sims also advised that the underwriter for EMC Insurance recommends having a lifeguard present any time the pool is open. Pool manager and certified lifeguard Amanda Johnston advises she will be available for the canine swim event.
Council approved the event to take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, at the City Pool.