The City Commission of Arkansas City unanimously approved the purchase of one mower for the Public Works Department, which was half of the request brought before the commission on June 21.

The original request was for the purchase of two mowers, one of which features four-wheel drive and can be utilized in rough terrain. This particular model came at a cost of $17,385.

The other features a zero-turn radius, but does not have four-wheel drive — at a cost of $17,500.

Both purchases were within the 2016 budget.

Commissioner Dan Jurkovich chose to make a motion to purchase only the $17,385 mower, stating it would be prudent not only to purchase less equipment, but to delay the purchase of the mower until at least later in the year, due to last year’s purchase of two similar models.

The other four commissioners agreed with Jurkovich.

Public Works Director Eric Broce inquired if the department could bring the purchase back before the commission if a need arises.

Several commissioners responded “of course.”

Two older mowers that are “non-functional,” according to Assistant Public Works Director Mike Crandall, will be put up for sale in the near future.

Hospital update

South Central Kansas Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Holly Harper informed the commission of the current financial status of the hospital.

While most income numbers were down less than 10 percent from the same period in 2015, there is good news regarding the massive accounts payable balance.

At the beginning of 2016, the balance sat at just more than $2 million, but that has been paid down to $1,478,650, with most of the shrinking occurring in the bills that are 120 days old or more.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but this is probably the best (PowerPoint) slide I’ve shown you yet,” Harper said.

Jurkovich, who originally red-flagged the mounting accounts payable in February, was impressed with the numbers.

“It’s a big improvement. It’s incredible,” he said.

Harper indicated the payments from insurances, and from Medicare and Medicaid, could be higher — approximately $1 million per year — if the procedure coding were to become slightly more accurate.

In other business, the commission:

  • heard from citizen Ken Harader regarding property maintenance issues with the Family Dollar store, located at 1313 N. Summit St., and a request to make First Street a one-way street. Commissioners directed Broce to look into the code issues and begin planning for a traffic study of the area to see what could be done.
  • recognized Arkansas City Police Department Capt. Mark McCaslin’s graduation from the FBI National Academy.
  • unanimously approved the purchase of a late-model Ford Taurus to replace a police administration vehicle that was totaled in a recent accident. The purchase was approved for an amount not to exceed $14,000 from a dealership in the Kansas City, Mo., area.
  • unanimously approved the consent agenda.
  • unanimously authorized funding not to exceed $175,000 for financial, operational and strategic assessment consulting services for SCKMC.
  • unanimously approved a charter ordinance regarding the City of Arkansas City’s form of government to provide provisions for elected officers, terms of office and the filling of governing body vacancies. This was made necessary by the move to November elections.
  • held a public hearing on and authorized Mayor Duane Oestmann to execute a certificate of the city’s approval of the use of Industrial Revenue Bond proceeds at Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor.
  • unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the imposition of a special 1-percent citywide retailers’ sales tax for SCKMC and related matters.
  • unanimously approved an ordinance modifying municipal code regarding court costs. The state is demanding an extra $2.50 for each case starting July 1.
  • appointed Commissioner Charles Tweedy III to be the commission’s third representative on the Strother Field Commission, and named Commissioners Karen Welch and Jurkovich as alternates. Tweedy was replaced on the Arkansas City Public Library Board of Trustees by Oestmann.