The City Commission of Arkansas City toured a new fire truck, said goodbye to a police canine and discussed the legality of throwing stars in a somewhat unconventional meeting Aug. 21.

The mention of throwing stars was part of a discussion of the annual update to the Uniform Public Offense Code, which incorporates recent changes in Kansas criminal laws. But the law changed very little this year. Throwing stars are now legal to possess if not intended as weapons.

However, the meeting began with the recognition of one of Arkansas City Police Department’s most beloved officers.

Ten-year-old K-9 officer Lee, a Belgian Malinois, was retired during the meeting after eight years of service.

Lee and his handler, Master Police Officer Jeremy Samson, both attended the meeting, as did Samson’s wife.

Police Chief Dan Ward offered a few words about Lee on the eve of his retirement.

“Typically, canines retire around their seventh or eighth birthday,” Ward said. “Lee is an exceptional dog and made it a couple (more) years.”

“During his career, (Lee) has made himself known as the most loved and most feared officer in the department,” Ward added.

“We all wish him well in his retirement and many treats, without having to catch a bad guy first.”

The chief saluted the dog, announcing that Lee would spend his retirement with the Samsons. He then scratched the dog between his ears and shook Samson’s hand before watching the former partners walk out of the commission room together.

New pumper

The commission also voted unanimously to purchase a new pumper truck for the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department.

Courtesy photo

Fire Chief Bobby Wolfe explained that the quote he received was tailored to the specifications and the needs of the department, rather than a one-size-fits-all option. This help to keep down the cost by at least $100,000, he estimated.

A representative of Master Fire Equipment, Inc., also attended the meeting. He arrived in Arkansas City in a demonstration version of the Ferrara-brand truck, which the commissioners were able to tour and examine at length midway through the meeting.

The truck to be replaced was purchased in 1995 and has reached the end of its useful life.

Maintenance costs on that pumper have increased in the past few years and, due to mechanical issues that occur on a regular basis, the apparatus has been down and unable to respond on several occasions, Wolfe said.

The modern life expectancy of pumper trucks is somewhere between 18 and 20 years, according to industry standards.

The suggested maximum purchase price was $605,712, but Commissioner Kanyon Gingher made and Commissioner Jay Warren seconded a motion for the total cap to be set at $120,000, providing about an additional $15,000.

This additional funding would cover the price of a “blackout” package, which alters the standard chrome on the truck to a coating much like what is used for Rhino-brand linings in truck beds.

The blackout price is negotiable, City Attorney Tamara Niles discovered while the commissioners were exploring the demonstration truck.

The pumper truck will be purchased with a lease-purchase agreement that will last 10 years, according to City Manager Nick Hernandez.

The payments each year will be somewhere between $70,000 and $75,000, he indicated, which is less than the city had been paying on its aerial platform that it recently paid off.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • recognized Master Police Officer Chase Hobart for his receipt of the 2018 School Resource Officer of the Year award from the Kansas Juvenile Officers Association.
  • held public hearings and declared as dangerous structures located at 1311 N. Eighth St., 831 S. E St., 1304 S. A St. and 1023 S. B St.
  • voted unanimously to authorize the city to purchase a 2018 Ford F-550 4×4 cab and chassis with Altec Model AT40-G telescopic articulating aerial device with ISO-Boom from Altec Industries, Inc., of Birmingham, Alabama, for an amount not to exceed $112,819.
  • unanimously approved ordinances adopting by reference the 2018 Uniform Public Offense Code and 2018 Standard Traffic Ordinance.
  • unanimously authorized an update to the Municipal Water Conservation Plan for the City of Arkansas City.
  • heard updates from Hernandez, including reminders that city offices will be closed on Labor Day and that South Central Kansas Medical Center will be hosting to its fourth annual SCKMC Landrush fundraiser on Aug. 25, as well as the announcement of janitor Donnie Evans’ retirement party from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Aug. 24 at City Hall.
  • received a requested report concerning usage of the city’s bulldozer and excavator.