The City Commission of Arkansas City has set a study session later this month to discuss certain aspects of the Agri-Business Building.

The special meeting will be at noon Sept. 20 at the public building, which is located at 712 W. Washington Ave.

In July, the commissioners voted to move forward on roof restoration and other maintenance that had been deferred for several years. At the time, the roof project for the building was estimated to cost $67,500. Since that time, the overall cost of repairs has exceeded $88,000.

“The (new) ceiling fans are in and operational,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez. “They really move a lot of air.”

Newer, more efficient heating units also have been installed, along with new plumbing fixtures in the public restrooms and new lighting.

Some of the improvements will bring the building into better compliance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“What we want to do is skin the walls with metal,” Hernandez said, but he admitted the decorative improvement would be pricey.

His other controversial proposal is to possibly eliminate the tennis courts inside the building.

The building currently has a textured rubber coating on its south floor that is used by tennis players, and also from time to time by the Arkansas City Public School District and Cowley College. However, there is no contract for this usage and it is not coordinated with the city.

“(The indoor tennis association members) have keys and just willy-nilly go in whenever they feel like,” Hernandez said.

Parks and Facilities Director Tony Tapia said most of the damage fixed in the past eight weeks is due to the abuse caused by tennis balls.

“We wouldn’t have had to replace the insulation if it hadn’t been damaged,” he said.

The current flooring is in a bad enough state that it needs to be repaired or replaced. Hernandez said he is leaning toward cement, as it will not need as much maintenance and would be much easier to keep clean. The commissioners requested the work session to discuss this further.

Jeep purchase tabled

The commissioners tabled until Sept. 18 a resolution that would have approved the purchase of a 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4×4.

If purchased, the Latitude would replace the Jeep Liberty currently used by Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Frazee.

In particular, the four-wheel drive vehicle is used to travel on the city levees for routine checks and in certain emergency situations.

The Liberty was used by the police department, as well, when it first was purchased in 2004, according to Police Capt. Mark McCaslin.

Currently, the 14-year-old vehicle has around 71,000 miles on it, all from within the city limits, and shows some noticeable wear and tear in its suspension, especially when making use of the all-wheel drive, according to Public Works Director Mike Crandall.

Commissioner Kanyon Gingher said she thought it would be better to evaluate whether the existing city vehicle could be fixed and used longer.

This agenda item will be addressed again at the next City Commission meeting.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • witnessed Vice Mayor Jay Warren proclaiming Sept. 9-15 as Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Ark City. Representatives of Mosaic, a local developmental disability organization, and the Equal Opportunity and Accessibility Advisory Board were present.
  • heard concerns from citizen Ken Harader about excess trash and large items being left on curbs in residential areas.
  • unanimously approved the following consent agenda items:
    • approving the Aug. 21 regular meeting minutes;
    • purchasing a 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 crew-cab pickup truck from Zeller Motor Company for the Parks and Facilities Division, for an amount not to exceed $22,000;
    • authorizing a public meeting of the City Commission to attend a Public Building Commission meeting at 5 p.m. Sept. 18 at City Hall.
  • unanimously approved an amendment to an ordinance fixing the compensation for updated city positions. The changes include:
    • eliminating the Public Services Superintendent position once current superintendent Randy Jacobs retires later this month;
    • eliminating the Public Services Supervisor and Sanitation Lead positions;
    • creating new supervisor positions for the new Sanitation and Street & Stormwater divisions;
    • replacing nine Public Services Maintenance Worker positions with four Sanitation Driver and five Sanitation Collector positions.
  • unanimously approved a personnel policy update related to the city’s compensation plan.
  • held a public hearing to consider and voted 4-0 to approve a resolution authorizing the city to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to replace water lines in Sleeth Addition.
    • unanimously approved a resolution certifying the legal authority to apply for the 2019 Kansas Small Cities CDBG program from the Kansas Department of Commerce, and authorizing Mayor Dan Jurkovich to sign and submit such an application.
    • unanimously approved a resolution assuring the Kansas Department of Commerce that funds will be provided continually for the operation and maintenance of improvements to the Arkansas City water system to be financed with CDBG funds.
  • unanimously approved a resolution declaring the eligibility of the city to submit an application to the Kansas Department of Transportation for the use of Transportation Alternatives funds for the hike-bike trail extension project, and authorizing Jurkovich to sign and submit such an application.
  • designated Jurkovich, Commissioner Duane Oestmann and Commissioner Karen Welch as the city’s three voting delegates to the League of Kansas Municipalities’ annual business meeting.

Jurkovich was not present at the Sept. 4 meeting.