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The City of Arkansas City strives to provide a high quality of life for its citizens by furnishing a variety of efficient services in a professional, courteous manner.

New mayor selected, new commissioner appointed at reorganization meeting

The City Commission of Arkansas City selected a new mayor, appointed a replacement commissioner and awarded a design contract for three new water lines during its annual reorganization meeting April 19 at City Hall, 118 W. Central Ave.

 Unknown Image Duane Oestmann was named the new mayor, replacing Commissioner Chad Giles, who served two consecutive terms in that role from 2014 to 2016.

Also, former commissioner and mayor Charles Tweedy III was selected unanimously to fill the unexpired term of Brandon Every, who resigned April 5.

Tweedy previously served on the City Commission from 1987 to 1991, from 1993 to 1995 and from 2011 to 2015.

His new term will last through the second commission meeting of January 2018.

Citizens may watch a replay of the commission meeting here.

The major new business of the night was to award a contract for engineering design, bidding, construction administration, staking and inspection services to Smith & Oakes, Inc. for 2016 water line replacement projects in three neighborhoods, for an amount not to exceed $192,100.

The three affected neighborhoods were prioritized based on several different criteria, including:

  • The number of discolored water complaints and flushing frequency in the areas;
  • The number of water main breaks and the associated total costs;
  • The capacity of the fire protection in the area to water main size limitations;
  • The effectiveness of disbursing a chemical scaling agent through the system to those areas.

All of these different components are plotted on the City’s GIS (Geographic Information Systems) maps and tracked through various other means, as well.

Based on these factors, the following neighborhoods were targeted as priority areas for replacement:

  • Brad Meek Addition — North A and C streets, Meek Avenue, Random Road and Stanley Drive;
  • Hillside Addition — Radio Lane, Edgemont and Highland drives, Fairlane, and Greenway Avenue;
  • Crestwood Addition — Eastridge Drive, Ravinia Court and Valley Road.

The Brad Meek project, which will be Phase 1, will improve 121 services and cost an estimated $715,000.

The Hillside project, Phase 2, will help 64 addresses and cost about $595,000.

Phase 3 would be the Crestwood improvements, estimated around $240,000 to address 21 services.

When combined with the 40 services that will be impacted by a planned street improvement project on Summit Street, from Birch Avenue to Walnut Avenue, a total of 246 customers could benefit from the 3.1 miles of new water lines, at a total cost of approximately $2 million over the next two years.

By way of comparison, 212 services were improved and 2.6 miles replaced, at a cost of $1.244 million, by a series of 10 smaller replacement projects dating back to 2011.

Prior to 2011, almost no replacement lines had been constructed for at least a decade, according to City officials.

Design will proceed for the next several months and the earliest construction bids could be opened would be in August. The first construction contract could be awarded in September.

Actual construction on all three phases, starting with Phase 1 and depending on what is ultimately approved by the City Commission, would last from this October until July 2017.

Other reorganization decisions

In addition to the mayoral selection and commission appointment, other moves made April 19 by the commission during its annual reorganization meeting were:

  • Commissioner Dan Jurkovich, the second-highest vote-getter in the last election, was named vice mayor for the second time in his political career. Oestmann was the highest vote-getter.
  • Commissioners Giles, Oestmann and Jay Warren were retained as Arkansas City’s representatives to the Strother Field Commission.
  • Tweedy will replace Every as the commission’s representative on the Arkansas City Convention and Tourism Board. Oestmann recently had been acting informally in this capacity.
  • Jurkovich will remain as the commission’s nonvoting representative to the South Central Kansas Medical Center Board of Trustees.
  • Tweedy will replace Jurkovich as Arkansas City’s representative to the Cowley County Economic Development Partnership.
  • Tweedy will replace Oestmann as an ex officio member of the Arkansas City Public Library Board of Trustees, with voting privileges on that board.
  • The Arkansas City Traveler was designated as the official city newspaper for the publication of legal notices.
  • CornerBank was designated as the primary depository for City banking services. In addition, RCB Bank, Union State Bank, The Stock Exchange Bank, and Community National Bank & Trust were named as potential depositories for City funds.

A small reception was held in Oestmann’s honor after the meeting in the hallway outside the commission room, with many of his family members in attendance.

In other business April 19, the City Commission:

  • Heard from citizen Steven Young about several issues, including the prior meeting’s minutes.
  • Witnessed Giles’ proclamation of April 29 as Arbor Day in Arkansas City. Beautification and Tree Advisory Board members Bob Foster and Peggy Soule received the proclamation.
  • Unanimously approved the following consent agenda items: approval of the April 5 regular meeting minutes as written; and approval of a resolution authorizing the transfer of title of real estate at 1012 E. Tyler Ave. to Chris Kabo, LLC.
  • Unanimously approved authorizing City Manager Nick Hernandez to finalize negotiations and enter into a voluntary annexation agreement, as previously presented, with Arkansas City Industries, Inc. for parcels at 101 and 102 Goff Industrial Park Road. The agreement allows for immediate annexation, but phases in the City’s additional taxes over a 10-year period. If approved, the voluntary annexation would go to the Planning Commission for a public hearing.
  • Voted 4-1 to ratify Oestmann’s appointments of Warren “Hap” McLeod and Karen Zeller to the South Central Kansas Medical Center Board of Trustees, with Jurkovich dissenting.
  • Unanimously ratified Oestmann’s appointment of Jackie Barnett Sr. to the Northwest Community Center Advisory Board.
  • Unanimously ratified Oestmann’s reappointments of Mary Benton to the Board of Zoning Appeals and Albert Brown to the Planning Commission.
  • Unanimously ratified Oestmann’s appointments of Kayleigh Lawson and Kammy Downs to the Arkansas City Public Library Board of Trustees.
  • Unanimously approved a resolution adopting by reference the Arkansas City Beautification and Tree Advisory Board’s proposed Park Adoption Policy. The policy will clear the way for interested neighborhood residents to adopt Catalpa Park, with a proposal scheduled on April 29.
  • Unanimously approved an ordinance exempting the application to allow the consumption of alcohol during PrairieFest on June 3 at Wilson Park. This is the same consideration given to the event last year after it moved back to Ark City from Winfield, with no problems resulting.
  • Unanimously approved emergency repairs at the Water Treatment Facility by Viola Company, of Ponca City, Okla., for an amount not to exceed $13,175. The company will remove about 5 feet of lime sludge from the primary softening basin at the plant so other repairs can proceed.
  • Heard an update from City Manager Nick Hernandez on the Salvation Army’s community needs assessment, under way as of Wednesday; the 2016 Summer Outdoor Movie Series in Wilson Park, which will begin Friday night; the pending hiring of a health care consultant, which he said may require a 30-minute conference call involving all of the commissioners; and the possibility of board training for the SCKMC Board of Trustees.
  • Received a financial update, covering the first four months of 2016, from SCKMC chief financial officer Holly Harper.
  • Was addressed just prior to adjournment by Giles, who offered the commission’s condolences to the family of Jim Graham, a local electrician and member of the Building Trades Advisory Board who recently passed away.