Council holds two public hearings

The Fairview City Council met at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Fairview Community Building. Present for the meeting were Mayor Art Vonderschmidt, Council Members Charlie Kramer, Doug Bletscher, Sierra Renner, Bridget Harvey and Steve Holthaus, City Treasurer Kim Rettele, City Clerk Christine Rosenberger, City Code Officer Ashley Martinez, and City Employee George Blanton. There were nine guests present during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Public Hearings

Ordinance 2022-01

Vonderschmidt opened the first of two public hearings, for Ordinance 2022-01 to vacate streets and alleys on the former Butch Rogers property. With no public comment given, Vonderschmidt closed the public hearing. Then, the council unanimously approved Ordinance 2022-01.

Resolution 2022-5

Vonderschmidt opened the final public hearing for Resolution 2022-5 — for nuisance properties.

Martinez started the discussion by addressing each property listed on the resolution.

214 Maple Street: Martinez said the owner — Adrian Ramirez — had started scraping a good portion of the house and started painting, as well as cleaned up the trash and brush on the property. Martinez recommended the council not condemn the house at this time and to give him 30 days to finish cleaning up the property. Ramirez was present for the discussion and said the project should be completed “by Monday [Sept. 5].” The council voted unanimously to not condemn the house and give Ramirez 30 days to finish cleaning up the property.

212 Maple Street: Martinez said “a few improvements on the yard and in the back” had been made, as well as a new front porch has been put on, and a vehicle that was on blocks with no tires has been removed. However, Martinez said on the house that “not enough improvements have been made,” and she recommended the council condemn the house “at this time.”

Vonderschmidt reminded the council and those present that if the council “votes to condemn a property, it doesn’t mean that the dozer is coming in to tear it down.”

“It is just a step that we have to take to legally say that we have the right to do this to your house, if it’s not fixed in a timely manner,” Vonderschmidt said. “We don’t take it lightly. We have got to see improvements.”

The owner — Kirk Watson — was present for the discussion and after discussion with Watson, the council took Martinez’s recommendations and voted unanimously to condemn the house, and give Watson 60 days to make visible improvements on the outside of the home. The council will revisit the status of this particular property at their Nov. 3 meeting.

113 N Ash: Martinez said this is the Milan Kloeper property and it has already been torn down.

216 N Main: Martinez said the front porch and rotten siding needs to be fixed on this property. The owners — Kim Schuetz — were present for the discussion, and after discussion with Schuetz and Talley, the council took Martinez’s recommendations and voted unanimously to condemn the house, and give Schuetz and Talley 60 days to make visible improvements on the outside of the home. The council will revisit the status of this particular property at their Nov. 3 meeting.

310 W Commercial: Martinez said the shed on this property — owned by Stephanne Rupnicki — has already been torn down.

113 S Main Street: The owner of this property — Tom Rottinghaus — was not present for the meeting. However, Shawn Davidson was present for the discussion and said he plans to repair the shed behind the property with new tin and paint. The council voted unanimously — with Martinez’s recommendation — to not condemn the property and give him 30 days to fix the shed.

432 West Commercial: Martinez said this is the Don Wikle building and it has been fixed.

Old Business

Demolition Assistance

After approving a demolition assistance application for Paul Reynolds a few months prior, the council voted unanimously to deny the application after the demolition was not completed in the allotted time frame.

Jesus Lozano was present to submit a demolition assistance application to the council for the structure located at 113 W Maple. Lozano’s application had the cost for the demolition to be $5,000 in contractor costs and $3,000 in landfill costs, for an estimated total of $8,000. After discussion, the council unanimously voted to provide up to $2,000 in demolition costs.

City Sales Tax

Rettele said Brown County would be contacting her in mid-September to discuss how the city should proceed with public hearings regarding the 0.5 percent sales tax question, which will be on the November General Election ballot.

Park Electric Disconnect

Vonderschmidt said there was no update on the park electric disconnect.

Budget

Rettele reviewed the finalized budget following the city’s budget hearing on Aug. 15. The city discussed the changes they had requested to be made to the budget.

Vonderschmidt also updated the council on topics brought up at the previous meeting. He said he put new batteries in the men’s urinal at the Community Building. Also, the hole in the wall in the Community Building bathroom has not been addressed yet. Vonderschmidt said he had taken down Linda Lehmkuhl’s sign and put it behind Butch’s bar.

Rosenberger also took the cereal malt beverage license to Hack’s Steak Shack.

New Business

Reynolds asked if the city could fix the pothole in the post office parking lot. Rettele asked if the pot hole on the west side of the triangle could be fixed as well.

Reynolds also asked about a property, which is currently being mowed by the city.

Bletscher requested a demolition assistance application.

Holthaus asked about the blue street lights in town, which some people do not like. The council said the lights were installed by Evergy and they would need to be contacted about them.

K. Rettele reported she and Ron Rettele had picked up eight new tables and 30 new chairs at the cook shack in the city park. The total cost for these were $1,342.42. K. Rettele also discussed the two projects of painting the Fairview sign and painting at the cook shack in the city park. The Fairview Willing Workers 4-H Club and another group are planning to help on these two projects. 

K. Rettele also said she received some information about workers compensation claims and Brown County 2022 Notice of Estimated Ad Valorem Taxes.

Blanton told the council someone had dumped railroad ties, which were cut in half, at the brush pile.

Rosenberger said she sent in the sewer assessments. The city discussed the sewer bills and the procedure for collecting those bills.

Martinez asked the council if they were willing to pay for her to become a certified code enforcer. Martinez said the current fee for a partial year will be $30. Normally, the fee would be $40 per year. 

Martinez also asked if the council would be willing to pay for online training courses. According to Martinez, the three courses available for this year are zoning and code enforcement, procedures for a code enforcement officer, and bridging the communication gap in code enforcement. Each of these courses will take three hours to complete.

“Two of them [online courses] are $125 and one of them is $100,” Martinez said. “The total would be $380 in fees, including the membership.”

Martinez also asked if the council would pay her an hourly rate of $16 per hour to take the online courses, since they would be completed “off-site,” for a total of $144.

“I am all about more training,” Renner said. “I think we need to invest in our people. I think you’re doing a good job. I don’t know what our funding sources look like. I know that we did not build that into your position, nor did we allot for the $16 an hour. So, I don’t know who approves that, and who denies that. I think you bring a really good request forward and we need to entertain that.”

“My opinion is even if we didn’t pay you the $16 [per hour], what you’re going to learn from that would probably make your job easier,” Vomderschmidt said.

“And I’m fine with that, like I said, it doesn’t hurt to ask,” Martinez said. “If you guys are willing to approve to pay for the classes and the membership, I am fine with taking the classes, because it is going to make my job easier.”

“She is doing such a good job that having some certification, you might be able to answer more questions,” Vonderschmidt said.

After further discussion, the council decided to pay for Martinez’s membership and for the online courses, but not for the hourly wage of $16 per hour.

Martinez asked the council about Jessica McCulloch’s property and how the council wanted to proceed with her property. Martinez discussed the original ticket given to McCulloch, which had multiple items listed on it that needed to be addressed. After further discussion, Rosenberger said she would reach out to the city’s attorney — Martin Mishler — to ask about the possibility of finding an alternate judge, if one is needed.

Also at the meeting:

The council approved the minutes from the Aug. 4 regular meeting and the Aug. 15 budget hearing.

The council reviewed and approved the treasurer’s report.

The council approved to pay the bills.

Vonderschmidt discussed the correspondence they had received since the last meeting. Vonderschmidt said he received a bill for a tube that was installed at Fairview Mills. Vonderschmidt said Rodney Allen needed to bill someone, but the city will not be paying this bill. The city will deliver the bill to Fairview Mills.

The Fairview City Council will meet again for their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.

Heather Stewart198 Posts

Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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