Sam Binter Tennis Complex

The Ribbon Cutting and Dedication hosted by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce was held Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 5:30pm.

Among the guests in attendance was former Superintendent Sue Givens, along with current school board members and City Commissioners.  The tennis court project was a joint venture between the City of El Dorado and USD490.

Mayor Vince Haines and Superintendent Teresa Tosh shared remarks with the crowd before USD490 School Board President, Norm Wilks help Mayor Haines cut the ribbon.

Mayor Vince Haines and USD490 Board of Education President Norm Wilkes cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Sam Binter Tennis Complex located on North Main Street. 

Sam Binter, left, and USD490 Superintendent Teresa Tosh with the comparative plaque. 

City of El Dorado 2020 Budget Approved

El Dorado Boy Scout Troop #222 made a visit to the City Commission meeting to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The City of El Dorado Budget for 2020 was approved Monday night. City Manager David Dillner explained to the Commission that the Total Budget Authority for the year is expected to be $32.9 million.

Jordan Buxton, El Dorado Chamber of Commerce Director, along with Sue Hoefgen of Augusta Chamber of Commerce, shared information on the Butler County Act Program.

The goal of the Butler County Act Program is to create an ACT ready community. ACT Work Ready Communities Program (WRC) empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth.

Commissioner Wilkinson stated, “As a former educator I appreciate it is not just the schools involved but the chamber as well.” Mayor Haines added that he appreciates the bridge between the workforce and schools.

A date of September 12th is scheduled to launch the program. To learn more contact Jordan Buxton at the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce or Sara Hoefgen at the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

Also appearing before the Commission was the HollyFrontier Western Celebration chairman, Tabitha Sharp. She was joined by the newly crowned Miss Frontier 2019, Naomi Galindo. They shared information about the upcoming festival and invited the Commissioners to attend this year’s event.

The festival begins Friday, August 9 with Mutton Bustin’, the Extreme Bull Blowout, and a concert by Kyle Park.

Saturday includes a parade through downtown, the Kids Korral at East Park in partnership with the Butler County History Center and Kansas Oil Museum. A Junior Ranch Rodeo will be held at 1p on Saturday followed by the Butler County Ranch Rodeo and a concert with Jason Callahan.

The weekend rounds out with Cowboy Church on Sunday. Tickets are $10, can be purchased at the gate, and provide admission to the festival all weekend. The City of El Dorado is a sponsor of the HollyFrontier Western Celebration. The HollyFrontier Western Celebration is a committee of El Dorado Main Street.

Noise Complaint from Neighbor of Wichita PD Officer

At the most recent Board of Butler County Commissioners meeting, Butler County resident of Douglass, Jeff Runyon appeared before the Board during the “Public Comments” to appeal for help in resolving a long-running nuisance with neighbor who is a Wichita Police Department Officer.

Citing the near daily running of 4-Wheelers, Mr. Runyan expressed his frustration with the noise pollution. “These are not regular four wheelers, they are racing bikes with hardly any mufflers [and] has gone on for 5 years.”  He stated the noise level has increased each year.

He presented a specific incident when he called the Sheriff’s office. On October 1, 2016, the noise began at 8a in the morning and continued all day. From his home, half a mile away, he documented the noise with a decibel meter at 79 decibels. After canister fireworks went off, he called the Sheriff, it was approximately 10:30p.  Once the Sheriff’s deputy had left, Mr. Runyan heard individuals get back on the bikes and make comments such as “take that.”

In addition to the disruption to daily life, he noted “You can’t do anything without wondering when and where it’s going to start up.” Also, he has witnessed that the behavior is harassing wildlife.

Pleading with the Commission, he asked for serious help in putting together a noise resolution that can be enforced. “It is obnoxious behavior.  Where’s our rights and what can we do?”

“[Mr. Runyan] is not only one in that area complaining”  stated Commissioner Woydziak “We need to look at an enforceable law.”

Sheriff Kelly Herzet can not currently issue a ticket according to Butler County Attorney, Darrin Devinney.  He presented the challenges to prosecution under the active ordinance. It is an undetermined misdemeanor imposing a $500-$2000 fine for a first offense as a Class A misdemeanor.

Some of those challenges include the need for standardized equipment to enforce, as well as the cumulative effect of sound as a problem. Mr. Devinney asked, “Do we [prosecute] the land owner or all the parties? We have talked about this at length.  Sheriff Herzet and David Alfaro have spoken with Mr. Runyan regarding the remedies available to him.”

Sheriff Herzet has been accumulating sound ordinances violation for several years and this situation has been well documented.

Commissioner Masterson asked if a decibel level is set within the current ordinance and it was identified as limiting the allowable decibel level.

With respect to obtaining standardized equips for the department, he stated, “A decibel meter is not too expensive.” Sheriff Herzet outlines the actions he has taken. “What I’ve done is I have reached out. This guy is a Wichita police officer. Made contact … to let him know we’re on a complaint.” Sheriff Herzet added, “I like riding motorcycles but not from 8a-10p.”

County Administrator, Will Johnson informed the Commission that the complaint of out of season fireworks is currently enforceable.

The Commission determined to investigate how to amend the ordinance.

City Commission

At the El Dorado City Commission meeting Monday night, the consent agenda was approved (4-0) with Commissioner Badwey absent. On the consent agenda was the following items:

  1. Approval of City Commission Minutes from June 3, 2019 and City Commission Special
  2. Minutes from May, 15, 28 and 29, 2019.
  3. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance No. 06-19 in the amount of $4,260,102.71.
  4. Temporary Beer License for BCC at Drums Across Kansas.

Items of business brought before the commission began with Brian Minnis, Chief Development Officer of GreatLIFE Golf and Fitness.  He appeared before the Commission to answer questions regarding the lease and transaction process with the golf course. There is a delay with finalizing the transaction due to one of the five partners retiring and divesting his investment in the company.  The Commission approved the execution of the Prairie Trails Lease Agreement 4-0

Jay Shivers from the Engineering Department presented the Special Use Permit (SUP) application for the expansion of Deer Grove RV Park onto 2.3 acres at 2953 SE Highway 54.  A SUP allows specific uses to take place on a property. The zoning ordinance allows campgrounds with a SUP on this property, which is zoned Manufactured Home Park Residential District. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on May 30th, 2019, to review the application and they voted to unanimously recommend approval of the application.  Conditions may be placed on the SUP .

The current zoning district allows single-family residential and manufactured home parks. The SUP was  approved with condition of a 6 foot privacy fence to limit the impact of the special use. It was approved 4-0.

The City of El Dorado requested bids for the rehabilitation and sealing of runway 4/22 at the Captain Jack Thomas Memorial Airport.  The lowest and best bid was determined to be from Pearson Construction at $236,311.38. The City has requested assistance from the FAA and has been granted funding in the amount of 90% of the project. The cost to the City will be $36,100 which has been budgeted in the airport fund.

The Commission authorized the City Manager to execute the contract with the FAA and upon concurrence from them, award the contract to Pearson Construction for the Runway 4/22 project, 4-0.

In an effort to address dangerous and unfit structures, staff has determined from our unsafe-unfit structures list, 5 homes that an ultimate resolution needs to be addressed. Those homes are:

1107 W Carr; 1108 W Carr; 426 W 7th; 802 S Taylor; and 205 N Washington.

Chapter 15.16 of El Dorado Municipal Code sets forth the avenue to rectify the ongoing issues with these structures.  If the owner of the property is unable to cause a structure to be razed the City Commission is the ultimate entity responsible for demolition cost. A special assessment would be placed on the property in hopes of recovering the cost.  The Commission authorized (4-0) the scheduling of a public hearing on August 19, 2019 at 6:30 for the purpose of abating or removing the dangerous structures at 1107 W Carr, 1108 W Carr, 426 W 7th, 802 S Taylor and 205 N Washington.

A public hearing was held for the purpose of considering an application to be submitted to the Kansas Department of Commerce for Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funds under the Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation category.

The project considered for the grant is for the rehabilitation of the building located 142 North Main Street El Dorado, Kansas at the corner of North Main Street and West 1st Street. The proposed rehabilitation project will consist of installing a perimeter drain system inside the building, demolition of roof down to concrete roof slab, install new roof drains with overflow drains, R-30 insulation, TPO roof membrane and fire suppression system. The estimated project cost is $330,600.00, with the grant request for $247,950.00 of the project cost and a local match of $82,650.00.

Under previous ownership, maintenance of the property was neglected resulting in a failed roof and extensive water damage throughout the building. In April of this year, the building was purchased by Nathan and Nicole Ensminger with the intent to bring the building up to code and rehabilitate the interior for occupancy of multiple tenants on the first and second floors. As an anchor building in the core of downtown El Dorado, the property is eligible for Community Development Block Grant funding under the current 2019 Downtown Commercial Rehabilitation program.  Costs for the administration of the grant will be paid from grant proceeds.

The Commissioning approved the declaration of the building as blighted, with respect to the Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program. The Resolution certifying legal authority to apply for the 2019 Kansas Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program from the Kansas Department of Commerce was approved, 4-0.  Additionally, the Commission directed City Manager, David Dillner to execute a contract with South Central Kansas Economic Development District (SCKEDD) for administrative services for the Community Development Block Grant, 4-0.

Kurt Bookout, Director of Public Utilities, appeared to present bids for the Prairie Trails Pump Station.  No bids were received for the project. City staff contacted Electrical Systems, Inc. (ESI) of Wichita, and requested a bid which they submitted a bid in June for the project.  The purpose of the project is to increase the operational flexibility and efficiency of the Booster Pump Station by adding a jockey pump, by-pass piping and valves, pump VFD and controls.  The addition of these items to the station will decrease electrical costs significantly. The bid received was for $55,000 with a discount provided of $5,500, so the actual project cost will be $49,500. The project was budgeted and the water fund is anticipated to fall within their targeted cash range this year.

The Commission voted (4-0) to direct the City Manager to execute the contract with ESI for the Prairie Trails Pump Station.


Board of Butler County Commission

Keith Lawing, President and CEO of  Workforce Alliance, appeared before the Board of Butler County Commissioners to present a request to approve agreement between Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Inc. and the Chief Elected Officials Board for the Kansas Local Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Area IV. He also asked for the Board to designate a County representative to the Chief Elected Officials Board (CEOB). The goal is to have the CEOB empaneled by mid-July. The request was approved.

Community Development Director, David Alfaro, presented a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), submitted by Jeff Coulson for a vehicle impound yard at 520 S. Pleasantview Dr. Andover, Kansas. Mr. Coulson, represented by Jeremy McDonald, is seeking the ability to create an impound yard on the site located approximately 1 mile east of Andover city limits. The vehicles will be stored on site and rotated out as the owners claim them after being impounded.  The yard will be enclosed with a 6′ Privacy fence, have asphalt millings laid down to provide a hard surface to park the cars and will be locked at all times when owner is not present.

“Neighbors expressed concerns about additional traffic, potential increase in criminal activity and the leaking of fluids into the ground causing potential contamination to the Water Wells in the area,” stated Mr. Alfaro.  After hearing comments from Mr. McDonald and neighbors present, the Board affirmed the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Committee with a vote of 3-1-1; Commissioner Myers opposed and Commissioner Wheeler abstaining.

Mr. Alfaro also presented a request for a mortgage lot split for Anthony and Angel Clark at 2339 SW 80th St. Augusta, Kansas. The request was approved.

Finally, Mr. Alfaro presented a request for a change in zoning, submitted by Brian, Denise & Michael Vogt from AG-40 to Residential Estates on their property located at the NW corner of SE Sunflower and SE 20th St. El Dorado, Kansas. The Board approved the request.

Chris Davis, Director of Emergency Communications (E911) presented a request to the Board for payment of the Annual Motorola System Upgrade Agreement.   In order to manage the statewide radio system KDOT must maintain current software versions. Butler County executed a new 6 year contract with Motorola in 2017 to provide matching upgrades.  The partnership with KDOT on the radio system has proven to be very beneficial to Butler County, operationally. The request was approved 4-1, Commissioner Woydziak opposed.

County Clerk, Tatum Stafford, appeared before the Board to recommend the purchase of election equipment from Election Systems and Software, LLC (ES&S) in the amount not to exceed $603,635.  ES&S has been providing election, hardware, software support and services across the state of KS since 1983. The close proximity of their location in Omaha, Nebraska, is as important factor.  ES&S currently serves 83 counties in Kansas.

According to Stafford, ES&S manufactures their own equipment, provides support and the machines are high quality.  They provide the easiest voting and tabulation system for poll workers and election staff to manage.  Butler County currently has ES&S equipment and has established a great working relationship with them.

Purchasing this equipment will put Butler County in line to comply with K.S.A. 25-3009 Post Election Audit Requirements that took effect January 1, 2019.  K.S.A. 25-3009 defines the new audit standards in Kansas, which now requires auditing of all elections manually by comparing paper ballot results against electronically counted races.  Due to this new provision, the current voting machines in Butler County have been rendered obsolete in Kansas.  The recommendation was approved.

The Commissioners held a work session to receive information on the proposed work by the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) to raise several overpasses through Butler County.  The KTA has projects planned to raise the height of many of its overpasses. Several of the overpasses planned for 2019 and 2020 are located in Butler County. Most of the work planned involves Township roads going over the turnpike. Two of the locations, however, involve the Santa Fe Lake Rd overpass and the Ohio Street Rd overpass.  No action was taken.

Vouchers, Adds & Abates were approved.

Other items included County Administrator, Will Johnson, sharing, “Public works and safety crews are getting a work out after all the rain and flooding here in Butler County.  They are working long hours with lots of overtime.  He asks patrons of county roads show patience with the county crews and townships.  With the announcement that President Trump approved Governor Kelly’s request for a disaster declaration, it will take time to get everything in place for FEMA funds to come in.  He asks those using county roads to drive slow, limiting their speed to 20mph in some areas.




Disaster Declaration Extended for Butler County

Keri Korthal, Director of Emergency Management, appeared before the Board of Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday, May 28th to request an extension of the Disaster Declaration due to the fact that Butler County experienced another round of heavy rainfall and stormy weather.

Photo by Chad Wittenberg

The state has established the dates of April 28 and ongoing, at this time, to ensure everything possible is included before they go forward with a Presidential Declaration. There is already an estimated $2 million in damages from the first wave of storms.

The Commission voted to approve the extension for another seven (7) days.

With the announcement that President Trump approved Governor Kelly’s request for a disaster declaration, Director Keri Korthals and the Emergency Management team is starting to field questions about what that means for Butler County, and unfortunately, the information that’s out there is a little sparse at the moment; other than the message that Butler County is included.  So, Korthals shares with us what it means. “Does it indicate that FEMA funds will begin flowing into our county to repair roads and rebuild houses? Well, no, not exactly.”

Photo by Chad Wittenberg

According to Korthals, “There are actually two types of declarations that our Governor can request for our state’s current situation: an Emergency Declaration (the one Kansas received) and a Major Disaster Declaration (the one that’s often referred to as a ‘Presidential Disaster Declaration’).”

“An Emergency Declaration,” states Korthals, “provides federal money for those immediate life/health/public safety activities that jurisdictions have been (and are still) conducting: sandbagging, performing water rescues or search and rescue, barricading roads, opening emergency shelters, clearing hazardous debris. It won’t do anything that’s considered a longer-term fix, i.e. rebuilding a road or repairing a flood damaged building.”

Additionally, “The Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) has been meeting with all of the counties that have been impacted by this month’s storms and flooding, and they’re collecting the facts and figures that would support a Major Disaster Declaration.  They have already visited Butler County and gotten our information, but last we heard, they were still working their way through their massive list of locally-declared counties. When all their information has been compiled, then Governor Kelly can make a decision on requesting a Major Disaster Declaration.”

Korthals advises, “Be aware that these declarations sometimes only provide for road/bridge/building/infrastructure help for governments, like cities and townships, not private citizens. Definitely check the fine print.”

Learn more about FEMA disaster declarations.

Another 30 Day Extension for IPS

While the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Integrated Plastics Solution (IPS) was revoked by the Board of Butler County Commissioners in September 2018 , IPS has continued to process materials while slowly cleaning up the property located at 424 Industrial Road.  

David Alfaro, Director of Community Development presented the issue that had been tabled last week which was to consider a Cease and Desist Order pending guidance from the County Attorney, Terry Huelskamp.

“I did drive out to site today…it did appear [material] had been removed from the ground.” stated Mr. Alfaro.

Commissioner Woydziak asked for a timeline to issuing a Cease and Desist Order.  IPS has been operating under grace with the revocation of CUP last September in order to reduce the property owner’s liability.  If IPS vacates the location without cleaning it up, the costs will be passed on to Butler County tax payers.

Mr. Huelskamp noted that should a Cease and Desist Order be filled in court, IPS would have 21 days to respond and material processing could continue.  Commissioners Masterson and Woydziak spoke in favor of extending credit at $4/ton at the landfill with $1/ton payable to the state for their imposed fees. The charges at the landfill could be given a January 2020 payment date which would enable IPS to continue moving materials off the property.  

Responding to questions from the Commissioners, IPS representative Brian Riley, estimated it would take 30 days to cleaned up the property.   Mr. Riley became angry and confrontational when asked about the approximately 50 trailers on the property that have not been moved.

Commissioner Masterson redirected the conversation and moved to extend another 30 days to IPS in addition to the extension of credit for the landfill fees, minus the $1 that is payable to the state.  The motion was approved, 4-1 with Commissioner Murphy opposed.