Council gets down to business



April 19, 2011 - 12:00 AM

With their inaugural meeting longer on ceremony and shorter on substance, members of Iola’s city council members dipped their toes in a couple of routine matters, while tabling their first major decision until later.
The eight-member council, sworn in Monday to replace the former three-member city commission, tabled a decision on whether to spend $2,500 for materials and another $4,000 or so to install pieces of playground equipment at Riverside Park.
Thrive Allen County is willing to spend $7,500 for the equipment, plus the equipment’s manufacturer was willing to match the city’s $2,500 contribution, giving Iola a combined $12,500 to spend, City Administrator Judy Brigham.
The city’s Parks Department would be unable to put up the $2,500, Brigham said, so the funds would have to come from elsewhere in the city budget.
Still, “the city is getting a good value and the opportunity is there,” Brigham said.
Kerr indicated that he and city staff could install the new equipment, mitigating those costs to the city coffers.
But council members had questions about the cost of some of the equipment, how much the city would pay for installation and for such things as fill material.
“With these questions, I think we should table this to another meeting,” Mayor Bill Shirley said.
Council members agreed.
Pushing back the decision, however, may have nullified the deal.
David Toland, Thrive’s executive director, told the Register this morning that the city had until Friday to decide whether to accept the offer from the manufacturer, KOMPAN. Toland, who was unable to attend Monday’s meeting because of a conflicting meeting in La Harpe, said he would ask the manufacturer about extending its deadline.

THE COUNCIL members said they would endorse a grant request submitted to the Kansas Department of Commerce by the Allen County Health Care Foundation seeking tax credits for donors who give money for emergency room equipment at the new hospital.
Health Care Foundation member Karen Gilpin explained that if the grant request is approved, residents who donate to the purchase of emergency room equipment would be eligible for a 70 percent return on their tax dollars. The grant is good for up to $250,000.
This is the first time Allen County has applied for such a grant, Gilpin said.

COUNCIL MEMBERS also were requested, but took no action, on a request to back a local resident’s appeal to the state to reduce the speed limit along U.S. 54 west of Iola.
Shirley said he was asked to see about reducing the speed limit near the Neosho River bridge below its current 65 mph because of the number of accidents there in recent years.
Council members noted the road is not in Iola’s city limits, and is subject to state control.

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