GAS — Mark Henry stepped out of his role as a Gas councilman Tuesday night to comment as a citizen about last year’s road improvement work.
“Dust from the streets is just rolling,” Henry said. “They’re powder in the middle.”
Henry said he had had a conversation with Larry Macha of SE-KAN Asphalt and learned that a sealer could be applied to the streets to encapsulate loose rock.
“What we have now are gravel roads,” he said. “People are raising (concerns) with me all the time.”
Gas spent $750,000 — half from a grant and half from city coffers — to chip-seal streets throughout town last year.
City Superintendent Steve Robb, who agreed with Henry’s assessment, was instructed to “check on having the roads sealed and what it would cost.”
In another infrastructure matter, councilmen approved a contract with Mayer Specialty Services, Goddard, to start a three-year sewer-cleaning program, which will include cleaning and vacuuming lift stations.
A third of the town’s sewers will be cleaned each year. First-year cost will be 66 cents a linear foot, or $7,791. That will increase by two cents a foot each of the next two years. Lift station work will cost $165 an hour.
COUNCILMEN tabled until June, when they will begin work on the 2011 budget, a proposal from Mayor Darrel Catron to make a contribution to the Bowlus Fine Arts Center to help with operations costs. He mentioned $2,500.
“I think the Bowlus is a benefit for all of the county,” Catron said. “We (Gas residents) have a free ride and I think it would be nice to make a donation on a yearly basis.”
“I’d love to do it, but maybe it’s a little early in the year,” said Councilman Larry Robertson, a sentiment embraced by others.
Councilmen set into motion designation for a Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which will include parts of Gas to be decided later.
The program, in place in Iola for several years, gives a property tax break for structural improvements of $5,000 or more. No tax is levied the first five years a property is qualified, then they are prorated the next five years, increasing 20 percent a year.
Other taxing entities — Allen County, USD 257 and Allen County Community College — will also be asked to make the tax concession, as they have for Iola.
PAT LAVER of the Fees Park Committee told councilmen that committee members raised $1,150 through a chicken and noodle fund raiser and had nearly enough money to purchase playground equipment designed for young children. The toys will be placed near a shelter house to occupy tots while their parents are preparing for events. Cost is $6,500.
She asked whether the city could help with application for grants, one in particular for $1,000 from Walmart. Councilmen agreed.
Robb also told councilmen that a 50-foot-long swinging bridge, being constructed by the city, soon would be ready to install over a swale in the park.
In other business, councilmen:
— Voted to give Kathy DePorto until April 13 to come up with a plan to improve a house she owns at 410 S. McRae that otherwise would be tagged for demolition.
— Were told that annexation of East Lawn, a residential area between Gas and Iola along U.S. 54, had been mentioned by Iola officials. They expressed no interest in annexing the property to Gas, but did instruct City Attorney Ross Albertini to examine what would be involved in annexing tracts at the northwest and northeast corners of Gas to square up city boundaries. An effort previously was considered for annexation of homes at the northwest corner.
— Learned that the cityclean-up week will be April 19-23 and that an auction of surplus equipment will be May 1.
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