Beloit City Council – Wednesday, August 3, 2022

By Terry Bailey

The Beloit City Council met at City Hall Wednesday evening to conduct the business of the City. All Councilors were present except for Jamie Meier and Mayor Tom Naasz, who were absent. Also in attendance were City Manager Jason Rabe and City Attorney Katie Schroeder.
The topic that generated the greatest conversation did not occur in the business session but instead in the Work Session. The topic: feral cats.
Rabe explained that while there are numerous mentions of dogs in the City Code, cats have been given light attention. He also recognized that feral cats are a significant problem in some areas of Beloit, they are not in the majority of town. The problem is substantial where it occurs.
Cats can have up to five litters a YEAR; it's usually more like 3 or 4. Each litter can be from one kitten to 10 or more. The average is 4-6 kittens per litter. If you do the math, you will better understand the impact of a significant feral cat population.
Also contributing to the problem are good-hearted, caring citizens who feed feral cats. While this appears to be a kind act, it only exacerbates the problem, allowing these wild cats to continue reproducing.
Rabe reported that in his contacts with other cities the size of Beloit, all acknowledged problems with feral cats. There is no "for sure" solution to the problem. He said that whatever avenue the Council might choose to address the problem, it must be long term and will cost money. Short-term attention to the situation would reap short term results, but the problem will soon return.
One method to address the problem is the trap-neuter-return process. In this methodology, humane traps are set to capture animals, in this case, cats. The cats are trapped, neutered, and returned to the area in which they were trapped. The bottom line to this solution is that neutered cats cannot reproduce and is a more humane action to the problem. On the other hand, there is cost for the neutering, there are some or a lot of expense to this solution, and it takes time for this action to show results. It takes a long-term attention for staff, facilities, and expenses related to the situation.
A question was asked of the Councilors, "Have you received any phone calls from residents of Beloit about a feral cat problem. Most reported only a call or two and they were almost always anonymous callers. For the most part, few calls have been received by the Councilors about feral cats. They acknowledged it would be easy to "kick the can down the road" and delay action but they realized delaying action will only make the problem more pervasion. Interested citizens are invited to research the Beloit City Code addressing animals is at this link: http://beloitks.citycode.net/index.html#!codeOfTheCityOfBeloitKansas 
Additionally, citizens are encouraged to contact a councilor to express their thoughts.
Summing up this ongoing discussion, Rabe commented, "This is a really difficult topic without a real easy solution for sure. I think all of our hearts are in the right place; however, the solution and execution of that solution will be tough.
In initial comments City Attorney Katie Schroeder reminded everyone that yard signs of a political nature must be removed within ten days of the election. The exception to that rule is that if a sign represents a candidate who won a place in the general election, the signs may remain until the November election. Then they must be removed within ten days.
City Manager Rabe reported that the solar farm continues to create free electricity to the City. He commented that it only has a capacity of 550 megawatts but in the times of high inflation, every little bit counts.
The Dream Big walking/jogging trail on the east side of town just south of the Nutrien buildings is showing results. Work is progressing of the clearing of trees and shrubs and leveling the ground for the trail. The distance of the trail will be two miles. Anyone wishing to volunteer with this project may contact Doug Palen or Brian Dilner.
Rabe also shared good news with strong showing of local sales tax receipts, the near completion of the Gill Creek bridges, a meeting will soon be held to evaluate and discuss the next segment of the Safe Routes to School sidewalk building project.
The Council approved an increase to the reimbursement rate for Court Appointed attorneys to $120 per hour. Additionally, they raised the compensation rate for the Municipal Judge from $600 to $800.
The public hearing for the 2023 budget will be held at the Councilor's meeting room in City Hall at 7:00 p.m. on August 17th. Rabe reported there were no concerns that would trigger the revenue neutral rate. Citizens are encouraged to attend.
The Screed Tech contract was approved for work being done at Moritz Memorial airport.
Economic Development Director Emily Benedick was present with information regarding Wayfaring signs within the Beloit city limits. These signs will direct visitors to areas of interest. Local residents all know where the Chautauqua Park is located but visitors just driving through most likely would not know. She presented a list of possible locations under consideration. The list includes: Chautauqua Park and Aquatic Center, all schools public and private, NCK Technical College, Sports Complex, Municipal Building/City Hall, Downtown shopping district, Mitchell County Courthouse, Library, Moritz Airport, Mitchell County Historical Museum, Cemetery, Mitchell County fairgrounds/racetrack.
Travis Lattin has been working hard to secure proper insurance and liability waivers to host a drag race at the Moritz Airport runway. He hopes to host the event in conjunction with the Millapalooza event that is held in downtown Beloit on September 24th. The Council gave provisional approval pending proof of the insurance and liability concerns.
Jamie Hiserote was present to discuss a fuel surcharge amendment to his contract with the City. Currently, the contract provides to a twenty-five-cent increase when fuel reaches four dollars per gallon. Unable to foresee the future no provisions were made for gas costs over five dollars.
The Council voted to have a new contract drawn up addressing this unforeseen cost of fuel. Five-dollar gas may or may not be the new normal.


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Beloit, KS 67420, USA