BELOIT CITY COUNCIL – Wednesday, April 5, 2023

By Terry Bailey

The Beloit City Council conducted their bi-weekly meeting at City Hall, Wednesday evening, April 5th. A hearty welcome-back was extended to councilor Todd Adolph who, once again, was able to attend the meeting in person. Councilor Lee McMillan attended the meeting via Zoom. All other councilors were physically present for the meeting.
Katie Schroeder reported on a bill that was before the Kansas Legislature. This bill would remove all sales tax from food not only at the state level but also at the local level. This would have severe consequences for local governments such as cities and counties who rely on local sales tax revenues to keep property taxes from rising significantly. She believes the bill is dead for this year but, with politicians, one ever knows.
City Manager Jason Rabe reported that the solar farm produces electricity as expected on clear, sunny days. However, on cloudy days, the production diminishes. He believes that during the sunny, cloudless days of the summer when the electricity is really needed, the solar farm will step up greatly with energy production.
The current phase of the Safe Route to School sidewalk building program is progressing full speed. Rabe said this phase is the most difficult segment of the program to date. The contractors have responded with making available more resources of men and machinery to get the job done as quickly as possible.
The West Eighth Street drainage project has gotten started with good success to this point. The dry weather has created very dry soil with which to work. The contractor has found it necessary to add a lot of water to the soil so that it will compact as needed.
The work at the airport is also moving right along. The contractors have replaced 60 to 70 panels. The airport has been closed down for the work to be completed. Rabe said the contract allows for 25 working days for the work to be done.
Emily Benedick, Solomon Valley Economic Director, gave the council an update on her activities of late. They had a big workday at the old Duckwall's/Sperry building with a lot of work getting accomplished.
Benedick announced a Community Housing Needs meeting has scheduled for Monday, April 10th, at the meeting room of the First Bank of Beloit. It is scheduled to take place from noon to 1 p.m. with a light lunch being served. She is asking for a RSVP so the correct number of servings may be prepared.
Beloit will have the services of an intern this summer. Interns have helped over the summer in the past on a wide range of assignment. She is a sophomore at Fort Hays State University this year.
A Mobile Workforce Center will arrive on April 19th. The mobile unit is load with people and machines to assist people in job search. Writing resumes, accessing job search websites, and polishing up interview skills are just a few of the areas of assistance. The Mobile Unit (bus) will be parked in the Ago Parking lot all day on April 19th. This will provide a great service to those looking for a job or for those looking for a better job.
Rabe reported success has been achieved with the walking bridge over the Solomon River. A grant has been received in the amount of $90,000 for the South Mill Street improvement project. The City has received a bid of $19,000 to do the work on the bridge.
A special use request has been received from Allison Hagar. She is planning a community fun day July 8th. Her stated purpose is to draw people out the Chautauqua Park and encourage social interaction. At the time of her request the specifies were somewhat thin. The Councilors were generally in favor of such an activity but wanted to table the request and ask for specifics.
The Council approved a request from Police Chief Dave Elam for an update on officers body cams (cameras), an updated camera system for the interview room and for work to be done on the new police vehicle to make it "street ready." The Council approved the request.
The next topic could be of some interest to the community. With the City Logo and other identifying marking being somewhat dated, Rabe has worked on ideas and suggestions to update the visual appearance of Beloit as other see it. He has proposals from three marketing firms shown as PowerPoint presentations to "show" how they could improve the image of Beloit. One bid was from Eberle Studios in Cawker City ($6,700), one from Jen-Russ of Courtland ($8,750), and one from Nex-Tech of Manhattan ($8,355). The bids were close, but the Council voted to accept Eberle's bid. Not only was it the lowest bid but it was from a local business which should have a good background on the City of Beloit.
Interested people should take note that June 1st is the filing deadline for those wanting to run for office. The City of Beloit has two council seat and the mayor's position open for trial this year.