Minutes of Special Outdoor Watering Ban Meeting



March 25, 2013

CALL TO ORDERellis city logo

Mayor David McDaniel called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.  Present were Council members John Leiker, John Walz, Brian Raub, Jolene Niernberger, and Lyle Johnston.  Also present was City Clerk Amy Burton and City Attorney Olavee Raub.


Harold Dinkel, Glen Keller, Dava Gaschler, Neil DeWerff, Dustin Mattheyer, Guy Riedel, John Fischer, and Ron Johnson.


Mayor McDaniel stated the purpose of the special meeting was to discuss water conservation issues.

Mayor McDaniel began the meeting by reading a letter received from the State of Kansas on March 25, 2013.  The letter states that the Kansas Department of Agriculture has granted authority to the City of Ellis to require private domestic well owners within the city limits of Ellis, KS to comply with the water conservation measures as identified in the City’s water conservation plan.


Neil DeWerff, representing the Ellis Golf Club, informed Council that effluent water is fine for the fairways but effluent water contains too high of sodium content to be used on the bent grass greens.  The greens need flushed with fresh water to deter hard spots. The new water restrictions won’t allow a flushing of the greens and the greens may be lost this summer without watering.  The Ellis Golf Club is looking to purchase a machine to help aerate the greens to allow for effluent water to be used but he is asking Council for permission to cool down the greens for 4-5 minutes each when the temperature reaches 90° and winds in excess of 20 mph.  This may need to be done within the currently prohibited hours of noon to 7:00 p.m.

Guy Riedel asked Council to consider allowing private well owners to water one day a week. Mr. Riedel also asked if he would be able to water a plot around his house that is used commercially.  City Attorney Olavee Raub reported that commercial water use is Class 2; only Class 1 is prohibited under Resolution #491.

Dava Gaschler asked if businesses were able to water outside.  Council responded that businesses are held to the same restrictions as residents for Class 1 watering.  She also reported she has heard positive comments about the municipal pool remaining open this season.

Dustin Mattheyer inquired of the City Attorney how many tickets were issued in the past year for Stage 2 water restriction violations.  City Attorney Raub reported only 2-3 tickets were issued and there were no repeat offenders.

Ron Johnson asked the Governing Body if they have given any more consideration to working towards a designation as an Intensive Groundwater Use Control Area (IGUCA).  Mr. Johnson also asked that “grey water” or reclaimed water be more defined and for the Council to construct a list of what is acceptable water use and what is not.

Councilmember Walz suggested the possibility of developing a water advisory board that could research long-term solutions to the area’s drought concerns and lack of water sources.

Ms. Gaschler asked Council if the utility bills will be monitored for excessive water usage.  The Council replied that some level of monitoring is done every month to check for possible leaks.  The Council is looking at options for determining a fair and equitable solution to determine excessive water use.    Council discussed using the recent sewer rate evaluation period as a base and then adding an allowance to determine each resident’s allowed usage before higher rates.  There was also discussion regarding water revenues being able to cover expenses in the Water Utility Fund due to the declaration of a water emergency.  Utility funds are business type funds and the fees and charges must be able to sustain the fund.

Lyle Johnston left the meeting at 8:40 p.m. due to a prior commitment.

Councilmember John Leiker discussed raising the fines for violators of the Resolution.  It was the consensus of the Council to instruct City Attorney Olavee Raub to draft an ordinance revising the fees for multiple offenses.  The amount of the fine increase will be discussed at the Council regular meeting on April 1, 2013.

Councilmember John Walz asked if the Ellis Golf Club would be willing to share some of the effluent water it currently receives from the City.  Right now, the Golf Club receives 100% of the effluent water allowed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to be used.  Councilmember Walz said if the Golf Club would be willing to share, some of that water could be used to help out the Ellis Recreation Commission and USD 388 with playing fields.  Mr. DeWerff and Mr. Riedel said they would need to talk to the board before they are willing to commit to changing the agreement with the City.

Councilmember Walz spoke on his recent conversation with Tim Vandall, Ellsworth City Administrator.  Ellsworth had to have the State come in and drill more wells as it had run out of water completely.

Glen Keller asked the Governing Body what it would take to end Stage III and to revert back to Stage II restrictions.  Council stated that the triggers that were met to increase to Stage III would have to simply reverse.

Councilmember Jolene Niernberger suggested trying to set a date for Stacie Minson to hold a Water Conservation Fair.  The City will need to coordinate with the high school on a date.  City Clerk Amy Burton will contact the high school to look at available dates.



Councilmember Niernberger moved to adjourn the meeting.  Councilmember Leiker seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.  The meeting adjourned at 9:23 p.m.