Ellis Revising Definition of Commerical Water Use



Minutes July 1, 2013


Mayor Lyle Johnston called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Present were Council members John Walz, John Leiker, Jolene Niernberger, Steve Ferland, and Terry Redetzke.  Also present were Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman, City Clerk Amy Burton, Police Chief Taft Yates, and City Attorney Olavee Raub.  Council member Loran Gottschalk was out of town and unable to attend.





Bob Symns, Sabrina Symns, Dan Wickham, Melvin Kinderknecht, Buck Driggs, Dave McDaniel, Glen Keller, and Julie Kohl


Councilmember Leiker moved to approve the consent agenda containing the Minutes from the Regular Meeting on June 17, 2013, Bills Ordinance #1928, and April and May monthly manual journal entries. Councilmember Ferland seconded the motion. The Council approved the consent agenda unanimously.


Melvin Kinderknecht addressed Council on several issues.  He asked if it would be possible to issue an “all clear” sign after the tornado sirens have been sounded.  Mr. Kinderknecht asked Council to consider ways to divert the water running down the south hill back into Ellis, rather than Hays.  He then asked if the Public Works Department could possibly fill the big holes in the alley behind the Post Office with rock, and also if there was a way to clean out Big Creek while it is dry.

Julie Kohl spoke to Council regarding a nuisance property south of her residence on Fauteux.  She is asking the Council to please take action on getting this property cleaned up.






Capital Improvement: Repair/Maintenance

Buck Driggs was present to discuss the cost estimates of the three options for each location as required by the grant.  The proposed plans call for installation of a minimum 6” waterline, which is required for residential lines.  Councilmember Jolene Niernberger stated it would be a good idea to have Fire Chief Denis Vine review the size of the proposed waterlines to ensure adequate hydrant flow in the area.  Mr. Driggs noted that the environmental report is approximately 80% complete and the preliminary engineering report is approximately 50-60% complete.

Water: Repair/Maintenance

Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman presented a bid from Layne Christensen Company for the servicing of two wells, in hopes of saving money in mobilization costs.  It was the consensus of the Council that the bid was higher than expected and this item should be revisited during the budget work session for 2014.  No action taken.


Water: City Code

Sabrina and Bob Symns, owners of the local Day’s Inn, spoke to Council regarding their hotel property and the need to water the landscaping out of their private well in order to preserve the branding of the hotel.  Mr. Symns asked the City Attorney if the hotel was in violation of the watering restrictions for having the indoor pool in operation.  Ms. Raub noted that the indoor hotel pool would be a Class 2 water use due to the commercial nature of the hotel and would therefore not be in violation of the current water restrictions.  Mr. Symns encouraged the City to explore other water rights to different aquifers to help supply the City’s water.  John Leiker asked Mr. Symns why the hotel couldn’t haul water in to keep the landscaping alive as other residents are doing.  Mr. Symns replied it was cost prohibitive.  Jolene Niernberger asked if the franchise recognizes that the City is in a severe drought and that water is in short supply.  Mr. Symns responded that the franchise requires that a certain standard be met inside and outside the hotel, which includes the landscaping.  City Attorney Olavee Raub stated that commercial use needs to be more defined in the current code.  There is a difference between necessary for business versus cosmetic.  Ms. Raub continued by saying that if maintaining the landscaping is a condition of the contract, then it could possibly be classified as Class 2 water use.  Mr. Symns would need to provide Council with verification that maintaining the landscaping is required under his franchise agreement.  Councilmember Jolene Niernberger moved that Mr. Symns would be allowed to utilize the hotel’s private well in order to maintain the landscaping at the Day’s Inn hotel, contingent upon Mr. Symns supplying Council with documentation of the contract agreement stating that maintenance of the landscaping is an integral and necessary part of the business and is therefore found to be a Class 2 commercial use of City water.  Councilmember John Walz seconded the motion.  Upon further discussion, the Council directed City Attorney Raub to provide a draft of a revised definition for commercial use.  Council also questioned if the golf course would then fall under the proposed revised definition.  Upon a call for the vote, the motion carried 4-1, with Councilmember John Leiker opposing.

General Government: City Code – Credit Card Authorization

City Clerk Amy Burton presented a resolution authorizing City employees to utilize the City credit card for necessary expenditures.  The resolution has been updated for changes in staffing.  John Walz moved and Terry Redetzke seconded a motion to approve Resolution #495 as presented.  Motion carried 5-0.

General Government: City Code – GAAP Waiver

The Council considered a resolution exempting the City of Ellis from GAAP requirements for financial statements and financial reports.  Councilmember Walz moved and Councilmember Leiker seconded a motion to approve Resolution #496 waiving the GAAP financial reporting requirements for 2013.  Motion carried 5-0.

Tourism: Repair/Maintenance

City Clerk Amy Burton presented for consideration a contract with Lamar Companies to repair two of the City’s billboards on I-70.  John Walz moved and Steve Ferland seconded a motion to approve the contract from Lamar Companies to repair the two billboards on I-70 at a combined cost of $1,024 with funds to come from tourism monies.  Motion carried 5-0.


Public Works

Special Machinery: Acquisition – Computer System

Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman presented a proposal from Innovative Automation & Controls, Inc. for an upgraded computer system at the Water Treatment Plant. Only one bid was secured due to the specialized nature of the proposed purchase.  Councilmember Walz moved to approve the bid from Innovation Automation & Controls, Inc. to upgrade the computer system at the Water Treatment Plant in the amount of $3,725 with funds to come from Special Machinery.  Councilmember Niernberger seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Director Scheuerman continued by informing Council of repairs needed to the John Deere mower, a water line break on Spruce Street and various training opportunities available.  Mr. Scheuerman also noted that he is currently researching costs for various street repairs within the City.


Police Chief Taft Yates presented the officer schedule for July.  He also reported that the recent KBI audit conducted over 2012 records went very well, with only minor items to be addressed.  Chief Yates reported that Officer Casey has completed his field training and is no longer with a training officer.  Officer McCollam recently was involved in the Tactical Purse program emphasizing women’s safety.  Chief Yates also noted that all officers have completed their required training requirements for the year.

City Clerk

City Clerk Amy Burton presented the financial reports consisting of the Statement of Accounts, Treasurer’s Statement and Security Deposit Worksheets for April and May.  The Water Utility Fund will need to be monitored as the year progresses due to decreased revenue with the current water restrictions.

Ms. Burton has scheduled budget work sessions on July 11 and July 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.  The session on July 16th will include Galen Pfeifer, City Auditor.

Ms. Burton continued by reporting the Federal FEMA grant funds have been received for reimbursement of the February snowstorm expenses.   The City has submitted a letter to the Kansas Attorney General requesting an exemption from the new Conceal Carry law until January 1, 2014.  Ms. Burton noted that the Council will need to consider possible security measures for consideration during the 2014 budget work session.  Chief Yates will try to come up with cost estimates of several options for consideration.


City Attorney Olavee Raub is planning to meet with Mr. Patee’s attorney on July 8, 2013 to discuss placement of a memorial at the cemetery.  If the parties cannot come to an agreement during that meeting then Attorney Raub will notify Mr. Patee that he has 14 days to become compliant with the City Code or possibly face legal action.

Ms. Raub also reported that a resident under the City’s CDBG housing rehabilitation agreement has not maintained flood insurance, as required under the agreement.  The Council instructed Ms. Raub to draft a letter to the noncompliant property owner stating possible repercussions if the resident does not obtain flood insurance on the property.

Councilmember Terry Redetzke asked Attorney Raub is anything can be done with the parking lot across from the Love’s Travel Stop.  Attorney Raub stated the City may be able to take action as an Environmental Code violation.


Councilmember Walz asked if the Water Advisory Committee could take on the task for exploring other water supply sources.  He also asked if the City could explore options in cleaning out the creek bed while it is dry.  Several State agencies, including Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, will need to be involved.

Councilmember Niernberger wished Chief Yates a happy birthday on July 4th.


Councilmember Terry Redetzke made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Councilmember John Walz seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.   The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.


  • Uncle Thomas

    ” Jolene Niernberger asked if the franchise recognizes that the City is in a severe drought and that water is in short supply. Mr. Symns responded that the franchise requires that a certain standard be met inside and outside the hotel, which includes the landscaping”
    If the corporate officer in charge does not understand the brand is tarnished by foolishly wasting the communities natural resources he is a FOOL! Ask for an exemption… put in turf…this isn’t rocket science Ellis-ites we do not have water to waste!

  • voter

    Mr Symns needs to realize his hotel is already a high water use facility because hotel guests use excessive amounts of water compared to tax-paying permanent residents. To add outdoor water use for cosmetics of non-native green grass would be plain stupid. Plant buffalo or bermuda and if mr. corporate executive has a problem with that,tell him to come hold an open meeting with the residents and we can set him straight in no uncertain terms.