Ellis Golf Greens Aren’t Green



Minutes   July 15, 2013


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



PUBLIC PRESENT  Dave Barber, Steve Arthur, Charmion Arthur, Guy Windholz, Neil DeWerff, Kimberly Andries, Samantha Crawford, Clara Crawford, George Crawford, Liam Crawford, Glen Keller, David McDaniel, Haley Reiter, Jim Metzler, Becky Metzler, Dakota Metzler, Colton Metzler, Ted Fuchs, Dean Gottschalk


Councilmember John Walz moved to approve the consent agenda containing the Minutes from Regular Meeting July 1, 2013 and Bills Ordinance #1929. Councilmember Loran Gottschalk seconded the motion. The Council approved the consent agenda unanimously.


Dean Gottschalk spoke to Council on behalf of the Ellis Golf Club. The Club has received several high water consumption notices. City Clerk Amy Burton explained those notices are sent out to customers whose meter readings are excessively high over the meter average. This could be due to a possible leak or perhaps watering in violation of the water restrictions. Mr. Gottschalk noted that the putting greens at the golf course need some fresh water to keep them alive. Mr. Gottschalk also recommended Neil DeWerff to fill the possible vacancy on the Water Advisory Committee.   Ellis golf course

Ted Fuchs addressed Council also on behalf of the Ellis Golf Club. He noted that the effluent water available for the course is down due to the watering restrictions and low water consumption. He reiterated the fact that the putting greens are dying and they need to cool them down with fresh water.

Guy Windholz spoke to Council regarding the cleanup of Big Creek while the creek bed is dry. He offered to donate his time and labor in helping with any efforts.


Mayor Lyle Johnston read aloud and presented the Big Creek Rocketeers with a proclamation declaring July 25, 2013 Rocket Town in the City of Ellis. On this day the Rocketeers will fire their rockets for public viewing during the Ellis Junior Free Fair.


Fire Chief Denis Vine presented the monthly Fire Department report and talked of recent training events.

Personnel: Entry

Chief Vine reported that Tyler Fischer has joined the volunteer fire department. The department is still short one fireman.


Capital Improvement: Financial

Dave Barber, USDA Rural Development, was present to discuss the grant and loan application process for financing the proposed waterline improvement project. Submitting an application doesn’t obligate the City to proceed with the project. Mr. Barber is estimating the project to cost $500,000 with a maximum grant allocation of 45%. The remaining financing would be issued as a loan. There may be some advantages of rolling our current loan with USDA RD into this possible new loan to save on interest costs. Councilmember Jolene Niernberger moved to pursue the grant and loan process for funding from Rural Development for the waterline project and to authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to sign documents related to the project. Councilmember John Walz seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


Campground: Event Requests

Council took under consideration several event requests from Latisha Haag for various events involving the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. John Walz moved to approve the use of Lakeside Campground from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on August 10, 2013, by the Girl Scouts for National S’mores Day; the closing of the 13th – 15th blocks of Washington on August 25, 2013, from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. for the Soapbox Derby held by the Cub Scouts; and the use of Lakeside Campground from 1:00 p.m. September 7, 2013 to 12:00 p.m. on September 8, 2013 for the Cub Scout Pack Campout. John Leiker seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0.

Public Works: Special Projects – Big Creek

Council discussed options available to clean out Big Creek while the creek bed is dry due to drought conditions. Several state agencies will have to be involved to ensure the creek bed is not disturbed. Mayor Johnston noted three areas of concern are the vegetation, the trees, and the silt. Guy Windholz suggested the City utilize the inmates at the Stockton Correctional Facility again. A question that arose from Council was if the property owners own to the center of the creek when it is dry, who is responsible to clean it up? This item will be tabled until City Attorney Olavee Raub can research the legality of the property owners and whether easements or permission from the property owners would have to be obtained.

Capital Improvement: Repair/Maintenance – Streets

Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman presented a plan to crack seal and chip seal approximately 35 blocks of City streets. The bids are for a full truckload of materials and any excess will be stored for use in 2014. Mr. Scheuerman also plans to make a request to Ellis County for help with the chip seal project. Councilmember Leiker moved to purchase the crack seal material from the lowest bidder, Crafco, Inc., at a cost of $21,315 with funds to come from the Capital Improvement – Street fund. Councilmember Walz seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0. Councilmember Gottschalk moved to approve the street rehabilitation project and the purchase of the chip seal material and oil from APAC-Kansas at a cost not to exceed $85,000, with funds to come from the Capital Improvement – Street fund. Councilmember Redetzke seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0. Despite efforts to solicit additional bids, only one bid for the chip seal project was obtained and considered. Councilmember Walz then moved and Councilmember Niernberger seconded a motion to give authorization for a city official to write a letter to Ellis County requesting assistance with the chip seal project. Motion carried 5-0. It was noted that the City will notify residents of any tree limbs that will need to be trimmed to prevent interference with the workers.


Public Works

Public Works Director Alan Scheuerman informed Council of a recent water main break. He also mentioned that Brandon Pfeifer has contacted him to see if the City would be interested in providing a piece of equipment to have on display on July 26, 2013 in conjunction with the Ellis Junior Free Fair “Touch a Truck” activity. Jolene Niernberger moved and John Walz seconded a motion to authorize the Public Works Director to take a piece of unmanned equipment to the Ellis Junior Free Fair on July 26, 2013. Motion carried unanimously. Mayor Johnston noted that Council needs to determine what to do with the pool water once the season is over. The Ellis Municipal Pool is scheduled to close on August 7, 2013. It was the consensus of the Council to determine a use for the water rather than drain it into the street. A portion of the water needs to remain in the pool to preserve the pool liner.


Police Chief Taft Yates presented the police activity report for June. All officers have completed their required 40 hours of training. Officers scored an average of 86% on their physical training tests and an average of 97% on weapons qualifications. Chief Yates also noted there were a few fireworks violations and water violations have increased.

City Clerk

City Clerk Amy Burton reminded Council of the budget work session on July 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Galen Pfeifer will be present to answer questions from Council. Ms. Burton noted that the August Municipal Leadership Academy course is on KOMA/KORA. The closest location is in Hutchinson. Ms. Burton then informed Council that Rusty Redding, Layne Christensen, and Scott Ross, Division of Water Resources, would like to schedule a meeting with the Governing Body and members of the Water Advisory Committee to go over options to obtain additional water sources and well maintenance. The Council instructed Ms. Burton to try to schedule a meeting the week of August 5th.


City Attorney Olavee Raub discussed the letter sent to Bob Symns and the Days Inn Hotel. The letter states that since maintenance of the landscape and grounds is required under the franchise agreement, it constitutes a legitimate commercial use of water under the present water conservation plan. However, watering must comply with the water conservation plan that states certain hours in which all watering is prohibited and restrictions on the waste of water. Attorney Raub would like to collaborate with the Water Advisory committee in defining commercial use in the current water conservation plan.

Ms. Raub reported that she has met with legal counsel of Mr. Patee and presented three options for the placement of the cemetery memorial. If an answer is not received regarding the options, then charges will be filed against Mr. Patee and the monument will be removed at the cost of Mr. Patee.


Mayor Johnston reported that the Water Advisory Committee met for the first time on July 3, 2013 and brainstormed ideas. Councilmember Niernberger noted that she would like to be informed of their meetings.

Councilmember Gottschalk stated that the water restrictions are hurting our community and if we don’t find additional resources quickly, the City could start losing citizens and businesses. He suggested allowing residents to water one day a week to help lawns and landscaping. Councilmember Leiker informed Council that studies show that allowing residents to water once a week actually consumes more water because even people who don’t normally water, will water because they can. Councilmember Walz is hopeful the Water Advisory Committee will be able to come up with some solutions. Ted Fuchs noted that the golf course is currently using fresh water to cool down their greens, against current water restrictions, but the course can’t afford to lose the greens. Neal DeWerff stated that allowing businesses to water is more important than allowing individuals to water. Councilmember Leiker stated that yes, businesses are important, but having water available is the most important. Mr. Leiker noted that he is not opposed to allowing watering for business but not beautification, and in his opinion, the golf course putting greens are part of a business. City Attorney Olavee Raub noted this is a legitimate concern.


Mayor Johnston called for an executive session for personnel matters of non-elected personnel. A 15-minute executive session was proposed starting at 9:42 p.m. Mayor Johnston asked for a motion to recess. John Walz moved and John Leiker seconded a motion to recess to executive session for personnel matters of non-elected personnel with only the Governing Body present. Motion carried unanimously. The Council returned to open session at 9:57 p.m. No action was taken in executive session.


Councilmember Leiker moved to adjourn the meeting. Councilmember Walz seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:57 p.m.