Emporia City Commission holds back-to-back sessions Wednesday Featured

Emporia City Commission holds back-to-back sessions Wednesday Tagan Trahoon/KVOE News

The Emporia City Commission had a jampacked Wednesday morning with back-to-back meetings on their schedule. 

Commissioners first convened for a brief action session during which time the commission approved grant agreements for the 2020 Kansas Airport Improvement program project. The airport runway was last rehabilitated in 2013 when large cracks on the runway surface were patched and covered. Since that time additional cracking has occurred which requires maintenance as well.

The city applied for a grant in order to apply a sealcoat to help preserve the runway’s asphalt lifespan. The grant was approved back in June, however, city commissioner Rob Gilligan explains it was approved as two separate grants.

Both grant projects were awarded to the Kansas Department of Transportation, the first awarded for a total of $40,000 with a KDOT share of 95 percent and a city share of 5 percent. The second grant project totals $415,000 with a KDOT share of 90 percent and a city share of 10 percent.

In other business, commissioners approved the Emporia Friends of the Zoo updated master plan which was presented to the commission during their last study session. The master plan is looking at making the zoo more environmentally conscientious through making exhibits more natural and implementing a new piece of technology known as a bio-swell.

In order to meet requirements set forth by the zoo’s accrediting body, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), approval of the master plan is required by the city commission during an action session. Commissioner Gilligan says having the opportunity to overlook the plan allows the city to also plan ahead for the future.

Additionally, commissioners approved an ordinance for Live in the Lot to change the location of a beer garden for the Jr. Worlds Jam Event later this week and recognized the Emporia Fire Department C-Shift and Emporia Police Captain Jim Tilton with the city Above and Beyond award. Four executive sessions also took place with no action taken.

Following the adjournment of their action session, commissioners moved upstairs to city conference room 1AB for a study session. During their second meeting of the day, commissioners continued their reviews of the 2020 budget. Commissioner Gilligan says the city of Emporia is in a very positive position as it pertains to the budget.

He attributes this to the efforts of city staff to ensure there are no unwelcome surprises which arise within the budget.

Gilligan says as they move forward he anticipates utility funds will be a major focus for the commission as they have "taken the brunt of impacts lately." Despite this, Gilligan is optimistic the 2020 budget will keep the mill levy flat upon its adoption.

Plans are to have the budget finalized by August 7. Also during the study session commissioners took time to review ongoing flood plain map updates. The city commission will meet again next Wednesday inside city conference room 1AB.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 14:33