Monday’s Atchison City Commission meeting was incredibly packed, with a number of important items discussed and approved.
Citizens’ Academy graduates were honored, four community leaders were commended, a bond sale was authorized and a neighborhood is getting more street improvements.
To start the meeting, four community leaders were recognized who either have recently retired or will be in the ensuing weeks. St. Benedict Elementary School principal and former public schools official Diane Leibsch, Atchison Hospital CEO John Jacobson, Atchison Senior Village Director Peggy House and USD 409 Superintendent Dr. Susan Myers were proclaimed Model Citizens by Mayor Shawn Rizza.
Also prior to the first official item of business was the Citizens’ Academy graduation with 11 area residents honored for participating in the civic engagement program.
The bond sale included four components: the Atchison Event Center first-flood office build out, the Police Department renovation and the refinancing of two unrelated previous debts. The Event Center build out will house the local Kansas Department of Children and Family office when completed. The two refinancing pieces were for 2011 General Obligation Bonds and a loan with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Through refinancing those two debts, the City will save about $200,000 in interest payments without extending the length of the loans.
The commissioners also approved an additional $60,000 for street work on Brookdale Drive, following about $30,000 worth of improvements that took place earlier this year.
Other business that passed unanimously was a cost-share project for parking improvements at the Amelia Earhart Airport; acceptance of the 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; authorization for Atchison Hospital to issue Hospital Revenue Bonds for future expansion; and a pair of procedural items changing when newly elected city commissioners take office and adopting a revised code of meeting procedure for the commission to follow.
Following Monday’s vote, newly elected city commissioners will be sworn into office and a new mayor and vice mayor will be selected during the first meeting in December following an election. The change is allowed thanks to a change in state statutes, which used to force cities to swear in newly elected officials in January following the election – resulting in a lame-duck period lasting more than two months. Now, cities have the authority to do so anytime between Dec. 1 and mid-January.
As for the revised code of meeting procedure, the newly amended procedure allows for public comment during agenda items following staff report and any applicant input (if applicable). Meanwhile, the two public forums at the beginning and end of each meeting are restricted to non-agenda items moving forward.
Of note on the consent agenda, City Judge Patrick Henderson and City Attorney Robert Campbell were each retained via new contracts.
As normal, video of the commission meeting is available on the city’s Facebook page.