Alva Review-Courier -

Kiowa City Council hears about landlord responsibilities, and new meter antennas


The Kiowa City Council July 11 meeting was to start at 7 p.m., but there was no quorum for nearly 15 minutes. Along with Mayor Bill Watson, council members present were: Brian Hill, Janet Robison and B.J. Duvall. Council member Jason Thayer joined by phone. Council member Tom Wells arrived at 8:35 p.m.

City Administrator Sam Demel reported on the monthly meeting with BG Consultants as Kiowa's major waterline replacement project winds down. Demel said they are hoping to have most tie-overs done by end of the month. The city got a checklist for officials to examine before signing off on the project.

Pay requests for the water project from BG Consultants for $26,727 and NOWAK for $105,204 were approved by council. Before voting, council discussed at length some pipe or material that was installed in a manner other than specified. Council questions who is responsible for the cost for the change. The council considers this material issue “a point of concern.” They directed Demel to meet with BG and NOWAK to resolve the issue. Since the meeting, Demel said the new pipe was installed at no cost to the city.

Local Charles “Chuck” Graves addressed council about landlord responsibilities. He apparently had a renter of his two rent houses leave town with unpaid bills. One of those bills was utilities to the city, including a dumpster (with a higher fee). Therefore as the landlord, Graves is responsible for paying the utilities. He's visited with Demel. At the meeting Graves talked about all the upfront fees and deposits that he believes the city should charge the renter – not the landlord.

Graves said, “We get stuck with enough as a landlord when they leave if their deposit doesn't cover it – and 99 percent of the time it doesn't.”

In conclusion Graves told the council he would like them to change the city code that says landlords are responsible for paying the utilities of renters who left town.

Thayer said he has the city bill him on his rental properties, and he then sends the bill on to the tenant. That way Thayer said he knows if the renter is running behind and he can do something about it before the balance escalates.

Graves told the council, “I'm not tryin' to get out of it. I'll pay it if I need to. I just wanted you guys to know what it's like.”

Thayer suggests maybe spacing out the deposits, etc. This launched more discussion among council members. City attorney Ritcha explained some legalities. The council took no action on this matter.

From Conflict of Interest to New Meter Antennas

Demel had pulled out sections of the city bylaws regarding “Conflict of interest” and “Code of ethics.” These are from the Kansas legislature and the city policy. This is a reminder to all on the city council.

With the new waterlines in place throughout Kiowa, each utilities customer of the city has their own water meter in their yard. Each meter cover has a tiny water meter antenna that is plastic and about one-half inch tall. If the customer is careful they'll have no problem mowing their lawn with the antenna. However, the antenna could break if the mower is set too low, etc.

The antenna is programmed by the city and can be read electronically streets at a time by city crews.

If the antenna is broken by the owner of the property, Demel asked, “Who is going to pay those costs?” He told the council they need a policy in place.

The current cost of the antennas is $150. So the council discussed charging that replacement cost of the antenna plus the cost of reprogramming and replacing the antenna by city employees. Council decided a letter needs to be sent to all City of Kiowa utility customers to give them notice.

City Administrator Reports on Ott's Labor Day Weekend Concert in Memory of Stewart

And More City Business Reports

Demel told the council that John Ott has asked if he can host a Labor Day weekend concert at his barn located on the south end of Kiowa beside his house. Ott wants this to be annual event in memory of his son Stewart Ott who died in a wreck last year. He requested those driving to the concert be able to park at Ellis Field and walk east to his property. The city needs to smooth out that walkway area by the gate of Ellis Field.

Giving the city's water drainage problem update, Demel said, “The water is leaving the city. The trees (trimming) are all done.” He said the cement work for a retaining wall will be costly. That retaining wall is needed across the street from the brick house owned by John Terwort on the south end of town. Demel said the wall will be approximately 100 feet long and 15 feet at the highest point. Plus they'll have cement work by Helfrich's house.

The council agreed to hire a local contractor, Jacob Davis, to begin Phase II of the drainage project.

The council again discussed the city bylaws for keeping animals. Presently, no roosters are allowed. City Superintendent John Duvall said the city does still accept tin cans. It's the place the city sends to that no longer accepts tin cans. Old fire hydrants are available for $25 for decorating purposes.

Pool Manager Christina Duvall said they've had “phenomenal night swims” and several private parties including a luau. The pool will be open Labor Day. The Friday night swims will continue until football starts.

Robison mentioned numerous properties that are unsightly and need to be mowed, specifically one on the corner of 4th and Main. She thanked Danny Lukins for mowing by the railroad tracks.


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