Alva Review-Courier -

Kiowa City Council increases sewer rates, city employee pay raises

Gives $75 gift certificates to all employees for Christmas


December 21, 2022

All but one councilmember was present when Kiowa Mayor Bill Watson opened the December city council meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. Janet Robison was sick. Members attending were: B.J. Duvall, Brian Hill, Jason Thayer and Tom Wells. City Administrator Sam Demel sat at the council table as did City Clerk Sheila Smith.

At end of the meeting, the council held a few executive sessions that totaled 20 minutes for non-elected personnel. They discussed staff/evaluations. Following executive session, the council directed Demel to implement agreed-upon pay raises based on individual employee performance.

Sewer Rates Increase

Setting the city rates/fees was again on the agenda. The focus was on sewer rates this time. Demel said there are “two trouble spots” the council is concerned about that plug the sewer lines often. He said council wants to talk to that business about shared expense for such emergencies. Thayer voiced concern about one customer costing other taxpayers.

In 2020 emergency sewer cleanup cost the city $1,100, Demel said. That cost rose to $1,675 in 2021. In 2022 the clean-up cost decreased to $1,400. Demel said in October the City of Kiowa signed a three-year contract with Mayer of Goddard. The cost of the contract is approximately $15,000 per year. Mayer is to clean one-third of Kiowa's sewer lines each year.

Demel said the current base rate for sewer is $11/month based on usage of under 2,000 gallons per month. That rate will increase by 50 cents per month or $6 per year.

Any city customers who have usage of anything over the 2,000 gallons/month are currently paying $1.80 per thousand gallons of water used. That rate increases to $2.25 per 1,000 gallons. Demel explained the usage of customers January through March will be used to determine their average. The average of those three months will be used to determine their cost the remainder of the year.

The council did not finalize any other city rates in December and plans to address those at the January meeting.

More City of Kiowa Business

When the waterline replacement project was happening, as reported earlier John Coggins' waterline on his property along the highway northeast of Kiowa was damaged. City Superintendent John Duvall discussed the issue with the council on how to approach the issue.

The big question is if they can tap into a rural water line temporarily. The council agreed to check out their options by contacting the rural water district and Coggins.

As Kiowa's major waterline replacement project nears completion, the council approved payment to NOWAK for $57,000; and to BG consultants for $10,500.

Spending limits authority for staff was on the agenda. For example, as administrator Demel's spending limit authority is $5,000.

Kiowa's Police Department Server bid for replacement is over $5,000. A question arose about why the police department could not use the city's server and needed their own. Demel said they are working with an IT company (SPI at Alva) to see why Chief Peterson needs his own server and not with the city server. Turns out a special Enterpol software is required for police departments, he explained. There are requirements the police server cannot be shared with another.

The bid for shop doors replacement bid is also over $5,000. The council approved the bid of $5,324.66 from Kem Humphrey Construction of Kiowa. The vote was 3-0, so it passed, with Robison absent and Hill voting no.

The city's workman's comp insurance renewal went out for bid last meeting. This new company, Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust (KMIT), is renewing for an entire year. The cost is $8798.

Vacant lots the city owns require them to pay property tax. The council decided to list those properties for sale.

When discussing electrical upgrades – replacing new electrical meters – the council questioned who will pay. John Duvall said he will get more information, such as how many houses are not up to code and need the new meters.

The council authorized giving Christmas $75 gift certificates to employees to use at any business in Kiowa.

Demel said Kiowa received $142,079.14 in Covid money for Non-Entitlement Units of Local Governments. The city had a 12.3 percent loss of revenue in 2019 from Covid.

This money allows the city to report as lost revenue. Demel said it allows them to complete paperwork.

In staff reports, Fire Chief Bill Duvall said they've worked on fire trucks. He also said the coin-operated water tank is broken and needs to be fixed.


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