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COUNCIL MEETING 01 09 17 (Bowling Alley / Golf Course Management, 2017 Street Program, County Sales Tax, Annual Jail Contract, Service Animals)

Chillicothe City Council members discussed but took no action regarding a proposal to amend city codes that would clarify provisions regarding service animals. The topic was introduced by City Clerk Roze Frampton, who stated that while the city has provisions regarding the licensing and control of dogs within the city, the city's existing codes do not address service animals. The proposal, which will be further discussed at a later date, states that service dogs must be registered and licensed; however, no license fee would be charged if the dog is fully trained as a guide dog or a hearing dog and is regularly used in the service of a blind or deaf person, or if the dog is fully trained as a service dog for physically or mentally disabled persons, or if a dog is owned by a governmental unit. If the city is unclear as to whether an animal is truly a service animal, the city clerk may make two inquiries to determine whether the animal qualifies as a service animal: 1) if the animal is required because of a disability; and 2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. The term "service animal" would not include a dog that provides only "the provision of emotional support, well-being, or companionship." The proposal also states that the dog would need to be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents using these devices in which case the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The city currently has codes restricting certain breeds of dogs, unless meeting certain criteria; however, if the dog is fully trained as a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog, breed restrictions would not apply.
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With Great Life Kansas City taking over management of the city-owned Green Hills Golf Course, effective January 1, Chillicothe City Council members passed an ordinance Monday evening repealing the formation of the Golf Board.
The city created the Golf Board to assist with management of the 18-hole course since its opening in the early 1990s. Golf Board members now, at the time of its dissolving, are Charles Bigler, Scott Ellis, Rollie Staldman, and Brooks Macoubrie. Along the same lines of repealing the ordinance establishing the Golf Board, the council on Monday unanimously voted to terminate a contract with Grand River Entertainment to manage the bowling alley. Grand River Entertainment was instrumental in establishing a bowling alley in Chillicothe about 12 years ago.
Management of both these facilities are now under the direction of Great Life Kansas City. City Council members unanimously approved a personal services contract December 22 with Great Life Kansas City, LLC, to manage Green Hills Golf Course and Fast Lane Family Entertainment Center. The agreement states that the city desires to promote and provide for the management of both facilities and that Great Life is a professional golf course, fitness and recreation management company whose principals have experience and expertise related to golf course, fitness and recreational management and promotion. The agreement is for five years. In accordance with the agreement, Great Life will, in part, operate the facilities, collect and disburse the money, handle hiring and employment (all employees of the facilities will be employees of Great Life), promotion and management of the facilities, the purchase and sale of food beverages, merchandise, supplies and services, the purchase and maintenance of insurance coverage for its operations and equipment, the handling of disputes with third parties, the collection and payment of all appropriate taxes, the securing of all appropriate licenses and the performance of all other day-to-day activities relative to the facility. The five-year contract calls for the city to provide $4,000 a month for management of both facilities with the amount to increase each year. Great Life will provide a budget to the city and the city will provide the amount of money that will be used to manage both facilities. Great Life Kansas City is the manager of both facilities and all of the revenues collected through the facilities will go to the city, according to City Administrator Ike Holland. The administrator stated that the city expects to see savings on operational costs and has an expectation of revenues going up eventually. "The shortfall is so steep right now," he said, "we won't break even for several years. Golf courses, as a general rule, do not make money, but the goal is to reduce our loss as much as possible." Holland stated this management firm will be instrumental in reducing the city's losses in operating the facilities. "They have a record of success with other golf courses that they own or manage of reducing those costs and losses."
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In other business Monday evening, the council:

  • Listened to a presentation by Livingston County Commissioner Ed Douglas and former commissioner Ken Lauhoff regarding the county's proposed sales tax ballot issue;

  • Passed an ordinance regarding a contract with All State Consultants for the 2017 street program;

  • Passed an ordinance authorizing an agreement with the Daviess/DeKalb Regional Jail for 2017. The agreement increases the rate from $40 to $45 per day per inmate.

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Chillicothe City Council members considered four bids for cash farming operations of city-owned land near the municipal airport. The approved bid was submitted by Pat Kimmis, Wheeling Farms, LLC. The successful bid was for $176 per acre, based on approximately 229 acres for a total of $40,304 annually. Other bids ranged from $105 per acre to $152 per acre. The agreement is for a three-year contract. The council approved the bid during their regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall.
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Lynn Leopard, who has served on the Chillicothe Municipal Utilities' Board of Public Works for the last four years, was reappointed to another four-year term Monday evening. The recommendation was made by Mayor Chuck Haney and approved by the council.
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The Livingston County Commission and other supporters of the half-cent sales tax question that will be on the April 4 ballot are visiting with community groups and other interested parties explaining why they feel the tax is a necessary revenue source for the county. Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas and former East District Commissioner Ken Lauhoff explained the tax proposal during the Chillicothe City Council meeting Monday evening at City Hall. Also in attendance were East District Commissioner Alvin Thompson, West District Commissioner Dave Mapel, and former West District Commissioner Todd Rodenberg. Douglas said that Livingston County is significantly under funded. He stated that a portion of the additional funds, if the tax issue would pass, would be used to help keep up with increasing prisoner/jail expense, and improve county roads in partnership with townships as well as with the city of Chillicothe for roads of mutual interest.
If passed, the additional sales tax is projected to generate an estimated $1,050,000 per year. Of this amount, the county would plan to spend up to $200,000 annually to assist the townships in improving county roads which will include purchasing and installing all road drainage tubes. Additionally, the county would assist the city of Chillicothe in improving roads of mutual interest. "The county has roads of mutual interest with the city," Douglas stated. Among them is Litton Road. "I've heard it will take about $1 million to pave from Mohawk to Trenton Road," Douglas said. "We'd like to help with that but right now we don't have any money." He said that if the sales tax passes, the county plans to allocate up to $50,000 a year to work with roads of mutual interest. Other roads of mutual interest, include Mohawk Road, Litton Road (from Mohawk north to the correctional center), and Grand River Road, west of the Christison Addition. Douglas also stated that if the tax increase passes, funds would be available to bridge the gap for 911 emergency management funding with the city, preserve the county facilities, such as the courthouse and sheriff's office and build a reserve fund similar to surrounding counties. "For a county our size, we need to have more than nothing in reserves," Douglas said. Douglas stated that a sales tax fund is better than increasing property tax. "Data shows that 44 percent will be paid by people from out of town," he said. Second Ward Councilman Wayne Cunningham said that while he agreed that the county needed to do something to increase revenues he indicated that an increase on property taxes could be better for local businesses that are already struggling with internet competition. Lauhoff retired after 20 years of service on the commission. "The hardest thing to do was the budget," Lauhoff told the council. "It was a struggle and a battle every year." He predicted that if the revenue increase does not pass and the board of prisoners increases by $150,000 this year, the existing budget will have to be cut by $150,000. "We have no other way of paying that $150,000. That is going to be a tough decision for whomever is in office," Lauhoff said. "We need your support to pass this revenue increase for Livingston County or at the end of this year and starting next year it is not going to be pretty," Lauhoff said. The county commission plans to vote on the ballot language for the tax proposal next week, Douglas said.
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Chillicothe City Council members voted Monday night to accept the deed of property located at 1560 Calhoun Street and proceed with the demolition of a house located on this property. City Administrator Ike Holland stated that the home had been identified as being in a non-livable condition and that the property owners wanted to deed the property to the city. The city plans to put funds aside for demolition of the structure and deed the property to the Chillicothe Area Habitat for Humanity for construction of one or, possibly, two homes. The property consists of two lots, extending from Calhoun Street to Webster Street.

CITY COUNCIL AGENDA

Grand River Entertainment, which was instrumental in getting a new bowling alley established in Chillicothe in 2005, will no longer manage the facility. Its operation will be under the management of Great Life. Chillicothe City Council members selected Great Life to manage the bowling alley, effective January 1, after becoming acquainted with the firm when the city sought a third party to manage the city owned Green Hills Golf Course. Council members plan to pass an ordinance during their regular meeting Monday night, January 9, 2017, that terminates the management contract with Grand River Entertainment in regard to the bowling alley. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Also on this meeting's agenda is a contract with All State Consultants for the 2017 street program. Portions of the following streets are included on the list: Tomahawk, Broken Arrow, 11th, Brunswick, Fairchild, 10th, Green, Fairchild, Forest, Windall, Litton. Some of the projects include curb and gutter, rebuilding with curb and gutter, and asphalt overlays. The city plans to spend approximately $1 million on street improvements this year. The city anticipates trimming the list once bids are received as the scope of the project will likely be larger than what the city can afford. The projects will be designed and put out for bid around April 1 with the hope that work can begin in May or June.

In other business, Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas is on the agenda to discuss a county sales tax that will be proposed in April.

The council tonight also anticipates passing an ordinance authorizing an agreement with the Daviess DeKalb Regional Jail for 2017. This is the city's yearly contract with the jail, and the new contract reflects increasing the rate from $40 per day per inmate to $45.

In other business, the council plans to:

  • consider reappointing Lynn Leopard to serve on the Board of Public Works;

  • repeal sections of the city's ordinance dealing with the golf board;

  • discuss accepting the deed of property located at 1560 Calhoun Street. The property consists of a house that has nuisance violations and the owners wish to deed the property to the city.

  • discuss a draft ordinance addressing rules and regulations for service dogs; and

  • consider an ordinance accepting a bid for airport farm ground operations

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