Police Dept. not moving to Middle School building

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

The Concordia City Commission came to a consensus Wednesday night that moving the Police Department into the soon-to-be vacated Concordia Middle School is not a viable option at this time.
Concordia City Manager Larry Uri said there had been preliminary discussions within the department about relocating to the Middle School, which will be closing at the end of this school year. Uri said he had not gone far in the process to fully study moving the department, and he wanted direction from the Commission as to whether to proceed.
"There has been a volunteer group that's been working to see if they could gather some support for volunteer action that would take over some of the other facets of the building," Uri said. "I applaud their efforts, but I don't know that they've gained a following. We're not seeing a big public movement."
When asked what the current state of the department was, Uri said the roof needs replaced. New Police Chief Bruce Johnson said that there is a lack of room for both storage and evidence holding.
Commissioner Tim Parker said he thought the city had enough on its agenda now with the dam nearing construction, and he didn't want the Commission to lose focus on that.
"Personally, I don't see the Middle School as a good fit for the Police Department," Parker said.
Mayor Lyle Pounds agreed, and said with the ALCO building already in the city and county's possession, he didn't want to take on another building.
The Commission agreed to tour the Police Department prior to its next meeting to evaluate the building.
While no decision was made, the Commission spent the majority of the meeting hearing proposals on insurance coverage.
Staff received four proposals for the city's general liability coverage insurance, and all four companies were on hand Wednesday to make their pitches.
The lowest bid came from Midwest Public Risk out of Independence, Mo., for $55,523. Melanie Mott, with MPR, said her member-owned company offers a pool of insurance money for coverage. The plan she offered would give the city the same coverage it currently has, but does not include coverage of the Airport, which would add another $7,500 to the plan.
Tom Jones with Kansas County Association Multiline Pool presented his plan, which came in at $74,768. Jones said his company spends a great deal of time on risk management, and works at preventing claims against the city.
Steve Lindsey with Peoples Insurance, which currently insures the city, presented his plan for $106,763. The plan included coverage of the airport, and featured a single deductible per occurrence on all city vehicles and buildings. It does not, however, provide the city with flood insurance.
The highest bid came from Kastl-Powell Insurance Agency at $156,768. Connie Walenta and Mike Johnson, with Berkshire Hathaway, presented their plan, which was similar to the other bids, and included $250 comprehensive and $500 collision deductibles.
The Commission will make a decision on insurance coverage at its next meeting.
During his Manager's report, Uri introduced Johnson as the newly hired Concordia Police Chief.
Johnson comes back to Concordia from Sedgwick, Kan., after having served as interim police chief twice – from October to December 2005 and July 2009 through March 2010.
In addition to his time as chief, Johnson also served as assistant chief from January through March 2006, and was a patrol officer from April through August 2012.
Johnson replaces Chris Edin, who resigned Feb. 13 after a protection from stalking order was filed in Cloud County District Court, alleging he sexually harassed an employee.
The Commission accepted a number of vehicle bids for the utility department.
A low bid of $14,335 from Concordia Chevrolet/Buick was accepted for a 2012 Chevy Impala to be used by Bruno Rehbein, city building inspector.
A bid of $12,824 from Foley Equipment was accepted for a new air compressor to be used by the street, park and water departments. The cost will be split with the water department.
A 2013 Ford F-650 was purchased from Womack Sunshine Ford-Kawasaki for $45,519. The truck will be used for plowing snow, and hauling debris and asphalt.
A one-ton truck and chassis from Concordia Chevrolet/Buick for $16,429 was also approved. The truck will be used in the parks and cemetery, and replaces a 2008 model that had been having mechanical issues.
The final bid accepted was for a utility vehicle – a 600 Mule – from Womack Sunshine Ford, for $2,700. The vehicle will be used at the Sports Complex.

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