Published in the Iola Register on Mar. 6, 2014.

City approves option to purchase lots

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

 After a 20-minute executive session Wednesday night, the Concordia City Commission agreed to pay $1,000 for the option to purchase three lots of downtown property.
 Concordia City Manager Larry Uri said the City will pay Doug and Cathy Funk $1,000 for an option to purchase the three eastern most lots at 6th and Broadway. The City will have a year to exercise its option to purchase the lots for $45,000.
Upon approval of the option, Uri said, the City will take possession of the land and can use it for public events. Should the Funks receive another offer in the next year, the City must exercise its option to purchase within 45 days.
 "The future plans for this are in progress, but essentially we are looking at using this property as an anchor – the future spot of a downtown park that would be designed to draw people into the area," Uri said. "This will be a part of efforts we'll be proposing to you later in the year for a major expenditure of TIF funds for the revitalization of downtown."
 Uri said the purchase of the land would be a Tax Increment Financing-eligible expense.
 In other business, the Commission approved moving forward with two TIF projects along Highway 81.
 TIF money – $4,840 – will be used for site clearance and grass seeding for LeDuc Memorial's future location at 701 Lincoln. The second project, at 1302 Lincoln, will be for the replacement of Sonic Drive-In's north entrance in the amount of $3,966.
 The Commission also approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for a mill and overlay of Fifth Street from Broadway to State and Fourth Street from the west city limits to Davies Street. Public Works Director Ron Copple said KDOT will pay 75 percent of the project, not to exceed $200,000. The City is responsible for 25 percent of the project, as well as the design cost.
An agreement with Campbell and Johnson Engineers was then approved for $21,000 to design and inspect the project.
 A low bid of $223,859 from APAC-Kansas Inc., Shears Division of Salina was also approved for another KLINK project. The mill and overlay of Sixth Street from Archer to Cloud is scheduled to begin on May 5 and be completed by June 14. The City's share of the project, including design, will be $66,414.
 During his city manager report, Uri said the dam permits may be issued this month. He said engineers with KLA Environmental Services and Campbell and Johnson are working together to finish the contract specifications so they will be ready as soon as the City can proceed with the dam project.
 During public comments, Steve Snyder addressed the Commission on the City's breed specific ban.
Snyder said he had a wolf shepherd that he had registered and tagged within the city limits for the last five years. Earlier this year, he said, he received a call from Uri telling him the dog needed to be removed from the city limits because it was a hybrid, having been bred with a wolf.
 Snyder said under federal and state law, his dog is a domestic animal, and not a hybrid. He said there are a number of wolf dogs in the City, and a number of them are not registered. He presented a petition with 149 signatures asking that the Commission reverse its breed specific ban, saying it does not work to keep pit bulls out of the City.
 Snyder said he had removed his dog from the city limits, but it was not doing well because of its separation anxiety.
 Uri said there was more to the issue, and he would be willing to gather materials to allow the Commission to look into the situation at the next meeting's study session. Commissioner Charles Johnson said if it would be two weeks before the Commission could discuss Snyder's situation, he should be allowed to have his dog in the meantime, and Uri agreed.
 In addition to the executive session for acquisition of real estate, the Commission also spent 20 minutes discussing confidential business data with CloudCorp Executive Director Ashley McMillan and Utilities Director Chad Buckley. No action was taken after reconvening.