CHETOPA —  The Chetopa City Council approved publication of a 2020 budget last month that calls for a slight increase in property taxes.

In its July meeting, the council also set a public hearing for Aug. 6 on the budget.

The budget shows net expenditures of $2,713,406, down from $2,809,841 in the 2019 budget. The tax rate would be 67.103 mills, compared to 66.867 for this year’s budget, for a difference of 0.236 of a mill. This year’s mill levy was based on assessed valuation of $3,148,693, while the 2020 budget shows assessed valuation of $3,158,425.

The tax rate for the general fund is actually dropping a little, but the employee benefits fund will require about 1.4 mills more next year. The library fund also requires a slight increase.


Sales tax

Also in the July meeting, the council approved a change in distribution of a 0.5% sales tax.

The city had been splitting revenue from the tax evenly between the special city/county highway fund and the park fund. The special city/county highway fund is used to resurface asphalt streets and chip and seal other streets.

The city council decided enough improvements have been accomplished in the parks, and with the high cost of asphalt and chip and seal work, more money needed to be directed to the highway fund. Moving forward, the council decided to devote 25% of the monthly remittance of sales tax to the park fund, with 75% going to streets.

The sales tax was approved by voters without designating a set percentage for each fund, so the council can decide how the money is divided as long as all of it is going toward parks and streets.

The council plans to seek a renewal of the sales tax in 2020.


Swimming pool

The council also took action to the keep the public pool open longer in the season.

Jessica Midgett had contacted City Clerk Toni Crumrine stating that the pool would be closed Aug. 3 as that was the last day she would be able to work. The council accepted Midgett’s resignation as pool manager.

Councilman Carthen Nash had contacted Darci Wilkinson to see if she would be available to work to keep the pool open longer, and she stated her vacation plans had changed, so she would be able to work a little longer. The council agreed to promote Darci Wilkinson to pool manager effective Aug. 4.


In other business the council:

— Approved a resolution setting Sept. 3 as the date for a condemnation hearing on property at 107 Plum St. The council also heard from Bryan Midgett that another house on the condemnation list had been torn down, and cleanup was expected to be finished soon.

— Heard from attorney Shane Adamson that Wayne Hester had not bought the former city office building at 332 Maple from the city, so the city does not have to honor Hester’s request for reimbursement of the money he spent on repair of a wall that had collapsed. The city sold the building to Jerry Chestnut. He sold the building to two other men, who then sold the building to Hester.

— Heard from Councilwoman Geraldine Castle that the trailer previously discussed at Fourth and Cherry had lights on one night. Castle had reported in a June 18 meeting that there had been a fifth-wheel camper parked there for about three weeks, and someone possibly was living in it.

— Heard from Nash that Chetopa RV contacted him about mowing in front of his business because the city had mowed in front of Dollar General. It was to be put on the mowing list.

— Agreed to pay city workers Bryan Midgett and Joey Midgett four hours for July 4. They had recorded only 1 1/2 hours on their time sheet but worked more than that.

— Met in executive session twice for five minutes each to discuss nonelected personnel.

— Heard that the Creative Corner Salon would have an open house July 20 with the Chamber of Commerce serving ice cream.

— Agreed to donate $200 to the Labette County Fair livestock premium sale.

— Adopted an ordinance regulating traffic within the city, incorporating the 2019 standard traffic ordinance for Kansas cities and an ordinance incorporating the 2019 uniform public offense code for Kansas cities.

— Heard that Crumrine had been contacted by Scott Wright about him putting up a barbed wire fence to connect to existing barbed wire on property he bought to be in compliance with the farm animal ordinance.

— Heard Bryan Midgett, city supervisor, discuss issues with the city’s mowing tractor. He presented a quote from PrairieLand Partners for a new tractor, but the council took no action. Midgett also told the council he had passed the written portion of the commercial driver’s license test and had to wait to take the driving portion.

— Agreed to allow the water department to buy an electric motor for $1,039.95. The motor was budgeted for 2020 but needed to be replaced sooner.

— Agreed to allow Justin Martin to pay his current utility bill plus 1/10 of the bill each month until the past due is paid in full. Martin said he had a water leak at his house.

— Heard that James Hoggatt had been cleaning a brick sidewalk by his residence but was told to stop. He didn’t know who told him to stop. The council informed Hoggatt he would proceed with cleaning the sidewalk.

— Heard from Mayor Terry Robison that the awning addition to the building at the cemetery was done.

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