The Chetopa City Council was left seeking another new member after its Sept. 15 meeting.

Council member Carthen Nash submitted a letter of resignation effective at the end of the meeting to Mayor Tammy Bushong.

The council planned to discuss the vacancy and the potential replacements during a Tuesday evening meeting.

During the Sept. 1 meeting, council member Gary Bryant questioned the state statute regarding residency for city council members and discussed Nash moving out of the city.

City Clerk Toni Crumrine said during that meeting that an attorney general’s opinion stated the intent of the council member must be taken into account. If the member still maintained a residence in the city and hadn’t changed his or her address, the council member could still remain on the board. Crumrine said Nash indicated he possibly would move back into the city limits.

Apparently, Nash has decided to stay at his new residence out of the city. He gave the resignation to the mayor following the Sept. 15 meeting. The council accepted the resignation in the Oct. 6 meeting.

The city staff placed a notice on Facebook asking anyone interested in filling the vacancy to notify Crumrine. She said on Tuesday that two people have expressed interest and that the council could decide during the Tuesday evening meeting or wait for more possible candidates.

Nash is the second council member to resign this year. Betsy Koontz resigned in June for health reasons.


Junk vehicles

In other business during the Oct. 6 meeting, the council continued hearing from people who have received notices regarding junk or untagged vehicles on their property.

Mark Rhodes told the council he got rid of his cars. Rhodes said he makes a living scrapping items and was in the process of hauling off the items when he received a letter. Normally vehicles and other items aren’t on his property for very long, he said.

Jim Inman said the vehicles he owns are not tagged because they are not used on the road. He was informed that the vehicles either needed to be tagged or he needs to build a fence around the vehicles so they could not be seen from the road. Inman stated that he would get rid of the vehicles, and the council granted a 90-day extension for him to comply with the ordinance.

The council also granted a 90-day extension to Patty Wilkinson to get rid of her vehicles and 60-day extensions for Johnna McDaniel and James Stephens to build fences around their vehicles.

The city was still working on notifications for other junk vehicles and nuisance properties.

In other business during the Oct. 6 meeting the council:

— Gave Kathy Pease 30 days to present a plan to correct violations of the minimum housing ordinance.

— Agreed to remove the merry-go-round in East River Park. Other park playground equipment had been repaired.

— Heard that Bushong had received complaints about four-wheelers being ridden on a street. Police Chief Scott Feagan reported that he has two four-wheelers impounded.

— Heard from City Supervisor Bryan Midgett that he has placed rock on the Elmore Park boat ramp but was waiting until campers were not using the ramp to pour concrete.

— Agreed to give David Napier an additional 30-day extension to clean up his property. Napier had asked city staff about a letter stating he needed to remove items from his property. He had heard about the letter but said he didn’t receive it. Crumrine checked the tracking of the letter and it had not been delivered. Crumrine gave him a copy of the letter with a deadline of Oct. 18 to clean up the property, and he asked for an extension. Council member Linda Seaman voted against the extension.

— Agreed to donate $50 toward candy for the Pumpkin Parade.

— Heard that Midgett had contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding erosion of the Neosho River bank. He was instructed to submit a plan for approval, but the Corps will not help.

— Heard that the fire department is hosting its annual dinner fundraiser to raise money for scholarships. Tickets can be purchased at the city office or from any firefighter.

— Approved police officer Travis Rakestraw continuing to help with mowing on his days off. The deadline for applications for the city helper position had been extended.

— Approved a building permit for Terry Hall to move a storage container onto his property.

— Approved a resolution setting a public hearing for Dec. 1 on condemnation of property owned by Bill Neel. The condemnation proceedings had been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The League of Kansas Municipalities and the city’s attorney, Shane Adamson, thought that because of the length of time since the original hearing, the process should be started over.

— Confirmed Bushong’s appointment of Stacy Wulf to the library board to replace Virginia Davis. It was also noted that Melissa Livingston had assumed the position of librarian. She had been filling in for Virginia Davis, who resigned.

— Met in executive session for nonelected personnel for five minutes with Adamson and Crumrine and for pending litigation for five minutes with Adamson, Crumrine and Feagan.

— Heard from Bushong that she wanted to see prices on computers and other items that were to be bought by city staff using coronavirus relief funds distributed by Labette County.

— Heard that Midgett and Bushong had discussed Justin Martin placing a gate at the end of his long driveway to prevent theft. It was decided he would need to install a walk-through gate for city employees to go through to read utility meters.

— Approved third-quarter pay run of $676 for the fire department and $820 for the first responder unit.

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