KDOT grants discussed at city meeting

Staff writer

Peabody Economic Development and Main Street Director Shane Marler told Peabody City Council on Monday evening that he has begun work with EBH Engineers on a transportation enhancement grant from Kansas Department of Transportation. Peabody has a 1-percent sales tax in place that helps pay for street repairs and Marler is hoping to leverage those funds with grant money to maximize the impact.

“It is an 80/20 match,” he said. “They would fund 80 percent of the project and we would be responsible for 20 percent. The projects they prefer are those that include streets into the city or main thoroughfares.”

Because of the cost of street rehabilitation, the funds raised annually are only capable of repairing a few blocks. The transportation enhancement grant would cover considerably more street surface.

Marler said the applications are due in February and the allocations will be made in May.

Peabody was recently awarded a $45,000 KDOT grant for directional community signage on U.S. 50 and in town.

The initial meeting with the KDOT consultants should come in the next two weeks, Marler reported. After the consultant completes the study, he will meet with the City Council early in 2013 to present the findings.

In other business:

  • A report by Public Works Director Darren Pickens indicated that additional repairs to the grinder pump at the Fifth Street lift station will total $9,921. The pump has only been in service three years and cost $18,000. After discussion, council members decided to wait until after the first of the year to either approve the expense or purchase a new pump.
  • The council approved a resolution to adopt an additional benefit plan for deferred compensation for employees who chose to participate.
  • Due to shortages in year-end fund balances, council members approved deferring payment of unused personal time-off benefits until after the first of the year. Employees may accumulate PTO days and take half the time in a cash equivalent at year’s end. The council agreed to revisit the policy and determine whether they wish to change it.
  • City Administrator Mac Manning told the council he had returned the postage meter the city had been renting due to poor service from the vendor. Department heads will be responsible for purchasing their own stamps in the future. The savings will be about $400 a year for the city.
  • Marler has been assisting Peabody Township Library with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help pay for some of the upgrades coming to the library in future months.
  • Due to budget restraints, the council voted not to give holiday bonus gifts this year. “I want to state though, that it is not because we don’t want to; it’s because the funds just aren’t available,” council member Janice Woodruff said.
  • Larsen called attention to comments the city office has received about the city not having a public works employee on duty from 4 to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Those employees work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discussion followed and the topic was tabled until a future meeting after more information could be gotten and discussion was had with the employees.
  • Council member Tim Petersen said he had been asked if the city was considering placing a handicap parking spot in front of his new restaurant after he moves. The council agreed to consider it and gather additional information before making a decision.
  • Council members went into executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel matters and returned to open meeting. No action was taken.

The next City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 27.

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