The Liberal City Commission met Tuesday evening at 6:30pm with a full agenda before them. Among the items on the agenda, the commission approved the design and funding for the new ball field construction, see related story on kscbnews.net, approved a Wildflower Telecommunicationa LLC a contract Franchise to construct, operate, and maintain a telecommunications system in Liberal, and approved changes in the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan at the request of the Seward County Commission and the SCCC/ATS Board of Trustees.
The commission also approved an additional $30,000.00 for the First Time Homebuyer Program which will allow for an additional 12 homes to be purchased through this program. When these funds are expended 60 new home owners will have utilized this Program.
The City approved the purchase of office equipment in the amount of $20,000.00 to set up an office for the USCIS Support Services Project. USCIS informed the City of Liberal that instead of being here for 3 days in September to conduct testing and interviews, they would like to schedule 2 weeks in October for these services, which will not only include Southwest Kansas, but also the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle areas as well. The commission approved budgeted items for the Police Department which included 3 line cars, equipment to oufit the cars, tasers, and handheld radios.
Also approved was the vacating of a portion of street right of way in the Airport Industrial Park, and the acceptance of right of way at Armory Road and 8th Street. This was necessary with the sale of the property of the old ballfields.
The commission also moved to a Second Reading the 2015 City of Liberal Budget. The budget proposed reflects a mill levy increase of 3.798 mills. According to staff the increase is due in part to a State mandated increase to KPERS, which the City is now required to pay over 10%, an increase to Kansas Police and Fire retirement fund which the City is now paying over 20%, and in 2015, with the way the payroll schedule is set up for the City, will include 27 pay periods instead of the traditional 26, this alone accounts for almost $300,00.00. To combat higher taxes, according to Mark Hall, the City has eliminated 23 positions, reduced insurance coverage for spouses of employees, reduced capitol purchases, and depleted reserve funds. The second reading of the budget request will be at the August 26th meeting.