During Tuesday' meeting of the Leavenworth City Commission, the city manager was asked to meet with various groups and create a report about issues related to the community's homeless population.
During Tuesday’ meeting of the Leavenworth City Commission, the city manager was asked to meet with various groups and create a report about issues related to the community’s homeless population.
The request came from Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger.
Preisinger said he has received comments from people regarding the homeless situation in the city.
“Whether it is real or perceived, it is an issue,” Preisinger said.
He asked City Manager Paul Kramer to meet with various groups such as business owners, the Leavenworth Main Street Program, the Salvation Army, a clergy association and a local homeless shelter to discuss the matter.
Commissioner Lisa Weakley argued that it should be the job of the commissioners to meet with residents about the issue.
Preisinger said there may be some people who would be hesitant to speak about the issue during a public meeting of the commission.
Preisinger said he is not asking that the city manager to meet with 50 people. But the mayor pro-tem said he would like Kramer, or members of his staff, to meet with a reasonable grouping.
The mayor pro-tem said the City Commission may eventually have a public meeting to discuss the issue, but he would like to see a report from the city manager first.
This is not the first time Preisinger has raised concerns related to the homeless population during a City Commission meeting.
Last month, Preisinger said he wanted commissioners to discuss “beefing up” loitering laws. At the time, he said there was at least a perceived increase in the city’s homeless population.
Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens later reported to commissioners that loitering laws were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Preisinger recounted an incident in which he encountered someone who was sleeping on a mattress in a downtown parking lot.
Weakley said she had witnessed a similar situation in another area of the city.
“The problem is real,” she said. “There are homeless people in our community.”
Mayor Nancy Bauder and Commissioner Larry Dedeke said they did not have problem with Kramer carrying out Preisinger’s request.
Kramer said there may be creative solutions other than involving law enforcement.