Commissioners discuss appointment process for new committee

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth county commissioners have agreed to a process for appointing members to the new Building Codes Appeals Committee.

Commissioners discussed the process when they met Thursday.

In December, commissioners adopted building codes for unincorporated areas of the county. However, they excluded Easton and Kickapoo townships from the codes.

The county previously did not have building codes for unincorporated areas.

Commissioners are now setting up the Building Codes Appeals Committee to consider appeals from people who disagree with county staff members’ interpretation of the codes.

“We have to have an appeals process,” County Administrator Mark Loughry said Thursday.

Commissioners have delayed the implementation of the building codes until April 7 to allow time to form the appeals committee.

Commissioners previously agreed the committee would have five to seven members. But 10 people applied to serve on the committee.

Loughry suggested Thursday that each the five county commissioners could pick one person to serve on the committee. Any additional members of the committee can be selected by the entire County Commission.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said he did not need to appoint anyone to the committee because the district he represents will not be subject to the building codes.

Culbertson’s County Commission district includes the Easton and Kickapoo townships. These two townships were excluded from the building codes at his request.

Commissioner Mike Stieben asked about the possibility of the townships being included in the building codes in the future.

“It’s not going to happen,” Culbertson said.

Culbertson said no one from his district in northern Leavenworth County has applied to serve on the new committee.

Commission Chairman Mike Smith asked about someone going over the committee’s responsibilities with the new members.

Planning and Zoning Director Krystal Voth said her office is writing bylaws for the committee. It is her intention to go through the bylaws with the members.

Loughry asked commissioners about the number of people they want on the new committee.

“Is it seven that we’re shooting for or is it five or is it six?” he said.

Commissioners settled on limiting the committee to five people.

Voth said she leaned toward a five-member committee.

“If you’re comfortable with five, I am too,” Smith said.

Loughry asked commissioners to provide him with the names of the applicants they wish to individually appoint to the committee by next week.

Commissioners generally meet on Wednesdays. But they met on Thursday this week because of the Leavenworth St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which took place Wednesday.

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Approved funding recommendations for various programs made by members of the Leavenworth County-Cities Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council. The money being allocated to these programs comes from a special account. The account, which is maintained by the county, contains money generated by a state alcohol tax.

The funds will provide money to several high school project graduation programs in the county as well as agencies such as Youth Support Programs and the Richard Allen Cultural Center.

The funding recommendations from the Leavenworth County-Cities Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council total $43,425. However, a portion of the funding will come from $10,000 that was allocated for similar programs last year but not used because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Met behind closed doors in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss personnel matters.