Commissioners review proposed goals

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A commitment to public transportation and advocating for a new bridge across the Missouri River are among the proposed goals for the Leavenworth City Commission.

City Manager Paul Kramer reviewed proposed changes to a list of City Commission goals when commissioners met Tuesday.

No action was taken during Tuesday’s study session. But commissioners may approve their 2020-2021 goals when they meet again next week.

Kramer said commissioners generally review their goals each spring during a half-day meeting.

“We adopt a comprehensive set of goals each year,” he said.

But because of concerns about COVID-19, commissioners have been unable to have their annual goal-setting meeting this year.

Instead of gathering in person for Tuesday’s study session, commissioners used an online videoconferencing service.

Kramer said he received guidance from the commission to obtain informal input and go forward with updating the goals.

He said commissioners may want to do a review of the goals in the fall. But having something in place now will provide guidance to city staff members while working on a proposed budget for 2021.

Kramer proposed removing or modifying goals commissioners adopted in previous years. The city manager also prepared additional goals for commissioners to consider.

One goal Kramer said he failed to add to the list for Tuesday’s meeting concerns public transportation.

“The commission has over and over indicated a dedication to pursuing public transportation,” he said.

Kramer suggested he can add language to the list of goals regarding a commitment for funding for public transportation in the next budget cycle.

Another proposed goal is for the city to continue to advocate for securing the design and construction funding for a replacement of the Centennial Bridge.

The Centennial Bridge stretches across the Missouri River from north Leavenworth to Platte County, Missouri.

A replacement bridge was one of 40 projects recently announced as part of a new 10-year state transportation plan. But inclusion in the list does not guarantee a new bridge will be constructed.

“We cleared a hurdle but now it’s time to continue that pressure and get that bridge designed and built,” Kramer said.

Another proposed goal is pursuing a partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation for improvements to Fourth Street in the downtown area.

Kramer said city officials would like to secure funding to improve Fourth Street from Limit Street all the way to Metropolitan Avenue, but they are especially focused on the downtown area.

“That’s a big issue in the community – Fourth Street through the downtown," he said.

Another proposed goal concerns a review of ordinances to determine if they are adequate to protect the city’s interests for “maintaining a safe, aesthetically pleasing, and vibrant downtown.”

Another proposed goal calls for the implementation of a plan to develop a reserve fund for wastewater treatment large enough to pay for 90 days of operations.

Kramer said the city currently has a three-day reserve fund for wastewater treatment, which is far below industry standards.

He said revenue would be needed to achieve a 90-day reserve. He suggested a temporary citizen advisory committee could be formed to look at the issue.

“But it’s something I think we really need to turn our attention to over the next 12 months,” he said.

At the end of Kramer’s review of proposed changes to the commission’s goals, Commissioner Camalla Leonhard suggested adding a goal to explore improvements and an expansion of the city’s recycling center.

Mayor Mike Griswold also suggested adding a goal concerning the continued monitoring of a stormwater improvement program.

Kramer had recommended removing a previous goal regarding the implementation of the stormwater program because this goal has been achieved.

But Griswold proposed Tuesday to replace the goal with one that will continue to provide visibility to the program.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Received a quarterly report about Leavenworth public schools.

• Received a presentation about the 2019 annual report for the Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department.

• Reviewed the city’s 2019-2024 stormwater management program.