Mayor: No consensus for mask vote

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Two members of the Leavenworth City Commission said they would like to have a vote on an ordinance that would require people to wear masks in public areas.

But there was not a consensus Tuesday among other city commissioners to bring the matter up for a vote.

Earlier this month, Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order that requires people across the state to wear masks in public places. But commissioners in the Leavenworth County government voted to exempt the county from the mask requirement.

County officials recommend people wear masks, but it is not mandatory.

Last week, Leavenworth city commissioners reviewed a draft of an ordinance that, if approved, would require people to wear masks in public. The ordinance would be limited to only the city of Leavenworth.

No action was taken during last week’s City Commission meeting, which was a study session.

Mayor Pro-Tem Nancy Bauder brought up the ordinance again during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the City Commission.

“We have a draft ordinance here and I think we ought to consider voting on it,” she said.

Mayor Mike Griswold said commissioners had decided to put the ordinance “on the shelf” at the conclusion of their discussion last week. He said they made no commitment at that time to bring the matter up for a vote.

“So basically we were supporting the status quo,” he said.

Griswold said the data concerning COVID-19 cases in the county is not great. But Griswold said he does not know if the numbers are much worse a week later.

Griswold said he believes more people are wearing masks in the community.

The mayor said he does not support bringing the ordinance up for a vote. But he said this does not mean commissioners cannot continue to revisit the matter.

City Commissioner Camalla Leonhard said commissioners had agreed last week to shelf the ordinance.

“It’s only been a week,” she said.

Leonhard said she would like to have more time to evaluate the data.

City Commissioner Mark Preisinger said he is in favor of having a vote on the ordinance. He said commissioners should “quit walking the fence and vote.”

Jermaine Wilson, the fifth member of the City Commission, was absent Tuesday.

“It’s two to two,” Griswold said. “We don’t have a consensus.”

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth County Commission:

• Reached a consensus to advance an ordinance to establish a redevelopment district for the property where the Price Chopper store is located. The ordinance will be brought before commissioners for a final vote during a future meeting.

The redevelopment, or tax increment financing, district is being sought as part of planned renovations to the Price Chopper store.

Commissioners reached a consensus to advance the ordinance following a public hearing on the issue.

• Adopted a resolution to schedule an Aug. 25 public hearing for the creation of a community improvement district for the property where Luxury and Imports is located.

If the community improvement district is approved, an additional sales tax could be charged at that location. Money from the additional sales tax could be used to pay costs associated with improvements at that location.

• Approved a bid from Pruett Construction, Lancaster, for a stormwater project in the amount of $146,033.

• Approved a bid from Little Joe’s Asphalt, Bonner Springs, for various pavement projects in the amount of $1.8 million.

• Approved an ordinance to remove parking spaces along Fourth Street on the west side of the Leavenworth County Courthouse.