Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Council meeting short, but sweet

April 21, 2005

It was the second short and sweet meeting in a row for the Baldwin City Council Monday night, but there were some twists.

The only business on the agenda was a discussion regarding the code of ethics for the City of Baldwin City public officials. It was just a revision of the present code, but brought it more up to date and filled a few gaps.

Council members were encouraged to review the document again before acting on it at a later meeting. One item that was added involved enforcement, which Council Member Nancy Brown liked.

"I feel like it fills in the gaps that were in it before, such as enforcement," said Brown.

"It's more detailed," said Mayor Ken Hayes.

Council Member Ken Wagner was all for the code of ethics, too, but wanted to make sure it was understood that there weren't problems that caused the update.

"Before Phyllis (Hobson) gets a hold of this, there are no ethical problems right now," said Wagner. "Before the poison pens get started, I want to state for the record there aren't any ethical problems going on. I'm for it (the code)."

But, that wasn't the only oddity of the evening. During the public comment phase of the meeting, Baldwin resident Kathy Davis addressed the council regarding all-terrain vehicles being driven in the city limits. Police Chief Mike McKenna said Tuesday that there had been only one incident of ATVs used inappropriately in the city limits this year and he doesn't see it as a problem.

Davis, however, does and gave a rambling view of the city and how inappropriate use of ATVs needs to be addressed with the creation of a committee made up of young people to discuss the issue.

"The reason I'm here tonight is because of what has been going on around my kitchen table, what's going on in Baldwin," said Davis, to open her remarks. "It's not just the city council, it's not just the school district. My plea to the council is the keep what we have in Baldwin. That's what keeps people coming here.

"It's about the ATVs," she said. "We are classified as a level III city. If they are doing something wrong, they need to be caught, they need to be reprimanded. The parents need to be brought into it, too."

Davis went on to say that there had been noise problems around her house in the last three weeks because of ATVs. She also said that her grown sons drive ATVs, but they do it appropriately. It's a youthful group that she says is riding the ATVs around town causing trouble.

"Possibilities?" Davis asked the council. "It's awesome that we have the SRO (school resource officer) back at the high school. Could we have an assembly out there and tell them what the rules are?"

Davis wasn't alone in speaking to the council. Her son and daughter, Heather Montgomery, also added their thoughts.

"As a parents' point of view, it takes a village to raise a kid," said Montgomery, adding that she has a son who rides ATVs. "If a cop sees my kid doing something he shouldn't, I hope they stop him, follow him home and call me."

But, Davis didn't stop with the ATVs. She brought up the one-time proposed North Park, where a skate park, an amphitheater, swimming pool and community center were talked about being built. Those plans fell through when the council in the mid 1990s turned Baker University's offer for land now occupied by the Signal Ridge subdivision.

"The other issue is something I've tried to get going for a long time," she said. "I'm there for the kids. A community center. I've been told a lot of towns smaller than ours have good community centers. I think we need to have these things to keep our small town."

Mayor Hayes then asked Brown, who chairs the safety committee, to look into the ATV situation.

"I'll put it on the agenda," said Brown.

McKenna, who had heard of no problems regarding ATVs prior to Monday's meeting, was also asked for his input by Hayes.

"ATVs are legal during sunlight hours," he said. "When driven across private property at night, we give citations."

The council also heard its usual report from Monte Ezell, director of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission.

"Baseball season is upon us," Ezell said. "You may have noticed them practicing all over. We've got 39 teams this year. Day camp is well on the way. We've got a full summer schedule of 13 weeks."

He also informed the council of a planned trip to Kauffman Stadium to attend a Kansas City Royals game on May 9. It's a day game and while the trip is mostly designed for seniors, anyone can attend. Cost is $25 which covers the cost of a ticket and transportation. He also said his department is not having spring soccer this year.

Upcoming committee meetings and other items were announced: public safety committee meets at 4 p.m. Monday in City Hall; utility committee meets at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the new power plant; City-wide cleanup is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 7; community development committee meets at 4 p.m. May 9 at City Hall; and the Community Housing Assessment Focus Group meets at 8:30 a.m. May 10 at City Hall.

With no executive session, the meeting was adjourned shortly before 8 p.m. and lasted less than 30 minutes.

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