Archive for Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Baldwin City Council moves preschool conditional use permit forward

Baldwin City Hall

Baldwin City Hall

July 2, 2013

The Baldwin City Council gave initial approval on Monday to Rainbow Experience Preschool’s proposed relocation, but it’s still not certain the preschool will open at a new address in August.

On a 5-0 voice vote, the council approved the first reading of a conditional use permit Rainbow needs to relocate the 48-student preschool. The permit would allow the preschool to move from its home of the last decade in the basement of the Baldwin USD district offices on Chapel Street to the former Lighthouse Baptist Church at 115 Sixth St. The council will take final action on the application, which has Baldwin City Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval, during its July 15 meeting.

That would complete the city’s review of the preschool’s move, but Rainbow also has to secure a state license for the new site. After last month’s planning commission consideration of the permit application, Danita Price, president of the Rainbow Preschool Board of Directors, said there was a 90 percent chance the preschool would be in the new site when school opened in August.

No Rainbow representative attended Monday’s council meeting. However, Tina Rakes, Baldwin City codes administrator, said the preschool had the option of remaining at its current location if the state license wasn’t secured by the start of school. The preschool would then move during the December holiday break to keep disruption at a minimum, she said.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a letter of support to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for a walking/biking trail around Douglas County State Lake. The Douglas County Commission will consider a similar letter of support Wednesday. City Clerk Collin Bielser said the city was not asked to contribute financially to the project, which would be state funded. However, the city could be asked to link to the trail in the future as its trail system expands.

• Heard from Bielser that the Sunflower Foundation has approved a grant to build a trail linking West Park on High Street to the small park at the Santa Fe Depot. Bielser said he didn’t know how much grant money the city would get. The city applied for $50,000 and would be required to match the amount it receives.

• Approved the purchase of 100,000 tons of salt at the cost of $46.88 per ton for next winter in cooperation with Douglas County.

• Received a report on the city’s 2012 fiscal year audit from Audrey Odermann of Mize Houser & Company. Odermann praised the city staff for putting financial safeguards in place the past two years and taking steps to build fund balances. All the city’s fund balances were in the black at the end of 2012, in contrast to 2010 when four funds finished the year in the red, she said. City Administrator Chris Lowe said the improvement was due to the past city council’s hiring city financial director Brad Smith. With Smith’s help, the audit was completed for the council’s review before it starts 2014 budget deliberations this month, Lowe said. In recent years, the audit report wasn’t available until September, he said.

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