Updated: May 19
LA CYGNE – Apparently disregarding a suggestion by Linn County Commissioner Rick James, the La Cygne City Council on Tuesday, May 10, decided to continue to look for ways to finance building for the city’s fire department.
In a vote during the special meeting, which was called after the council could not meet during its regularly scheduled meeting on May 4, the council asked City Clerk Jodi Wade to proceed with applying to the Public Building Committee to proceed with issuing revenue bonds to finance part of the project. The city is also working to update estimates on the cost of construction of the building.
In a commission meeting on May 2, James talked to the other commissioners about combining city and county fire departments in Pleasanton and La Cygne in order to save money for taxpayers. It was one of three proposals he made at that meeting that included eliminating county funding for school resource officers and stopping the annual grant to cities for infrastructure. Both of those proposals drew swift backlash from parents, school administrators and city officials.
The cost of the projected cost of the building in July 2021 was about $745,000. A cost estimate by Zingre Associates in Fort Scott in April listed the construction price at nearly $933,000. That would include a 4,250-square-foot building, plus the option of office space and a meeting room inside and a 1,500-square-foot storage shed on the side.
Last month, the First Option Bank Trustee Foundation awarded the city a $100,000 grant for the new station. With about $300,000 in the city’s capital reserve fund, and use of a large part of the $171,000 received under the American Recovery Program Act (ARPA), the city would need as much as $300,000 or more in bonds or a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A loan through USDA would be for up to 40 years with an interest rate of 2.5 percent.
In a related matter, City Fire Chief Dan Nasalroad responded to comments at that commission meeting earlier in the month about firefighters who served on both city and county departments “double-dipping” into the Fireman’s Relief Association funds. He said there were no firefighters collecting double the benefits.
Police and codes enforcement officer Allison Fox discussed non-licensed vehicles — such as golf carts, side-by-sides and all-terrain vehicles on city streets and the various state and city regulations affecting them.
Council members were advised that they should consider implementing a registration for all non-licensed off-road vehicles. The fee system could be similar to regulations that Linn Valley and Paola use.
Councilman Jerome Mitzner took the opportunity during the public input portion of the agenda to get up from his seat at the table and talk to the other council members as a private citizen. He talked about the upcoming hearing on June 14 by the Linn County Planning and Zoning Commission on the construction of a 280-foot communication tower just outside of city limits on the southeast corner of the city.
With its base inside a 75-foot-square fenced compound, the tower was being erected by Skyward Land Services Inc. There was concern about the effect the tower would have on other communications in the city.
In other business, the council:
Approved a job description for a city codes officer and voted to advertise to hire for the position part-time.
Learned that the council’s safety committee was working to see if the city could create a quiet zone for trains traveling through the city at night.