Chanute city commissioners approved the purchase of $160,300 in gas utility equipment during Monday evening’s meeting.

The gas odorization system and regulator station will replace 20-year-old equipment at the North Town Border System. The old system leaks, which results in call-outs to investigate gas smells. Utility Safety and Design, Inc., engineering and utility services in Wichita, recommended the low-bid system, which will take three to four months to be installed.

Commissioners also scheduled the 2021 budget hearing for the Aug. 10 meeting, when they probably will also consider ordinances to increase sewer, water and trash rates.

Commissioners approved a special use permit for property at 332 W. Main to serve as USD 413 school district’s Chanute Extension Academy for fifth through 12th grades.

The commission approved a revised deadline to distribute $132,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to businesses as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) relief assistance. The original intent was to have all funds approved or allocated by Monday, but due to changes in forms, the distribution is pushed back to Oct. 26.

Kim Ewert with Chanute Regional Development Authority said the plan is to bring applications for commission approval as they come in. Businesses have until Oct. 1 to request an application and until Oct. 15 to submit them.

The commission appointed Commissioner Tim Fairchild to serve on the Land Bank Board, and approved the appointment of James Halstead and Laura Mallett to the Human Relations Board. The board has five member terms expiring, which leaves the remaining vacancies to fill.

Commissioners approved a Neighborhood Revitalization Program application from Gratz Peters for a $176,000 residence at 1116 Osa Martin Blvd.

The commission faced a list of seven resolutions for city code violations and heard from one property owner. Commissioners passed resolutions on 1609 S. Evergreen, owned by Kevin Hamilton; 909 S. Forest, owned by David Small and Yolanda Bloemer; 309 S. Tennessee, owned by Garry and Mary Pennington; 921 S. Santa Fe, owned by Michelle Kerby and Joseph Haney, and 8 East 4th, owned by Brian and Vickie Maddox.

Property owner Steve Fickel met with the commission about his property at 112 W. Ash and said he has fixed many of the problems despite supply delays caused by COVID-19. He objected to the resolution, which commissioners passed 4-1. The resolution was changed to give Fickel 30 days, instead of the previous 11 days, and Commissioner Phil Chaney voted against it.

Fickel also addressed property at 1019 N. Grant, owned by Yolanda Bloemer, and adjacent to property Fickel owns.

Fairchild expressed frustration with homeowners who do not address issues or work with city staff for a solution. He said he wants to help people, and Mayor Jacob LaRue, in his later comments, also urged property owners to meet with city officials if there are problems.

“Anybody gets on this list, come to the meeting, doggone it,” Fairchild said. “Don’t bail on your responsibilities.”

Interim City Manager Todd Newman reported to the commission that plans still call for the Maring Aquatic Center to close Aug. 9. He said attendance is down, and the pool made $6,000 in revenue against $7,500 in expenses.

He also said the city is in talks with the county about the intersection of 21st and Plummer, and commissioners gave a consensus to do a traffic study. He said workers are installing turf on two ballfields, which will take six to eight weeks.


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