Chanute city commissioners wrangled over the city’s 150th anniversary celebration before they approved an amended tourism contract with the Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce Monday evening.
The board voted 4-1 to approve an agreement that provides an additional $25,000 over last year’s budget for tourism projects. Commissioner Phil Chaney cast the dissenting vote.
Commissioner Sam Budreau said the community can come together and move ahead.
“We can put this behind us,” he said.
At the start of August, Chaney left a meeting of the Downtown Revitalization Committee that had been tasked with organizing entertainment and scheduling a date for Chanute’s 150th anniversary.
Chaney talked early in the discussion about other communities that will have 150th anniversaries and said most of them were organized by the local chamber.
Chanute Chamber Director Jane Brophy then stood to clarify that the local chamber had never declined to participate. She said the chamber board would not commit until it received more information from DRC, but that they were never asked to head the entire project.
“We are not against anything with the 150th,” she said.
The Chamber and Main Street Chanute are open to helping with the event, but have not committed, Chaney said, and Brophy agreed.
Commissioner Tim Fairchild brought up the Blues Blast events that the Chamber organized, and First Fridays that were organized by another group.
“If you would take the lead, that would be awesome,” he said.
Commissioner Kevin Berthot said the last big celebration was 1961, the year of the Kansas centennial, and included a beard-growing contest.
Brophy pointed to a proposed tourism kiosk as a project that might use much of the additional funding, and asked if the $25,000 was firm.
Mayor Jacob LaRue said that the tourism committee could come back to the commission for funding on a case-by-case basis.
Later in the meeting, the commission approved up to $9,000 in matching funds for a grant to put a Welcome mural on the building wall east of the Octave Chanute and Wright Brothers sculpture park.
“Murals have become a very hot item across the state,” Brophy said, and are attracting visitors.
Organizers hope to unveil the mural on the Friday before Artist Alley.
The city does not own the wall, which was once a common interior structure between the Manhattan Hotel, which was demolished, and the existing Outsiders building. Any repairs will be done by the chamber. Educational signs about aviation pioneer and city namesake Octave Chanute have been removed and will be reinstalled after the mural is finished.
Chaney was also the only dissenter when the commission adopted the 2023 budget and tax rate. There were no public comments on the budget during the hearing, and Budreau said that much of the increase from last year is due to gas utility price increases.
Later during commissioner comments, Chaney said the price of natural gas scares him, especially with what the markets have done the past few days.
Tuesday morning during trading, the price of natural gas was $9.932 per unit, double what it was at the same time a year ago and up from $2.657 two years ago.
Commissioners did not formally vote, but gave a consensus to hold the annual fireworks display on Artist Alley weekend. The show was delayed from July 4 by supply issues, but the pyrotechnics have now been delivered to St. Joseph, Mo.
City Manager Todd Newman said the Parks Advisory Board plans to hold a Music in the Park event with food vendors in Santa Fe Park during Artist Alley weekend. Officials had considered holding the fireworks display on Labor Day weekend, but many people leave town then, LaRue said.
The commission approved up to $775,000 to purchase a new fire truck. The actual request from Fire Chief Jeff Mitchell is $725,000 to replace a 2001 pumper, but Assistant City Manager Ryan Follmer said he increased the amount to cover contingencies.
The Fire Department will seek bids and delivery will take two years. Mitchell said the next truck replacement will not be due until 2035.
The rescue vehicle will be funded from $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds. Newman said two trash trucks will also come from the fund.
Commissioners approved resolutions to declare properties at 112 S. Denman, owned by Pearl Felts and Lloyd Coble; 1016 S. Santa Fe, owned by Jayson B. Williams; 1501 S. Malcolm, owned by Brett E. and Shawn A. Stipp; 620 S. Central, owned by Chris Heilig; 714 N. Grant, owned by Lacy Perez and Brianna Nichole Powell-Perez; 1008 S. Santa Fe, owned by the Ritz Family Trust; 1519 S. Highland, owned by Joyce Dinkle; 924 W. Main, owned by HR&SS Inc.; 215 S. Gretchen, owned by HomeTeam Properties LLC; 120 N. Steuben, owned by Richard and Carolyn Lisman; 212 N. Evergreen, owned by Sandra K. Dietrich; and 315 W. 5th, owned by Jacqueline Dierks, in violation of city code.
A property at 705 W. Oak was removed from the agenda.
In his comments, Fairchild expressed concern about the number of code violation resolutions.
Previous agendas have limited the number of resolutions to eight per meeting, but Newman said officials determined funds are available to deal with more.
Also during the comments, Budreau complimented city staff for its handling of a power outage on Aug. 14.