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Salina city grows by 15 acres

November 29, 2016 GMT

Salina’s land mass officially grew by a smidgeon Monday when city commissioners annexed the Riverwoods Natural Area and brought it inside of the city limits.

The ordinance was approved on the first reading presented by Dean Andrew, the city’s planning and zoning administrator.

The 15-acre tract just east of the flood control levee, south of Cloud Street, was the only city recreation area not within city boundaries, he said, and the annexation was necessary to enforce ordinances and respond to 911 calls.

With Andrew’s assurance that there is “no downside” to annexation, commissioners approved the ordinance.

Commissioners also agreed to vacate a 20-foot portion of a utility easement at Cottonwood Elementary School, 215 S. Phillips, so a water line could be moved.

The relocation of the line was needed because a storage shed was built on the easement, said Kris Upson, executive director of operations for the Salina School District.

“It was a design oversight that the shed got built over the top of the easement in the first place,” he said.

Moving the shed instead would have cost the district roughly $30,000, Upson said, which is more than the cost of moving the water line. It was installed in 2000, Andrew said.

“That’s how I made the decision to do what we’re doing,” Upson said.

Art at the field house

Under the meeting’s consent agenda, Commissioner Trent Davis initially questioned the approval of the design of the art installation for the field house and sending it to the art fabricator, because of a phone call he’d received from a citizen concerned about the durability of the art.

When Brad Anderson, director of Salina Arts and Humanities, assured Davis that “it’s not flimsy material,” the design, which involves a series of 10-foot tall, perforated metal panels, was approved to move on.

In other action, commissioners approved the purchase of fire hydrants for $55,784, and $200,257 to replace the city’s outdoor siren warning system.

During the earlier commission’s study session, City Manager Jason Gage spent 90 minutes reviewing a draft of the city’s capital improvements program. From 2017 to 2049, sales tax revenue is projected to total nearly $338 million with expenses estimated at nearly $258 million. Project expenses were outlined.

Gage said the plan is to grow the city’s general fund from approximately $3.5 million to the $8 million range, while meeting the funding demands from a number of projects and preserving a good bond rating, that will help keep interest rates low.

“We’re making an assumption on sales tax today that could be different over the next five to 10 years,” he said. “We’re going to have to think about how you build up the general fund. You need flexibility on your plan.”