Tonganoxie — City Administrator Bill Crawford took Tonganoxie City Council members by surprise Monday when he announced his resignation.
Crawford said this morning that he plans to work full time with his wife, Donna, who owns Governmental Assistance Services, a Tonganoxie company specializing in grant preparation and consulting for small cities.
"That business is getting so big, it's too good of an opportunity," he said, adding the couple plans to expand the company to other parts of the state.
Crawford was hired May 31, 1990, to become Tonganoxie's first city administrator. He plans to stay in the Tonganoxie area, and said his resignation isn't a reflection of hard feelings toward the city.
"I'm very proud," he said. "I've had a very productive year and half over here. Everybody's been very good to work with."
His last day in the city office will be Feb. 27.
MIKE VESTAL, council member, said Crawford's resignation caught the council off guard. "None of us knew it was coming," he said.
Vestal said the council will hold a work session next Monday to discuss whether to search for a new administrator.
In another matter at Monday's council meeting, members approved construction of a new fire station, Crawford said, adding that the city is in the process of finalizing a location.
The new station will include five truck bays, a training room and office space, he said. The existing station will be converted into city council chambers and a police court, and the building just north of the station will be converted to city offices, which had been housed there in the past. The city now rents office space.
Crawford said the city will spend up to about $200,000 for construction and renovation, and hopes to see the projects completed by mid- to late summer.
THE COUNCIL Monday also addressed allegations by two Tonganoxie residents regarding improprieties in the plans for an extensive sewer upgrade project scheduled to get under way later this year. The city received a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant last year to help fund an overhaul of the city's sewer system.
Crawford said the residents reported alleged flaws in the project plans to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In response, Crawford, Mayor Herb Robbins, John Reischman, council member, and Cecil Kingsley, of BG Consultants, the firm that designed the project, traveled to Topeka on Monday to meet with KDHE officials.
"KDHE found the allegations groundless," Crawford said. "They said it was within all engineering guidelines."