Archive for Wednesday, December 10, 1997


December 10, 1997


A dozen city employees retired earlier this year, and their former bosses took time Tuesday night to hand out commemorative plaques and plenty of praise for their years of service.

The retirees honored during Tuesday's Lawrence City Commission meeting:

  • Finance: Carole Staus, customer service representative.
  • Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical: Capt. Donald Beckner, firefighter Israel Bermudez, and Capts. Robert Burton, Lloyd Hammerschmidt and Carl Myer.
  • Human relations/human resources: Allegra White, human relations specialist.
  • Parks and recreation: P. Don Shaw, cemetery supervisor.
  • Police: Lt. Mark Brothers.
  • Public works: Ernest Steinbach, maintenance worker.
  • Utilities: Coy Drinnon, wastewater project coordinator, and Edward Haynes, water quality technician.

Commissioners and department heads also recognized employees for longtime service. Together, the retirees and current employees represent much-appreciated hard work on the "front lines" of city services, Mayor Bonnie Augustine said.

"Thanks to all of you," Augustine said.

Bid date set

for drainage project

Companies wanting to soak up a contract for finishing a city drainage project now have a deadline to shoot for.

Commissioners set a deadline of 2 p.m. Dec. 30 for bids to handle the final phase of a drainage-improvement project located generally along Carolina Street, from 21st to 23rd streets.

The planned work includes installing new underground pipes along Carolina without disturbing mature trees in the area. The project would connect with an earlier phase of the project, which ran pipe beneath 23rd Street.

The final phase of construction is expected to begin in the early spring and be finished by the end of next year, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

The project will be financed using revenues from the city's stormwater utility, a monthly drainage fee assessed to all Lawrence utility customers since April to help upgrade and maintain the city's drainage system.

Typical homeowners pay $2 a month in drainage fees, while larger properties are assessed more and apartments less.

New police cars

get cruise control

Lacking cruise control wasn't an option for Lawrence police.

The police department's two newest police cars will be equipped with cruise control. Commissioners accepted bids for the two cars from Shawnee Mission Ford at a total cost of $39,996.

The department originally had sought two new 1997 Crown Victorias, but when none were available car dealers offered the city 1998 models instead.

The problem: Cruise control was standard on 1997 Crown Victorias, but is an option for the 1998 models.

Of the two bidders who sought the sale, only Shawnee Mission included cruise control as an alternate. The cost differential: $430.

Laird Noller Motors appended cruise control to its bid after the proposals were opened, offering to tack cruise control onto its cars for $191.

None of this addressed the question of whether police cars actually need cruise control in the first place. City Manager Mike Wildgen said the feature offered a glimpse of changing expectations over time.

"They still go on highways and they still go on the SLT (South Lawrence Trafficway)," Wildgen said. "We used to argue about whether they needed AM-FM radios, but now they're standard."

Roofers, siding company

hired for health facility

A new $14.1 million city-county health facility will have a roof and metal siding for portions of the building.

Commissioners accepted low bids for two construction packages for the $14.1 million project, to be located across Maine Street from Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Commissioners agreed to hire:

  • Boone Brothers Roofing, for $307,131, to handle roofing for the project.
  • A. Zahner, for $350,043, to provide manufactured metal wall panels for the building.

The city did not provide cost estimates for the two phases of the project, but City Manager Mike Wildgen said the entire project currently remains under budget, because most bid packages have ended up costing less than expected.

"We're doing great," he said.

The project is being financed jointly by the city and county, using revenues from a countywide sales tax approved by voters in 1994.

The new building will provide offices and service areas for three health agencies: Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn.

City approves

parking restrictions

Commissioners agreed to restrict parking along several city streets, but the new rules won't go into effect for another few weeks.

Commissioners agreed to prohibit parking in the following areas, as recommended by the city's Traffic Safety Commission:

  • Along the west side of Kensington Road, from 27th to 30th streets.
  • Along the south side of 21st Terrace, for 100 feet west of Ousdahl Road and 20 feet along the north side of 21st Terrace west of Ousdahl Road.
  • Along the south side of Gretchen Court.
  • Along the north side of Yale Road, from Westdale Road to Centennial Drive.
  • Along sides of the street opposite sidewalks along Colonial Drive, Colonial Way, Lexington Avenue and Jefferson Way.

Commissioners also voted to retain existing parking restrictions along Inverness Drive.

Commissioners told staffers to draw up ordinances to authorize the parking changes. The changes cannot go into effect until the ordinances are approved twice by commissioners, a process that typically takes several weeks.

New municipal court

to get new phones

The city's new municipal court also will have a new telephone and computer data system.

Commissioners agreed to buy the new system, for $16,277, from Lucent Technologies.

The municipal court is being built as part of a private retail-office complex at the southeast corner of 10th and New Hampshire streets.

The telephone system includes a wiring system for telephone and computer data. City Manager Mike Wildgen said the system was similar to one now used by Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

Pumps to boost

water system

New pumps will help pump up the pressure for water service.

Commissioners agreed to buy equipment, for $47,219, from Pump and Power Equipment.

The equipment would be used for the Oread booster pump station at the Kaw Water Treatment Plant. The equipment helps deliver water to the city's water tanks atop Mount Oread, just north of the Adams Alumni Center, and therefore helps regulate pressure for the city's water system, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

Annexation advances

for 1,129 acres

Lawrence-Douglas County planning commissioners soon will get a chance to consider what could be the largest annexation request in Lawrence history.

City commissioners agreed to forward their request for annexation of 1,129 acres of federal property owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Planning commissioners would consider the request, then forward a recommendation back to the city commission.

The property, southwest of Lawrence, is part of the land the city has leased from the corps for recreational uses. The annexation would allow the city to enforce laws, put out fires and otherwise control its features in the area, such as the new Eagle Bend Golf Course, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

"I think that this is the biggest annexation we've ever done -- certainly the biggest in the 24 years I've been here," Wildgen said.

Wildgen said the annexation likely would be the largest single annexation in the city's history.

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