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Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2004

City Commission briefs

August 4, 2004

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Road (project) rage

Lawrence city commissioners said Tuesday they still were waiting for a proposal to shorten duration of road maintenance and construction projects.

"I continue to get comments from the public about road projects, delays in road projects," said Commissioner David Schauner, citing the recently constructed roundabout at 19th Street and Barker Avenue as a particular source of complaints.

Mayor Mike Rundle said city staff were working to create incentives that would financially reward road crews that finish projects early.

"We'll have that report in the next six weeks or so," Rundle said.

'Sea of firewood'

As expected, the Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday sent the issue of wood shingles to the Uniform Fire Code Board of Appeals and the Uniform Building Code Board of Appeals for further deliberation.

Stewart Nowlin, the west Lawrence resident who raised the issue, again asked commissioners to consider rules that would invalidate neighborhood covenants requiring the shingles. Nowlin said the shingles were a fire hazard.

"I think ending this sea of firewood on peoples' roofs is a positive," Nowlin said.

Lawrence resident Bill Mitchell warned commissioners not to interfere with neighborhood covenants.

"Covenants, by and large, are neighborhood enhancers," Mitchell said. "I would expect this commission to strengthen covenants."

Officials gave no timeline for a proposal to emerge from the advisory boards.

Olin interview

July's issue of Homeland Protection Professional, a trade publication, includes an interview with Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin, city officials said this week.

In the interview, Olin said rank-and-file police officers needed better education to deal with the threat of terrorism. And local, state and federal law enforcement agencies must cooperate for the fight against terrorism to be successful.

"Way back in 1969 and 1970, we had campus riots and even had martial law declared," Olin said in the interview. "We've had a long history of law enforcement agencies working together. It's been a joint effort for 30 years."

Olin has been a member of the terrorism committee of the International Association of Police Chiefs since 1998. The interview can be found online at the city's Web site, www.lawrenceks.org.

Nursing awareness

Mayor Mike Rundle on Tuesday proclaimed this week -- Aug. 1 to 7 -- as "Breastfeeding Awareness Week" in Lawrence, but no mention was made of a brewing commission debate on the topic.

Rundle's proclamation said that "breastfeeding promotes healthier mothers and benefits society through lower health care costs for infants, a healthier work force, strong family bonds and less waste."

Commissioners did not discuss, however, a proposed ordinance that would guarantee the right of mothers to breast-feed their children in public places. That discussion is expected by the end of August.

Sales taxes increase

The city's sales tax receipts in July were up compared with the same time last year, City Hall reported.

The city collected $955,011 in sales taxes in July, up from $843,776 a year ago. Its share of the Douglas County sales tax was $638,341 in July, up from $561,175 a year ago.

Bills online

A complete list of the weekly bills paid by City Hall will be made available online.

Officials said this week the list of bills approved by the commission at each meeting would be posted to the online agenda the day after the meeting.

The listing, for example, shows the city paid $1.02 million in bills to 365 vendors on July 31.

The agendas can be found at the city's Web site, www.lawrenceks.org.

Airport improvements

The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday approved a bid of $981,900 for improvements at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

The improvements include rehabilitation of a runway, replacement of a runway lighting system and installation of precision landing systems. Emery Sapp & Sons of Kansas City, Mo., was the low bidder.

Another $180,790 is being spent on design and other services.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to fund the lion's share of the project -- if fully approved, the city's share of the construction will be $49,095.

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