By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The Liberal City Commission heard a presentation on new cellular technology, agreeed to rezone city property, accepted a new revitalization plan and approved a new paint job on the city’s old water tower.
The first item up for discussion during the commission’s regular Tuesday evening meeting was the first reading of Ordinance No. 4430, which concerned granting Wildflower Telecommunications, LLC, a contract franchise to construct, operate and maintain a telecommunications system in Liberal.
Ivan Kuhn, vice president of sales and marketing with IdeaTek, gave the commission a 15-minute powerpoint presentation explaining the history of the company along with the technology that would be involved with the construction of this telecommunications system.
The current technology calls for towers upwards of 300 feet to be built whereas with the new small cell technology, the towers will only be 35 feet tall, roughly the equivalent of a light or telephone pole. Kuhn said this will also help relieve traffic on the current lines.
“This will also improve cell coverage and data speeds,” Kuhn explained of the small cell technology. “I can say for myself living outside of Wichita when I’m driving through, there’s times at 5 in the evening where I’m trying to make a phone call, but I can’t because the airwaves are jammed.”
One of the other things Kuhn touched on was how the smaller cell technology will also bring more jobs to help with maintenance and construction of these new poles.
The second item up for discussion was the first and final reading of Ordinance No. 4429, which concerns the rezoning of the 700 block of North Western Avenue from “R1” single family dwelling to “C2” general commercial district. The request for this rezone is in order to sell those lots as commercial property lots. Since Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer signed a waiver on a second reading, this was passed unanimously.
The next item up for discussion concerned the neighborhood revitalization plan. The first part rescinded Ordinance No. 4421, which was the original ordinance that adopted the plan. Changes were needed for the plan to accommodate U.S.D. No. 480 and Seward County Community College/Area Technical School in the tax rebate program. Housing Developement Director Karen LaFreniere, U.S.D. 480 and SCCC/ATS all agreed to sign the interlocal agreement regarding that program.
The second part of that discussion was the adoption of Resolution No. 2196, which established a date for a public hearing concerning the adoption of a plan that will help change the neighborhood revitalization plan according to the Neighborhood Revitalization Act. This hearing will take place during the next city commission meeting on Aug. 12.
“Since we are starting the process over, we are going to put the notice in the paper to advertise for the public hearing at the next meeting,” LaFreniere said to the commissioners. Both portions of the discussion passed unanimously.
The last item on the agenda for discussion concerned the city’s water tower being painted. The needed paint job was written up by Kansas Department of Health and Environment during its last inspection, and KDHE recommended using Central Tank to handle the job. The commission granted the request unanimously.
After those three items, City Manager Mark Hall presented his report, the commissioners gave their items and the vouchers were unanimously passed. After discussion of the vouchers, the meeting was declared adjourned at 7:05 p.m.