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Commission discovers code book not updated in 17 years PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 12:21


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ELLY GRIMM

• Leader & Times



City codes and continuing cable complaints kept the Liberal City Commission busy during its most recent evening Tuesday evening. 

Up first for the commission was discussion of updating the city codes book, with Debbie Giskie leading the discussion. 

“This evening, we have Ordinance No. 4488, which will codify the 2017 code book,” Giskie began. “It’s been since 2000 that we codified all the ordinances into one book, and all those have been calculated into this new 2017 version.”

“It’s been 17 years since the code books have been updated?” commissioner Dave Harrison asked. 

“That’s what I found,” Giskie replied. 

Before the vote, commissioner Jack Carlile asked about revisiting one of the ordinances from two years ago regarding concrete and driveways. 

“On Aug. 25 two years ago, we adopted the parking ordinance, Ordinance No. 4457,” Carlile said. “I think we need to bring that up again to re-look at it and add a grandfather clause in that. Because with counsel, there’s a feeling it’s not quite legal without the grandfather clause. It’s the one with the requirements for four inches of concrete or asphalt or gravel in the driveway, and you can’t force a homeowner to do that if they’ve already lived in their house for 20 years.”

 “I don’t have a problem doing that if what Jack said is right,” Harrison said.

City Attorney Shirla McQueen then spoke briefly of conversations with Carlile regarding this matter, saying at that particular time, it was decided not to do the grandfather clause. It was agreed to revisit the matter at a future commission meeting, and ultimately, the commission unanimously decided to approve the codified code book. 

“To be honest, I would say about 90 percent of the phone calls I have gotten on this ordinance were from people who said ‘I’ve lived here for 20 years and it’s been good enough for that time, but now it’s not,” Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer said. “So I would have no problem revisiting this whatsoever. And when we do revisit this, I would like to see it be owner-specific as well because of everything with this.”  

Shortly before that discussion came the continuing complaints regarding cable service through Zito Media. 

“Two weeks have gone by, and I haven’t yet heard anything from you guys, have you all heard anything from those letters you were supposed to send?” Liberal citizen Rita Isaacs asked. 

“We were very recently in contact with Zito Media,” City of Liberal I.T. Director Tim Lunceford said. “We had technicians over here, they brought out some spare modulators ... we brought out the parts we thought were bad, we swapped them out, and that ended up not fixing the problem. We swapped out as many parts as we possibly could with the parts we thought were bad, and that didn’t fix the problem. We spent pretty much the majority of that day swapping out the parts available to us, tried to troubleshoot it as best we could, and nothing fixed it. I was in contact with the representative over there, and he was going to check on another piece of equipment that could be a potential issue on their end. Up until this point, we’ve been trying to diagnose what could be the cause of the problem for at least Channel 15. It was working yesterday with video, and then about at noon, it just went black. I actually contacted their representative today to ask if anything had changed, and I haven’t heard back from him as of now.”

Lunceford then talked some more about the work that was done, and Isaacs asked if it would be possible for work to be done after hours, to which Denoyer replied only if Zito Media would be willing to do that. Isaacs also asked about tentative timelines for the work, to which Lunceford said he was not entirely sure of, as time for parts and other factors needs to be taken into account. 

“So in layman’s terms, on Friday, you all swapped out all the pieces of equipment that could be swapped out?” Denoyer asked. “And then when that failed to work, the city ordered, at our own expense, a piece of equipment to fix Zito’s problem?”

“Potentially,” Lunceford replied. “There’s always a possibility the problem could still be on their end. But we wanted to make sure the problem didn’t sit back here and they’re waiting on ... we’re trying to troubleshoot what we can back there. We wanted to be 100 percent certain this back room was as solved as it could be.”

After some more questions, the discussion turned slightly heated, with Denoyer reminding everyone the franchise agreement is not through the City of Liberal, but through the state and Isaacs sharing the story of a friend recently having issues with the company. 

“I think it’s your responsibility to check into this, especially you, Mr. Hall, as the head of this,” Isaacs said. “Your citizens are very unhappy, I think you should take the lead on this, I think the commissioners should back you up on it, as well as Shirla here, and get this taken care of.”

“Ms. Isaacs, as I have stated before, and other commissioners have stated, Zito Media is a private business,” Denoyer said. “If I go to Walmart, and there are only three checkers open and lines to the back of the store, is it the city’s responsibility to fix that? It is not. Zito Media is a private business, and we do not have any control over the channels they offer, the channels they decide to drop, or the prices they run. We have none of that control.”

“But what I’m saying is, you know they’re unreliable, so what are you doing to go around that and find something that is reliable?” Isaacs asked. 

Denoyer said there has been communication with Cox Communications, who said they were not interested in expanding its territory at this time, but would consider Liberal in the future.  Denoyer also said there would be a lot of money to go into getting a new company, and after a few more questions, the discussion ended.

In other business, the commission also approved the chip seal bid to go to B&H Paving, the purchase of new protective gear for the Liberal Fire Department, and a group of items regarding applying for a community development block grant for housing rehab.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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