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The Rundown – Commission hears year-end financial report

Post Date:03/29/2017 4:32 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. March 28, 2017, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission heard the 2016 year-end financial report from Interim Finance Director Lisa Marshall. The City was able to end the year well under budget by combining and eliminating some positions, delaying some hiring, and reducing other expenditures where possible.

The 2016 adopted budget called for the City to draw down on its reserves by $1.5 million, but with the cost-cutting measures staff were able to drop that number down to about $236,000. City Manager Bob Myers said staff are hopeful they can narrow the gap even more in 2017. Other 2016 highlights:

  • Sales tax revenues are steadily increasing $75,000-$100,000 each year.
  • Airport fuel sales exceeded budget by about 13 percent.
  • Utility fund revenues exceeded expenditures for the year.

Horse proposal

Local Realtor and developer Ron Harder approached the Commission with a proposal to amend the City Code to allow for the creation of “ranchettes” – 1- to 1.5-acre home lots that would allow one horse to be kept. Harder said this would follow the trend toward more urban agriculture and rural-style living. He is particularly hoping to develop the concept on property bordering I-135, east of the existing Autumn Glen addition.

Newton’s current ordinance requires at least 3 acres for a horse to be kept in the city limits. City Commissioners said they liked the concept but acknowledged potential problems with neighbors. They directed City staff to investigate and bring back options for the Commission to consider at a future meeting.

Community recognition

The Commission honored Newton High School wrestlers who recently competed and placed at the State tournament.

The Commission also recognized Don Saylor and Greg Terjeson from Tribine Harvester, which recently won the AE50 Award for Outstanding Agricultural Machinery Innovation from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Tribine designs and manufactures very high-capacity combines at its facility in Newton.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Authorized the sale and discharge of fireworks for five days in 2017, from June 30 to July 4.
  2. Amended ambulance fees to bring them more in line with neighboring services and cover rising costs.
  3. Approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for railroad crossing improvements on Southwest 24th Street.
  4. Approved plans for improvements to east-west Runway 8-26 at Newton City/County Airport and set a bid date of 2 p.m. April 18.
  5. Approved a final plat for MJE Addition, at the southwest quadrant of U.S. 50 and Anderson.
  6. Approved agreements that allow two Newton businesses to continue operating digital signs that featuring scrolling horizontal text.
  7. Approved an application for cereal malt beverage license for Lonestar Store #28.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com

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