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The Rundown – City formalizes countywide drug task force

Post Date:02/28/2018 11:45 AM

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. Feb. 27, 2018, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission approved an interlocal agreement to formalize the Harvey County Drug Task Force, a joint effort of law enforcement agencies throughout the county to combat drug crime.

The agreement calls for each agency to cooperate in narcotics investigations and to contribute $1,000 a year for needed equipment, training, matching grant funds, controlled narcotics purchases or other task force activity. Harvey County Sheriff’s Office will serve as the fiscal administrator, and the task force will be overseen by a board consisting of the sheriff and the chiefs of police of Burrton, Halstead, Hesston, Newton, North Newton and Sedgwick.

The Harvey County Commission has also approved the agreement, and it will be presented to the other cities’ governing bodies in coming weeks.

Staff reorganization

City Manager Bob Myers announced some planned reorganization of City staff responsibilities. Currently, city planning and historic preservation functions are led by Director of Planning & Community Development Kelly McElroy. In the past year, those time-consuming functions have kept her from devoting as much time as needed to community development and economic development efforts. So, staff have decided to restructure an unfilled building inspector position to handle those planning functions. McElroy will also take on the title of assistant city manager, as she frequently represents the City in regional and statewide development efforts and needs to convey the authority to work on the City’s behalf. Her position will remain at the current salary level.

Community recognition

The Commission honored the Newton High School Four-Speaker Debate Team members who recently took third place at the Kansas State High School Debate Tournament.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Approved a loan to the Public Building Commission of about $260,000 for construction of a new restroom/concession/press box facility at Centennial Park. The PBC will repay the City over the next two years.
  2. Received a petition for grading improvements and approved an engineering contract for water, sewer, streets and grading for the new commercial development at East First Street and I-135.
  3. Received plans and specifications for rehabilitation of Taxiway C at the Newton City/County Airport and set a bid date of 10 a.m. March 29. The project cost of $278,322 will be paid 90 percent by the Federal Aviation Administration, with the remaining 10 percent shared by the City and the County.
  4. Conducted an evaluation of City Attorney Chris Towle in executive session and approved a merit salary increase.
  5. Approved a request to close Athletic Park Circle and the pool parking lot on May 12 for Newton Recreation Commission’s Community Play Day.
  6. Approved a request to close the public parking lot on West Broadway on June 8 and Sept. 29 for Gathered Goods’ Artisan Craft Fair.
  7. Approved a letter to Harvey County Rural Water District #1 giving notice of the City’s intent to annex land on East First Street that the City recently purchased to expand the Kansas Logistics Park.
  8. Approved participation in the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Federal Fund Exchange Program and authorize staff to sign the associated agreement.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or

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