Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

The City of Columbus will be cracking down on junk on lots within the city once a new ordinance is written and passed.

Police Chief Chuck Sharp told the Columbus City Council Tuesday that residents on West Elm had piled tons of scrap metal on a vacant lot and the police were limited in their ability to prevent it.

Sharp said the current nuisance ordinance requires officers to give people five days to clean up a property before a citation can be issued. He said even after a citation is issued it may be a month before a court date, by which time the properties will be cleaned up.

City Attorney Robert Meyers said the ordinance can be changed to make piling trash, or junk on a property a violation, allowing officers to immediately issue a ticket.

City Councilman Rodney Oels said it was something which needed to be done.

“We need to do something to say Columbus, Kansas is not a junkyard,” Oles said, noting in his opinion Columbus needs zoning regulations and building codes, something the city currently does not have.

Meyers said he would have an updated ordinance ready for the council at the next meeting.

Marta Brown with the Columbus Community Crusaders came before the council to get permission to apply for a grant from the Southeast Kansas Community Foundation. The grant, if awarded, would be used to purchase a rubber playing surface for underneath the playground equipment at the city park.

Brown said the new surface would make the playground equipment more accessible under Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. The CCC is asking for between $25,000 and $30,000 from the SEK Community Foundation and should know by September if the grant has been awarded.

The council also opened grants for a new vacuum trailer for the city works department.

Three grants were opened from OTC Equipment of Tulsa, Okla., Key Equipment of Kansas City and Vermeer Great Plains. City Superintendent Jim Burton recommended purchasing the McLaughlin unit from Vermeer Great Plains, which had more features than other units and was also the least expensive at $29,001 after trade in of the current vac trailer.

The council voted to purchase the trailer as recommended.

Additionally, the council voted to allow Burton to put out for bids for painting the city pool when the season is over. Burton said the last time the pool was painted about five years ago the cost was around $20,000. He said there is about $31,000 budgeted for painting.

Councilman Grant Speith recommended to the council the city move money from certificates of deposit at American Bank into the various city checking accounts. Speith said as the CDs mature American Bank will be dropping their interest rate from 1.25 percent to .25 percent. The council voted to ask for proposals from banks in Columbus, Baxter Springs and Pittsburg in order to get a better interest rate.

In other business, the council:

• Voted to close Country Road between Kansas and Park Streets from 6 to 11 p.m. during the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair and Reunion.

• Set a public hearing for condemnation of a house at 103 N. Minnesota for 6:30 p.m. August 15, and:

• Allowed Jonathan Blake to use the gazebo next to Columbus Telephone for a wedding reception on July 23.