City Manager's Update - July 3, 2020
2020 Sales Tax Report
City Treasurer Laura Wolfe reports that sales tax receipts are up 1.13% cumulatively over the same time frame in 2019. City staff are anxious to see if this trend continues.
Bicycle count data for June 11 has been compiled, and we see an upward trend from the original count year, 2015. Due to multiple scheduling issues, our count date fell at a bad time this year, which may have affected numbers a bit.
As of June 30, 213 building permits have been issued this year. We continue to see a majority of permits are for remodels, reconstruction and updates to existing homes. Out of the 213 permits, four have been for new single-family homes. No new multi-family permits have been issued this year.
City Clerk Denise Duerksen reports 12 permits were issued for fireworks stands. As a reminder, dates of sales and discharge are as follows:
- July 1-3 from 10 am to 10 pm
- July 4 from 7 am to 10 pm
- July 5 from noon to 10 pm
- July 1-3 from 10 am to 10 pm
- July 4 from 7 am to midnight
- July 5 from noon to 10 pm
The department provided our first-ever fire safety talk while practicing social distancing Thursday to children and staff at the Family First Child Care Center located at 215 N. Meridian. By request, our staff provided a fireworks safety talk to approximately 20 children and eight adults. We did not allow any members of the public to come in contact with our crew members or the apparatus but instead allowed them to view the truck from an acceptable distance.
Independence Day Holiday
A reminder that City (and County) offices are closed Friday, July 3rd in observance of Independence Day.
Members of the volunteer team supporting the library project fundraising held a zoom meeting on Friday, June 29th to receive training on how to make calls on community members and potential donors. Swanson House, the fundraising sub-consultant on the library project, is guiding this process. You will likely hear more about this in coming days.
Although several more events have canceled or pushed their meeting dates further out, General Manager Michael Lunsford reports activity and morale at the Meridian Center remain high. In addition to hosting a few smaller events, Chef Katie continues providing wonderful take home meal experiences. Event Manager Michael Fields calls about both new and already scheduled events, and Michael Lunsford has been recruiting and planning community events such as the "missed your birthday party" celebration and a summer comedy series while trying to keep up with changes in federal, state, and local guidelines.
Municipal Swimming Pool Work Session
Please make sure the special meeting with the Newton Recreation Commission, specific to the municipal swimming pool and ballfields, is on your schedule for next Tuesday, July 7th at noon at Meridian Center. Lunch will be provided.
North Newton Water & Sewer Agreements
Negotiations with North Newton regarding water and sewer agreements are progressing. Staff met last Thursday to work through a few remaining issues on the sewer agreement and anticipate bringing something on this to the Newton City Commission soon for consideration. Both agreements are waiting on response from North Newton.
Public Wholesale Water Supply District
The Public Wholesale Water Supply District #17 Board met on June 25, a little later in the year than usual because of COVID-19. The board set the 2021 budget, reorganized the slate of officers (placing Newton representative Gary Denny as the president), received an update on the district well perfection pumping plan, and discussed a new member city agreement that will move the district forward to post-perfection times. The City of Newton's reps on this board are Gary Denny and Bob Myers. City Engineer/Director of Public Works Suzanne Loomis serves as the district general manager.
Sand Creek Dam
The new Sand Creek Dam bladder was delivered to Dondlinger Construction's yard in Wichita last Friday. The glue, sealants and piping are supposed to arrive sometime after July 7.
The manufacturer, Dyrhoff, requires one of their inspectors to be on-site during installation for the product warranty to be valid, but current travel restrictions for COVID-19 prevent the UK-based inspectors from entering the United States. City staff continues to work through that issue. Once installation begins, it is anticipated to take about a week.
Sand Creek Station Golf Course
General Manager Chris Tuohey reports that Sand Creek Station had a very successful Railer Championship Tournament, with by far the strongest field of top-level golfers ever hosted. Great exposure for the golf course and Newton!
June was a very solid month financially for the golf course. Year to date, the course stands in a great position to meet annual revenue goals. Staff is gearing up for an active July, including the Kansas Women's State Amateur Championship. This will be the second time Newton has hosted this event.
Street maintenance staff alone have assisted special events through July 1 this year to the tune of $4,168.50 (Harvey County Safety Fair, Junior Rodeo, MAYB, etc.). City staff from various departments met with the Harvey County Fair Board representatives on June 24 to coordinate requests and work out any issues regarding City assistance at the parade, fair and demo derby events. As of July 2, the City has received five requests for barricades to block off streets during Fourth of July celebrations, and Street staff will be delivering those July 3. This is the lowest number of requests in years.
Some of the more interesting projects that Street staff spent time on this week were rebuilding a valley gutter at East Sixth Street and Blaine that was falling apart and causing vehicles to drag. They also fixed a pavement heave on South Kansas Avenue by the south U.S. 50 ramp, and placed snow fencing for the Mexican-American Fastpitch Softball Tournament this weekend.
Through June 26, City Water staff have responded to eight water main breaks and 25 leaks on the City side of the service lines.