City commission modifies funding request from Colbert Hills golf course


The most debated topic during the March 3 city commission meeting was the request for funding from the K-State Golf Course Management and Research Foundation – Colbert Hills golf course.

The request was for a $360,000 maximum spread over four years, with a $90,000 limit per year, according to a city commission agenda memo. According to the proposal, “In the event consumption increases and a net gain due to the water rate at the 2014 vs. the 2015 rate, this amount will be applied towards the $90,000 incentive,” with the suggestion of an equal split of funding between the Water Fund, the City and University Fund, and the Bond and Interest Fund, with no more than $30,000 to be taken from each source annually.

While only one person spoke during the public discussion portion, debate between city commissioners was extensive.

“I just have a hard time with subsidizing the golf course’s (water), considering all the other priorities and everything else right now that we have right now,” John Matta, city commissioner, said.

Mayor Wynn Butler summed up the overall thoughts of the group.

“The issue for me now is about the (Bond and Interest Fund),” Butler said. “Should we use it to solve the problem that Colbert Hills has which is $100,000 a year, basically, from the city? It looks like $30,000 can be handled by the city and University Fund, but the shortfall is about ($60,000), and that’s the Bond and Interest Fund reserve, and I’m not convinced I want to do that.”

After further discussion, commissioner Rich Jankovich moved to amend the motion to utilize only the $30,000 from the city and University Fund for the golf course’s funding, and the modified motion passed 5-0.

Butler also announced the proclamations of March 16-22 as Brain Awareness Week and March 2015 as American Red Cross Month. Commissioner comments revolved around community events, particularly Fake Patty’s Day, and several commissioners urged participants of the event to use caution and drink safely. The consent agenda was approved 5-0.

The first item on the agenda, the Flint Hills Discovery Center Naming Opportunity, came from donors who approached the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation about providing $750,000 in funds for specific purposes and the naming of the Tides of Time/Immersive Theater in the Discovery Center.

There was no public comment and the item passed 5-0.

Commissioners then regarded the appropriation of revenues from the Quality of Life sales tax and design agreement for the City Pool parking lot. City administration proposed appropriating $1.25 million for pool maintenance, particularly in pool parking lots. The proposal allotted $1 million for Phase I of the City Park Pool parking lot improvements, with the remaining $250,000 being delegated for projects at the CiCo and Northview pools.

Commissioners were clear that the money for pool maintenance was not being wasted because it would be improving the community, and that the money for the renovations were from the City Park Pool sales tax. The proposed renovations were part of the original project that were put on hold due to uncertainty about how much tax funding would be available.

“For those that think this plan should have been sunsetted or that there’s something wrong about doing this, I think this fits with the original plan,” Butler said. “I personally don’t have a problem with it.”

The final agenda item was a non-vote discussion regarding requirements of non-conforming signs after the recent adoption of new sign regulations.