City updates snow removal plan; increases cemetery fees

10/3/2012

CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, the new costs for cemetery fees were incorrect. Fees raised included the price per half space for babies and cremations, going up from $200 to $250. A down payment to reserve one grave space with the purchase of one space would stay the same at $50. The price per lot for above ground mausoleums would go from $2,400 to $4,050, according to the proposal. According to Kelly Stevenson, cemetery sexton, burials at Valley View Cemetery average 170 annually.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, the new costs for cemetery fees were incorrect. Fees raised included the price per half space for babies and cremations, going up from $200 to $250. A down payment to reserve one grave space with the purchase of one space would stay the same at $50. The price per lot for above ground mausoleums would go from $2,400 to $4,050, according to the proposal. According to Kelly Stevenson, cemetery sexton, burials at Valley View Cemetery average 170 annually.

Adult grave space is $450 and was $400, according to Stevenson.

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Snow removal for Garden City may be more effective and comprehensive this winter.

City commissioners approved a new snow removal plan Tuesday at the city commission meeting. The new plan outlines residential snow removal, emergency snow routes, snow removal around schools, extending primary and secondary routes according to community growth and identifies the non-critical residential streets.

According to Sam Curran, director of public works, the city hasn't updated its snow removal or emergency plan since 2004.

The new snow routes identify emergency routes, which include major streets such as Buffalo Jones Avenue, Mary Street, Fleming Street, Campus Drive, Eighth Street, Main Street, Fulton Street and Kansas Avenue.

During a declared state of emergency, residents cannot have any vehicles or trailers parked on those streets, Curran said.

"They could be subject to a fine or towing truck. We have clarified that," Curran said in a separate interview with The Telegram.

Curran said snow removal this winter will be more efficient and officials will do more forecasting to get ahead of bad road conditions.

"What will make it more efficient is that we're looking at more equipment. We've got a seventh truck we're adding to the system. We're looking at purchasing additional buckets for loaders and skid loaders," he said.

City workers also will do more anti-icing to keep ice from sticking to the pavement, Curran said.

Secondary routes are now just around schools, and non-critical streets will be cleared upon request or if there's about 6 to 12 inches of snow, Curran said.

Curran said that what happened during the December 2011 snowfall that left 15 inches in some areas was that city workers cleared major streets and then began work in residential areas. When they got back to the major streets, they didn't get back to the primary streets in time.

"We won't be doing that again," he said.

Curran said Tuesday he hopes the public knows how difficult and dangerous it is to remove snow.

"It's not just as simple as getting in a truck and driving," he said.

In other business, the commission approved raising rates at the city's two cemeteries.

The approval will raise other fees, including the price per half space for babies and cremations, going up from $200 to $250. A down payment to reserve one grave space with the purchase of one space would stay the same at $50. The price per lot for above ground mausoleums would go from $2,400 to $4,050, according to the proposal. According to Kelly Stevenson, cemetery sexton, burials at Valley View Cemetery average 170 annually.

Adult grave space is $450 and was $400, according to Stevenson.

Stevenson said the proposed fees would be higher than that of other area cemeteries, but added that Garden City's two cemeteries offer irrigation and foliage.

According to Matt Allen, city manager, the city's budget for the cemeteries in 2012 was more than $483,000. Revenue from the cemeteries was just more $100,000.

Commissioners Tuesday also heard from Kay Gillespie, who presented information on a Trap-Neuter-Return program for cats in the city.

According to Gillespie, the city euthanized 562 cats in 2011 and had euthanized 617 by the end of August.

Gillespie said other communities have participated in the program and it keeps the animals from reproducing while maintaining their presence in neighborhoods so other cats don't move in.

Gillespie was not asking for funds from the city, but was asking if animal control and Law Enforcement Officers would comply with such a program and not capture animals that have been marked as neutered. To mark the animals, a chunk of the ear would be chipped out, Gillespie said.

She said a nonprofit or the Humane Society would have to pick up the cost, which is about $160 per animal, but could be less if veterinarians are on board.

In old business, Steve Cottrell, city engineer, finalized a request for proposals for use of the State Theatre, which will be received at the engineer's office, 301 N. Eighth St. Those interested have until 2 p.m. Dec. 13 to submit formal proposals. They will be evaluated by city commissioners. Documents also are available electronically by emailing steve.cottrell@gardencityks.us. The public also may submit proposals until 2 p.m. Oct. 11.

Officials are designating $50,000 to be reimbursed for the project, council members said Tuesday.

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