“I would suggest you appoint someone else to this position,” Herd told the council in the temporary city hall housed in a trailer on the courthouse grounds. “Right now I’m just trying to get a roof over my family’s head and to get them settled.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t consider taking this position again at some point in the future, but right now I’m not in a position to continue.”
Before adjourning, Mayor Lonnie McCollum appointed Pratt attorney Gordon Stull as Herd’s successor. Filling the post until Stull takes over is Scott Hildebrand of the Kansas League of Municipalities.
The city fathers also addressed how to fund such government operations as operating a building department in the coming months. The city plans on issuing building permits to begin the rebuilding effort as early as tomorrow.
With no sales tax incoming, however, the council turned to upgrading its permit fee, raising it from a flat $35 to a graduated table used as a national standard.
Jerry Mallory of the Johnson Planning and Zoning Board, presented the schedule which, for instance, charges $352 for the first $25,000 of a house’s valuation, plus $9 for each additional $1,000 up to $50,000. The next level, from $50,001 to $100,000 of valuation jumps to $580 for the first $50,000 of valuation.
The highest level, $500,001 to $1,000,000 valuation calls for $2,855 for the first half million of valuation.
Commercial permits follow the same schedule in addition to 65 percent of the permit fee, charged as a commercial plan review.
“We’ll have no income for a while, but a lot of people have insurance payments already in hand,” City Administrator Steve Hewitt said. “The dynamics and economy of Greensburg are about to change and government has to change with it. We simply need a way to fund our building department, which is about to get very busy.”
McCollum agreed, saying, “We’ve now got to have on site inspections, which we haven’t done before, and we’ve got to have a way to pay for that.”
“This city’s got to have its own building department soon, because the volunteers can only be here so long,” Mallory later said. “And it takes money to run a department.”
As for when he thinks construction might actually start in Greensburg, Mallory said, “Probably by the end of this month. “And I would guess they will have issued as many as a hundred permits by that time.”
In order to encourage prompt reconstruction of homes, the City passed an ordinance which, in essence, allows homeowners to construct a new home on top of their existing foundation, or “footprint,” even if doing so means the dimensions of the new house would come closer to a neighbor’s house or city easement than is to be allowed by code.
Building on a footprint, however, will not be allowed if the easement or neighbor’s property is encroached upon.
In an unrelated move, approval was granted of councilman Brandon Hosheit’s motion that city employees immediately be paid a $1,000 bonus for the long hours they’ve put in since the tornado hit.
“We’ve been running them (employees) hard; these people have not gotten to take care of their personal property like most of us,” Hosheit said. “They’ve been on call for us. They salary we council members gave up last month should easily cover this bonus.”
The surrender of salary Hosheit referred to was a shift from council members being paid $225 a month to $50 a meeting. The proposed salary adjustment was first put forward last fall and defeated by a 4-3 vote. It passed three weeks ago, however, when the replacement for a deceased member became the swing vote in a 4-3 passage of the reduction. Hosheit voted against the salary cut both times.