The Greensburg City Council met in special session Wednesday morning (April 23) to transact business held over from Monday night’s meeting that was cut short due to lack of a quorum.  While councilmen Rex Butler and Bethel Thronesbery were both absent Monday, Thronesbery verbally resigned before the conclusion of Wednesday’s special meeting, again bringing City business to a halt due to less than four members being present.


   The Greensburg City Council met in special session Wednesday morning (April 23) to transact business held over from Monday night’s meeting that was cut short due to lack of a quorum.  While councilmen Rex Butler and Bethel Thronesbery were both absent Monday, Thronesbery verbally resigned before the conclusion of Wednesday’s special meeting, again bringing City business to a halt due to less than four members being present.
   Thronesbery’s resignation appeared connected to a 15-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.  After it was announced no action had been taken behind closed doors, Thronesbery continued in conversation with councilman Brandon Hosheit after the meeting was again in open session, with Hosheit telling Thronesbery, “Bethel, you can go on the record as being against it and vote no."
   Thronesbery answered, "I just can't go along with doing it like this, and I resign."  One of the council asked whether a resignation needed to be in writing, City Attorney Gordon Stull indicating it could be verbal.
   Thronesbery then repeated, "I resign", and left the meeting.  With the absence of Butler and Thronesbery’s resignation, the council no longer had a quorum, leaving Mayor John Janssen no alternative but to adjourn the meeting.
  Following the aborted meeting, The Signal contacted Thronesbery for comment concerning his resignation, Thronesbery indicating that Councilman Gary Goodheart and City Administrator Steve Hewitt had presented the council with a two-year contract renewal for Hewitt, whose current contract does not expire until the end of 2008.
    He recalled the two having strongly urged the council to sign the renewal before the new council takes office May 5.  Thronesbery objected to this course of action, insisting the newly seated council should be allowed to decide whether to renew Hewitt's contract after they had a chance to work with him. 
   Thronesbery said he had no reason to think that Hewitt's contract wouldn't be renewed, and that he himself was in favor of renewing it, but not under the circumstances presented.  
   Meanwhile, a fair amount of business was conducted before Thronesbery’s resignation.
   Among the items approved were an appropriations ordinance, two cereal malt beverage licenses, the consent agenda, and two ordinances relating to wind energy and interconnection with the city power grid. 
   The council voted to file a rate tariff with the Kansas Corporation Commission in preparation for residential wind generators expected to come online as the year progresses, so that the rules are already in place and contractors, businesses and residents know what to expect.
   Ordinance 949, moved by Hosheit, seconded by Mitchum, established the tariff as an amendment to the city code, and directed that it be filed with the state.  Two planning regulations were also passed and sent to the planning commission for review governing placement and connection of wind generators. 
   It was noted that one wind generator, at the new 5-4-7 art center, had already been permitted, and issues had arisen with that generator which highlighted the need for some rules regarding such installations.  
   Ordinance 950, moved by Mitchum and seconded by Goodheart, suspends future wind generator tower construction until the planning commission has had an opportunity to review the plans.
    City Administrator Hewitt told the council the City needs to purchase a backhoe and a trenching attachment for the back of the skid loader for use in public works, streets, and utilities projects.  The estimated cost is $80,000 and the City has insurance and FEMA funding for the purchases.  Hosheit moved and Mitchum seconded a motion approving the purchases. 
    The two cereal malt beverage licenses approved by the council were for Triangle Rodeo Club.  The licenses were approved for the May 3 activities in Davis Park, and for the May 23-24 Rodeo. 
    Law enforcement and fire agreements were finalized for submission to the City and County, the council voting unanimously to approve the contracts and send them on to the county commission. 
   As for the quorum-less meeting held the previous Monday, council marked a milestone in the Greensburg recovery via an announcement from Hewitt. 
   He reminded the council and the public that a business incubator bid had been accepted, "subject to meeting the budget" at the previous council meeting of April 16.  Hewitt then noted that the bid from Compton Construction, with certain prioritizations made, matched against a $2 million U.S.D.A. grant and a $1 million private donation, meant the City was only $47,000 away from meeting the budget, and that it had been decided that those funds could be transferred from a $400,000 donation fund that the City had available to it. 
  The incubator project has the green light to proceed, though without the $240,000 needed to induce Compton to have the project finished as early as September 15.  Completion is now expected next January.
  It was also announced that the City had finalized its agreement to purchase property belonging to Rick and Rhonda Engelken south of the incubator, and that an agreement has been reached to sell the south half of that block to Centera Bank for construction of their new bank building.