Sabetha City Commission 7.8.2019

The Sabetha City Commission met at 6 p.m. Monday, July 8. Present were Mayor Doug Clark, Commissioners Julie Burenheide, Norm Schmitt, Maridel Wittmer and Nick Aberle, City Administrator Doug Allen, City Clerk Steve Compo, City Attorney Martin Mishler, and Police Chief Robert Wahwasuck. Others present were Dr. James Longabaugh, Austin Wasinger, David Key, Ray Thieme, Nancy Gafford, Teresa McAnerney, Jason Enneking and Gary Lortscher.


McAnerney, Key, Thieme, Gafford and Lortscher were present on behalf of the Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation (NEKEF). The group – which is in its 16th year – gave their annual update to commissioners. In 2018, the group was approved for $6,000 per year for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

McAnerney thanked the commissioners for their support and said their new program – The Brown Bag Marketing Exchange – has been successful. McAnerney also discussed NEKEF’s entrepreneurship academy. Two alumni of that program were Jordan Romines and Haylie Meyer, both of Sabetha.

Key said that the organization has changed over the years since he has been involved.

“When it initially started, we were constantly trying to attract new entrepreneurs and new businesses, and the program has now morphed a little bit,” Key said. “We’re also supporting current business owners if they want to re-tune. We’re also helping several others with transitions out, and helping them to find a new business owner for that business, and that is a big help I think from what we ask of our funders in Nemaha County.”

McAnerney updated commissioners on statistics of NEKEF – which currently has 71 board members, including 13 from Nemaha County. She said Nemaha County currently has 227 clients – which is up 12 – and is up 52 introductions for the year. New, expanded or retained businesses in Nemaha County is at 48 – which is up six for the year. Jobs created or retained in Nemaha County was 167 – up 30 for the year. Tune-ups of existing business in Nemaha County is 28 – up three for the year. Overall, NEKEF has had 10,688 contacts for the year.

Sabetha Paramedic

Dr. Longabaugh was present to update the commissioners on the paramedic project. Dr. Longabaugh reported that the ad for the paramedic position went out Monday, July 8. He reported that the Nemaha County Commission agreed to fund the salary for the Sabetha based paramedic.

“That salary will be dependent on the hire and experience,” Dr. Longabaugh said. “That is not a set in stone number. What they will fund – the maximum – is a set in stone number, but we will probably fall below that maximum number.”

Dr. Longabaugh mentioned that the City of Sabetha might have a vehicle – a used police vehicle – that the hired paramedic could use to get started. Dr. Longabaugh also said that he, City Administrator Allen, Commissioner Schmitt and Doug Brammer were appointed to a committee previously to execute the interviews of potential candidates.

Police Report

Wahwasuck presented his report to the commissioners. He reported that since the last meeting they have taken seven dog calls – two could not be located, one was for the concern for the health of a dog, and one was because a dog jumped out of the back of a truck. A small dog was picked up by city personnel – which they took home with them and the owner came and picked it up. Another was reported missing by an owner and was later found by the owner. Another was for a barking dog, for which a citation was issued.

Code Violations

• 1411 Virginia – The owner, Lester Scott, is aware of the resolution that was passed. Wahwasuck said they are working on contacting someone to tear down the garage and property. Wahwasuck said they are waiting on a timetable from Scott.

• 1015 Dakota – Wahwasuck said he has attempted several times to make contact with the owner Nick Stalder of Georgia. The certified letter of the resolution has not been returned yet. Wahwasuck said he would continue to try and make contact with them.

• 403 N. Sixth – Wahwasuck said the property – which is owned by Keith Moore – does not appear to be much different since the last time he met with commissioners.

“We recently discussed abatement of that property and we told them they had until June,” Wahwasuck said. “I know the neighbor has been with me since, and I have spoken to the caretaker of that property – Alfred Moore – and he keeps telling me the same thing that he told all of you. It’s just some sort of resistance.”

“What can we do?” Clark said.

“Even an abatement, where we go in and start moving some of this stuff, I believe he will fight us the whole way on removing anything, but how much needs to be removed to meet a standard?” Wahwasuck said.

“Can you require him to put it in the carport?” Allen said.

After an in depth discussion between the commissioners and Wahwasuck about the property, Clark asked Mishler what he recommended.

“My recommendation is to say that nothing is left out and say it all has to be cleaned up,” Mishler said.

The commissioners agreed that everything was to be put away, and if in two weeks there are still items setting out, they will present him with the next step.

• 612 Jefferson – The tires and scrap materials have been removed. The front and side yards are “okay and tolerable.” But there is still a large lumber pile.

“I think that what we have asked him to do, he has done,” Wahwasuck said.

• 1311 Dakota – Wahwasuck said they issued a citation for a noisy animal at that residence. Wahwasuck said that Clive Loveless is the resident and the owner is Larry Cavender. Wahwasuck said both Loveless and Cavender were served notices on June 25 about the blight of the property, which included a pallet. Wahwasuck said he was asked to remove them as a part of the ordinance and he moved them from the front of the property to the back of the property.

Wahwasuck also reported that:

• Weeds have been taken care of at multiple properties in Sabetha;

• Sabetha’s injured officer had successful surgery, but has no return date planned at this time;

• Annual military training has been pushed back to August.

• Fourth of July went by with nothing unexpected happening, and they responded to six calls on the third, four calls on July 4, and two calls on July 5 that were related to fireworks.

Wahwasuck also mentioned that Allen asked him to look into raising the age of purchasing tobacco to 21.

“The City of Topeka won their appeal on raising the age limit to purchase tobacco,” Wahwasuck said. “With the appeal verdict, I believe the City [of Sabetha] can move forward drafting an ordinance.”

Mishler will work on putting together an ordinance for the City of Sabetha.

Wahwasuck reminded the commission that stop signs would be put in place at the intersection of 14th and Oregon in order to create a four-way stop.

The commissioners discussed the possibility of putting in a four-way stop at the intersection of Old Highway 75 and Oregon. They decided they would complete a traffic study at that intersection after school starts.

Speed Limit Signs

Enneking was present to ask the commissioners about putting in speed limit signs in Presswood Estates on Kansas Avenue.

“There is about a 200-yard stretch on Kansas Avenue that the city maintains,” Enneking said. “We get a lot of traffic coming from new 75 [U.S. Highway 75] going back to the Kellenberger addition. We get a lot of commercial traffic as well. We are trying to get people to slow down, because they are running 60 miles per hour sometimes.”

The commissioners discussed whether or not that area was a county road or a city road.

Mishler will look into what the speed limit should be and will let commissioners know, so speed limit signs can be put up.

Also at the meeting:

The commissioners approved the minutes from the June 24 meeting.

The commissioners approved the following: VFW Liquor License; Resolution 2019-17, a wage resolution for City Attorney Martin Mishler; and Resolution 2019-16, a wage resolution for officer Daniel Ross.

The commissioners entered into a 15-minute executive session to discuss personnel with their attorney. Present for the executive session were the mayor, commissioners, Allen and Mishler. No binding actions were taken following the executive session.

The Sabetha City Commission will meet again at 6 p.m. Monday, July 22.


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