to test for gas leaks
BURLINGAME—The Burlingame City Council spent most of
Monday’s meeting discussing utility issues.
After being warned by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC)
in February about gas leaks in the city’s distribution
system, the council had considered hiring a company to test
the system, but failed to reach a consensus.
Monday, with a single nay vote from councilman Norman Bloomquist,
the council agreed to hire Gas System Compliance, LLC, who
submitted the low bid of $3,550, to survey the system.
Bloomquist said that city employees should conduct the survey
to save money. However, Burlingame City Administrator Flip
Hutfles said the KCC “highly recommended” a third
party perform the leak test. He pointed out it would be a
Councilwoman Carolyn Strohm agreed, saying hiring a third
party would allow city employees to continue their regular
See Burlingame, Page 4A
Hutfles presented bids from several companies. With councilman
Kevin Fry absent, and Bloomquist voting against hiring a company
to test the system, the council approved the bid.
The KCC had also warned the city about inaccurate gas line
Last month, residents were put on notice that electric rates
are expected to increase annually after a multi-year contract
with Westar Energy is finalized. This week, Hutfles told the
council that Southern Star Transportation, the city’s
gas supplier, will be increasing rates due to capital improvement
projects undertaken by the company. He also reported that
gas would be purchased during the summer for sale during the
In other utility discussion, the council debated the city’s
utility trip charge – the cost of a city employee taking
a “trip” to property where utilities are to be
Bloomquist and councilwoman Vikki DeMars agreed the current
charge of $20 was high enough, especially for people with
financial problems. Burlingame City Clerk Patti Gilbert said
if people were having difficulty paying utility bills, they
should call her to make other payment arrangements to keep
their utilities from being shut off.
Councilman Dustin Swander disagreed with DeMars and Bloomquist,
offering a motion to raise trip charges. His motion died for
lack of a second.
The city’s utility foreman, Gerry Grandstaff, asked
the council to clarify how he should handle purchases and
sales of goods such as electrical transmission wire. He was
also concerned about electric meter placement.
City attorney Rick Godderz said the city should not be in
the business of selling electrical wire to anyone other than
customers purchasing electricity. Sales of items such as wire
should be the same as the city’s cost, he said, and
city code states the city will provide an electric meter and
one utility pole to anyone purchasing electricity from the
Swander and Burlingame Mayor Brenda Dorr told Grandstaff that
from now on, he should be handling all utility purchase bids.
Hutfles had previously been handling the duty.
There was a brief discussion between Strohm and Hutfles about
purchasing a new transformer. This had been considered at
the last meeting, due to the city’s transformer limiting
the amount of electricity that can be delivered and creating
a constraint during peak loads in the summer months, requiring
the city to generate power to meet peak demands. Hutfles said
that “hard numbers were needed” before the council
could make a decision regarding the purchase. Hutfles had
previously said a replacement transformer could cost as much
Library's foundation cracked
In other discussion, the council heard about a problem with
the city library building that is built on a concrete slab.
Its slab has cracked in a back corner of the building; settling
has occurred that has damaged part of the floor, an exterior
wall and an interior wall. The crack in the exterior wall
is wide enough for someone to put their fingers into it.
Hutfles reported he has received a bid from an outside company
to jack up the floor. He expressed a desire to wait for other
bids before approval of a repair plan. Repair for the building
has been budgeted in the 2008 budget at $40,000. The council
approved seeking additional bids.
The council also heard from Lee Ann Smiley, who spoke on behalf
of the Burlingame Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has requested
that Santa Fe Street be closed from Kraus Hardware to the
main intersection during the upcoming Rodeo Days. After discussion
with Smiley, the council approved the request. She noted that
currently 10 craft booths are planned for the downtown, along
with a parade and other activities. Smiley requested volunteers
to help out during the day’s activities.
Also during Monday’s meeting, Justin Hefley talked to
the council about an historic residence at 103 N. Dacotah.
The council had previously expressed concerns over the condition
of the house, thought to have been built before 1865. Hefley
reported that he and his stepfather will be doing work on
the house. While no one is currently living in the house,
Hefley said he would be residing there after repairs are made.
The council expressed appreciation that he was improving an
During presentation of the first quarter the financial report,
Hutfles commented that revenues exceeded expenditures.
Discussion followed on the purchase of a lawn mower for the
city. Bloomquist said he would like to see all purchases be
made from local merchants, if possible.
In other business, the council:
• accepted the resignation of Kendra Douglas from the
library board and appointed Monica Greenwood as a replacement.
• heard that Larry Cline has resigned as a city laborer.
Hutfles said he is advertising the vacant position.
• heard that Burlingame School District has asked the
city to remove a large oil tank that is located on school
property. Grandstaff said city equipment is not sufficient
to remove the tank because of its size, and Hutfles has been
trying to find someone with machinery to remove it.
• heard that communication equipment for mobile phone
companies has been installed on the city water tower.
• agreed to discuss at the next council meeting whether
to run ads for Rodeo Days. With the expenditure expected to
be $106, Hutfles recommended not purchasing the ads.
• heard a recommendation from Strohm that something
be done with old picnic tables in the city park. They are
missing pieces and children are using them to climb on top
of the restroom building.
• heard a request from Dorr that the council address
the condition of the old Silver Dollar building downtown.
• met in executive session for approximately 30 minutes
to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken afterwards.