Pittsburgh City Commission Meeting Recap – June 28

PITTSBURG, KS – The following actions were taken at the Pittsburgh City Commission meeting held on Tuesday, June 28, 2022:

PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION:

  • Father Jérôme Spexarth with Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church shared an invocation prayer.
  • Pittsburgh resident Alissa Dungan and her husband Justin Dungan have spoken out against the proposed cell tower at 401 Thomas.
  • Billie Newlin has come out in favor of the proposed cell tower, which would be built on her property.
  • US Cellular representative Shaun Hemsted responded to concerns raised by Ms. Dungan about the proposed cell tower.

THE FOLLOWING ITEMS HAVE BEEN APPROVED ON THE CONSENT CALENDAR:

  • Minutes of the city council meeting of June 14, 2022.
  • Application submitted by Harold Leroy Smith for a grain malt beverage license for the annual celebration honoring the life of Brandon Smith to be held at the Frisco Event Center.
  • The Appropriation Order for the period ending June 28, 2022, subject to the release of HUD expenses when funds are received.

THE FOLLOWING ITEM HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE CONSENT AGENDA FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION:

  • Commissioners considered the staff’s request to apply to the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation’s (KHRC) Tenant-Based Rent Assistance (TBRA) program for a grant in the amount of $100,000 to be used to provide assistance with the security deposit for income-eligible households. Commissioners asked Housing and Community Development Director Quentin Holmes to discuss the grant and how it helps people. Holmes said the city had already received this grant, and that 223 families had been helped by his office over the past two years with funding received under the 2020 grant cycle. After a short discussion, commissioners voted yes. approve the request.

PUBLIC AUDIENCE:

  • PUBLIC AUDIENCE – Commissioners held a public hearing and invited community members to share their comments regarding the appeal of the Planning Commission / Zoning Appeal Board’s decision to deny the conditional use permit application for authorize a communication tower at 401 Thomas. Mayor Brooks requested that the comments made under the public comments portion of the meeting be included in the remarks noted under the public hearing. The commissioners again heard from US Cellular, residents and city staff, and discussed the decision at length. Following the close of the public hearing, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the recommendation made by the Planning Board/Zoning Appeal Board and deny the conditional use permit application for the communications tower.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION:

  • QUARTERLY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REPORT – Director of Economic Development, Blake Benson, and Director of External Engagement, Pittsburg State University, Chad Mishmash, presented the Economic Development Quarterly Report. The report showed unemployment in Pittsburgh is currently at 2.6% and the city’s sales tax revenue for June 2022 was the second highest ever. The median salary in Crawford County has increased 22.5% in just one year. The new FedEx Ground distribution center is expected to be completed in the fall, and local company AZZ is expanding its Pittsburgh plant. PSU’s National Institute for Materials Advancement (NIMA) is expanding its research programs, adding new high-tech equipment and recruiting a new tenant. PSU’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) worked with 55 local businesses this year. Block22’s Foundry adds a new tenant to retail space and struggles to fill a vacancy after Limelight Marketing outgrew incubator space. The report says three local businesses have partnered with the town so far this year, including Jones Heritage Realtors, Fireplace Creations and Blue Spoon.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

  • REQUEST IMAGINE PITTSBURG/GROW PITTSBURG – Commissioners considered the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) recommendation to allocate $150,000 from the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) for start-up costs that would allow Imagine Pittsburg to establish “Develop Pittsburg,” a new Community Development Corporation (CDC), to support development projects in our community. After a presentation and an extensive question and answer period, the committee voted to approve EDAC’s recommendation to award seed funding to the organization “Develop Pittsburgh”.
  • 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS CONTRACT – Commissioners voted to use city funds in the amount of $18,700 for the annual 4th of July fireworks show to be provided by J and M Displays, Inc.

OFF-AGENDA REPORTS AND REQUESTS:

  • The city’s Director of Public Works and Utilities, Matt Bacon, announced that the city’s bulky item pickup event will soon be open for registration. Pickup will begin on July 18, and city crews will continue to pick up large items until all tickets for registered addresses are complete. Registrations will open on the city’s SeeClickFix app and by calling customer service at (620) 231-4100.
  • Bacon also added that a public meeting for the East Quincy project will be held Thursday, July 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at PittNaz Church.
  • Commissioner Hite asked for an update on the 4th Street Bridge project from KDOT. Bacon said KDOT expects construction to wrap around the end of July.

Meetings of the municipal commission:

The Pittsburgh City Commission meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the hearing room of the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center. Members of the public are invited to attend. To learn more about Pittsburgh city government, city commissioners, or to view meeting agendas and minutes, visit pittks.org/city-government/city-commission.

City commission meetings are broadcast live every second and fourth Tuesday on the city’s local government access channel (Cox Channel 6) and on YouTube. To subscribe to the City’s YouTube channel, go to www.pittks.org/youtube.

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The mission of the City of Pittsburg is to provide exceptional services, facilities and activities with integrity, professionalism, excellent customer service and a commitment to economic vitality.

Aurora J. William