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News Release

News Release: Creamery Bridge Anticipated Timeline of Repair

NEWS RELEASE
April 9, 2021

AN UPDATE ON THE CREAMERY BRIDGE AND ESTIMATED TIMELINE OF REPAIR

Osawatomie, Kansas – City Manager Mike Scanlon toured the damage at the Creamery Bridge (8th Street) on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, with Miami County Engineering Project Manager Matt Oehlert. Scanlon and Oehlert discussed the next steps necessary and the areas of repair that would be needed; primarily, the vertical hangers inside the south east arch in the northbound lane of the bridge.

            Officials estimate that it will take an estimated 90-100 days to prepare specifications and submit permits for approvals to conduct the repairs (noting that this is an historic structure and all work will require approval by the State of Kansas); bid the repairs to be made this summer (2021); begin repairs in mid-late summer (2021); complete necessary repairs by the end summer/early fall (2021). During this process, officials must also certify the structure for the loads that can be carried and modify any signage required. Following the successful completion of these steps, the bridge and its roadways will be opened after construction completion in the fall of 2021.

            The historic bridge was damaged on April 1st, 2021, following a motor vehicle accident and was subsequently closed to all traffic due to safety concerns. Updates regarding the bridge and other City news can be found at www.osawatomieks.org.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Sam Moon, Public Information Officer
[email protected]
913-755-2146 x103

News Release: Utility Bill Update

NEWS RELEASE
March 26, 2021

(Download PDF)

Continued Utility Billing Actions Taken Regarding Electric Spike Charges

Osawatomie, Kansas – City officials continue to work toward a solution regarding the mid-February cold snap that caused price spikes in electric and natural gas utilities across the entire Midwest. The City of Osawatomie received around $700,000 in charges for a two-week period of severe weather, which is roughly the cost of six to eight months during a regular year. The issue has been a primary topic of concern at the February 25th, March 2nd, and March 11th meetings of City Council, and officials continued their discussion of the electric spike charges at the regularly scheduled March 25th meeting.

The City of Osawatomie was glad to receive a $700,000 ultra-low-interest loan from the State’s newly introduced City Utility Low-Interest Loan Program, which was designed for use by municipalities facing exorbitant utility bills as related to the February severe weather. This loan allows the City to pay off the $400,000 in higher interest no-fund warrants (NFW) as originally issued for the first portion of the charges due, and the City is able to stretch out repayment up to 10 years as compared to the one-year repayment for the NFW. This more forgiving repayment opportunity allows us to keep the monthly impact to consumers as low as possible.

After a presentation from City Manager Mike Scanlon regarding several proposed repayment options, and after listening to feedback from the residents in attendance, Council voted to approve a proposed 36-month framework repayment calendar. A final version of the plan will be presented and voted on at the April 8th meeting before implementation can begin in mid-April. The loan program timeline and necessary actions from City Council prevented these changes from appearing on the bill arriving next week as originally stated in a March 1st release. Once a plan has been established and approved by Council, the City will notify customers of their payment options.

A complete timeline of this process and actions taken, including the proposed framework calendar, is available on our website at www.osawatomieks.org/February-2021-utility-timeline.

The City of Osawatomie and all its associated staff members, community partners, and other advisory groups are grateful for the support and understanding of residents during this incredibly trying time. This has been a period of exhaustive new information, record-breaking speed of legislation, and complicated financial mathematics. The City is proud to have been on the forefront of many of these statewide conversations and spearheaded many of the solutions being implemented across the region.

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MEDIA CONTACT: SAM MOON
[email protected]
913-755-2146 x103

Press Release Regarding Extreme Weather Utility Bill

PRESS RELEASE | March 1, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Samantha Moon
[email protected]
913-755-2146, 103

OSAWATOMIE URGES RESIDENTS TO PREPARE FOR HIGHER UTILITY BILLING DUE TO EXTREME WEATHER AND THE RELATED ENERGY CRISIS

Osawatomie, Kansas – As the Midwest dug itself out of the extreme winter weather in mid-February, a new but related challenge presented itself. Power partners and providers across the Midwest were seeing hyper-inflated pricing due to the out of balance open markets, and municipalities across the region were scrambling to pay weekly energy bills that are more than 10x higher than their previous monthlyaverages. Osawatomie was not immune to market conditions, as we were told to expect our next weekly bill from KMEA to be valued at near $1,000,000.

Fortunately, some rates have been reevaluated and our pool credit applied to the open market charge and this week’s bill is now $195,531.00. We expect next Friday’s bill to be similarly high, as the rates didn’t immediately drop back to regular levels. In order to pay these much higher bills, we’re working with financial partner First Option Bank to issue no-funds utility warrants equivalent to $400,000 that we expect will cover the payments for this week and next. We sought this short-term financing in an effort to preserve our existing fund balances and protect our assets moving forward should another emergency present itself.

What does this higher bill mean for the consumer? It means that utility bills for Osawatomie residents willbe significantly higher for the month of February. We estimate that the average consumer will see an additional $235.00 on top of regular winter usage charges. This number will of course fluctuate depending on your home’s efficiency and your usage throughout the month. We recognize that this is yet another financial burden during an already financially stressful period for many households, so we are preparing two different payment plans for those unable to pay in full. “Plan A” will allow residents to pay the balance over three (3) months and “Plan B” will allow payment over six (6) months.

While this is undoubtedly a shock to many household budgets, we hope residents recognize how much worse this could have been and instead pride themselves on their conservation efforts during our energy crisis. We fully believe that our community’s dedication to conservation was the main contributing factor to our bill being so much lower than originally estimated. Because of your resolve to keep our community online and safe during the worst winter weather in a generation, you likely saved yourselves several hundred dollars in additional energy costs.

We urge residents to prepare for these increased utility bills and consider keeping usage to a minimum as we move into more pleasant spring-like weather to help offset the higher charges coming on the February bill.

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News Release Announcing Library Director Appointment

NEWS RELEASE
February 17th, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Samantha Moon
[email protected] | 913-755-2146 x103

OSAWATOMIE PUBLIC LIBRARY WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR

Osawatomie, Kansas – The City of Osawatomie and the Library Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that Dr. Morgan Menefee Crabtree has been appointed as the next Library Director for the Osawatomie Public Library. Dr. Crabtree has spent her career in a variety of academic settings and school districts, and joins us from Osawatomie USD #367 where she served as a high school English teacher. After a comprehensive, multi-month search to find an individual with the experience and vision necessary to propel the Library forward, the Osawatomie Public Library’s Board of Trustees and City Manager unanimously approved her appointment.

Dr. Crabtree’s educational and professional background shows her dedication to research, ingenuity, and literacy across the board, and she will be an asset to the community at large. She will work to maintain her involvement in the school district’s existing literacy teams and strengthen the relationship between the Library and USD #367, and is eager to begin implementing her many ideas for programming across all ages. Her primary goal is one of universal, functional literacy for children and adults.

We believe that the Library is on the verge of a breakthrough into something bigger and better, due in large part to all the work that previous Director Elizabeth Trigg has done in the last several years. Dr. Crabtree will be a great leader as we continue that work to transform the library into the community space, literacy center, and ultimate creative anchor of our community for people of all ages and backgrounds. We believe she has the initiative and tenacity to continue the legacy of growth and community engagement that her predecessor Trigg battled for over the last decade.

We’re greatly looking forward to working with Dr. Crabtree and watching her lead the Osawatomie Public Library into the next generation.

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News Release from the City Manager’s Office Regarding COVID-19

CITY OF OSAWATOMIE

439 Main Street
P.O. Box 37
Osawatomie KS 66064
913.755.2146 (p)
913.755.4146 (f )
[email protected]
www.osawatomieks.org


L. Mark Govea, Mayor
NEWS RELEASE
November 20, 2020
CONTACT: Mike Scanlon, City Manager
[email protected]
913-755-2146 Ext. 107

OPERATIONAL UPDATE FROM THE CITY OF OSAWATOMIE REGARDING THE CONTINUOUS SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN OUR COMMUNITY

COVID-19 positive cases continue to rise at an alarming rate at the local, regional, and state levels, Osawatomie has chosen to continue to implement proactive and precautionary measures to protect our community and staff from the growing threat of the novel coronavirus and associated COVID-19 disease.

Throughout the pandemic, all City staff members have been instructed to practice good social distancing and actively incorporate safety guidelines at all work sites and offices, including wearing masks or other approved face coverings. In the coming weeks, City staff will be working rotating schedules, balancing remote and in-person office hours, and implementing other safeguards to minimize our chances of spreading this disease within our staff. We have also made decision to once again close certain City facilities to help reduce the risk of community exposure in an effort to protect our friends and neighbors as best we can.

The following list details planned city closures and changes in operation that will begin on Monday, November 23rd, 2020 and remain in effect until January 31st, 2021.

  • City of Osawatomie Ordinance No. 3783 requiring the use of approved face coverings is still in effect.
  • All City Hall and Utility Offices will be closed to the public.
    • Utility payments are still being accepted in the utility drop box, over the phone, and online.
    • City Staff will conduct necessary business via phone or email.
    • Contact City Clerk Tammy Seamands at Ext. 104 or at [email protected].
    • Contact Building Official Ed Beaudry at Ext. 102 or at [email protected].
    • Contact Human Resources/Cemetery Director Ashley Kobe at Ext. 101 or at [email protected].
  • Osawatomie Public Library will operate with limited hours and limited staff.
    • Patrons may not enter the library proper but will be able to pick up material in the library lobby. Items may still be returned to the outdoor drop box.
    • Contact Library Director Elizabeth Trigg at Ext. 220 or at [email protected].
  • Osawatomie Golf Course will operate with limited clubhouse availability.
  • All rentals at City facilities (Memorial Hall, Municipal Auditorium, Old Stone Church)
    will be suspended.
    • City Staff will contact anyone with an existing reservation. Contact Utilities at 913-755-2146, Option 1.
  • John Brown Museum and State Historic Site will be closed to the public.
    • Special tours may be made by appointment only, and at the discretion of the museum curator.
    • Contact Museum Curator Grady Atwater at 913-755-4384 or at [email protected].
  • John Brown Memorial Park, Anna January Park, and the Flint Hills Trail will remain open to the public.
    • We are discouraging the use of playground equipment until further notice. Playground equipment is a high-touch area and we cannot guarantee its cleanliness.
    • Avoid gathering in groups outside of your household, and be aware of your social distance during your activity.
  • Osawatomie Municipal Court is continuing at this time.
    • The lobby will be limited to 10 people on court days and face coverings will be required for the duration of the session.
    • Court times will be modified in an effort to limit the number of people gathered, decrease wait times, and encourage social distancing.
    • If you have the ability to access court proceedings from home (via Zoom), we encourage you to do so in order to limit the number of people reporting in person.
    • Please contact the Court Clerk’s Office at 913-755-3695 for more information.

These measures will be updated as needed when new information becomes available from medical professionals and government officials.

We give our sincerest apologies for the inconveniences these closures may cause, but we want to remind everyone how important it is for all of us to do our part to slow the spread of this highly contagious and deadly disease. Please call us at 913-755-2146 with any questions or concerns.