Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

City Council prepares to fill vacant seat

June 8, 2006, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: June 8, 2006, 7:34 a.m.

Lansing City Council is accepting applications from Ward 3 residents interested in filling the council seat vacated last week by Robert Ulin.

Ulin, in a statement at the end of last week's council meeting, resigned his post, citing his position as chief executive officer of the newly formed Command and General Staff College Foundation.

"My current duties and responsibilities as the CEO of the newly established Command and General Staff College Foundation are consuming much of my time, leaving me little time to focus on the needs of the city," Ulin said. "As most of you know, the first few years of any business enterprise requires a great deal of focus and hard work. Besides, participation on the council should be shared with other citizens so they can help shape the future of our city."

On Tuesday during a special meeting, the council officially accepted Ulin's resignation.

Afterward, Mayor Kenneth Bernard said the council would accept applications through 5 p.m. June 26 from people interested in serving out the final 10 months of Ulin's term.

Interested in applying?

Download an application (pdf)

The council asks that applicants include a written statement that outlines the candidate's qualifications for the post, personal philosophy of city government, desired accomplishments as a council member and willingness to attend governmental training.

Applicants must be at least 18, a resident of Ward 3 and a registered voter.

In his farewell statement, Ulin said his three main disappointments on the council were the lack of development in Towne Center, his inability to persuade council members of the need for the city to hire a full-time grant writer and the inability of council and staff members from forging relationships with staff members of the Kansas congressional delegation as a means of attracting federal grants to the city.

Of Towne Center, he said, "Hard attitudes on both sides and the lack of a more aggressive development policy have been a real problem."

Council member Don Studnicka wished Ulin good luck, but said he disagreed with Ulin's assertions about Towne Center.

"I find it very hard to bring myself to spend taxpayers' money to help market somebody else's property. I have a hard time with that." Studnicka said. "I know we have an issue there in Towne Center and we're all frustrated with it, but I have a little problem with that."

City Administrator Mike Smith, who was out of town for Ulin's statement, this week said the city had found success landing grants with its current staff and questioned Ulin's call for a full-time grant writer.

"I think we've been pretty successful landing grants," Smith said, ticking off grants received by Lansing Community Library, Lansing Community Museum, the Economic Development and Police departments.

Smith said the biggest grant the city has landing was coming to fruition now: $13 million for the Main Street System Enhancement project. "That's an economic development grant - period," Smith said.

Ulin was appointed to the council in June 2001 as a Ward 3 representative. He was elected to a four-year term in April 2003.

Ulin, a retired Army colonel, has two master's degrees and is a graduate of an executive management program at Harvard University.

He was instrumental in landing a $2 million federal grant for improvements to De Soto Road.

Council member Kenneth Ketchum was absent from Thursday's meeting.

In other action Thursday, the council:

¢ Approved minutes from the council's May 18 meeting.

¢ Heard Mayor Kenneth Bernard proclaim June 12-16 as "Business Appreciation Week."

¢ Heard a monthly update on the Main Street System Enhancement Project from the city's project liaison, Ken Miller.

¢ Designated, in a 6-1 vote with Robert Ulin opposed, the city's top three projects for spending receipts from the Leavenworth County one-cent sales tax in 2007 as a new library, phase I of Lansing Community Park and expansion of City Hall. Ulin said economic development projects should be the top priorities.

¢ Unanimously approved a resolution establishing signatories for the city's accounts and investments at Commerce Bank.

¢ Unanimously approved accepting the low bid for the city's annual paving, curb replacement, sidewalk repair and parking lot paving programs. McAnany Construction, Shawnee, presented the low bid of $308,767.

¢ Approved, on a 6-1 vote with Don Studnicka dissenting, the final development plan for Eisenhower Crossing, Phase 2, Lot 1, at the southeast corner of Eisenhower and De Soto roads.

¢ Unanimously approved a preliminary development plan for First National Bank of Leavenworth. The bank plans to build a full-service bank at the northern edge of Towne Center.

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