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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Important read: Beef facility 'fills plate' for Butler council

While there were a few technical glitches last night as the Butler city council meeting was held online, the  meeting was chock full of important issues. From the beginning:

First, it was noted that a bill for just over $9,900.00 was explained to council members- it was a $150.00 holiday bonus for city employees that was paid via gift cards. Due to how the cards were purchased and disbursed, the bill was consolidated into one lump sum.

Upon the move of councilman Jeff Hall to another ward, his vacant seat has been filled by Alan J. Mundey by unanimous vote. Also due to the move by Hall, the position of Mayor pro-tem has been filled by Doncella Liggins. Congrats to both.

There was a public hearing regarding the medical marijuana businesses in Butler. This is a rather complicated process, as the grow facility (Local Leaf) and the manufacturing facility (Revival98), although in the same building must have separation in terms of doing business. A conditional use permit will be issued. More details on the dispensary will be forthcoming.

Seats will be open in all four wards in 2021. Those wishing to file may do so beginning December 15th at city hall. However, due to city hall being closed to the public for covid concerns, call for details on how to file.

A long segment of the meeting was devoted to discussion of renewing the lease of the fairground property to the fair board and saddle club. A 30 year lease is on the table; however there is a lot to consider regarding grounds maintenance, ownership of the buildings and more. The city attorney is going to write up a draft of the contract which will be mulled at the upcoming meeting.

For the record, the solar farm does not belong to the city of Butler. The current owner is considering selling the farm and it was brought up that the city should have first option to buy the farm; however, city hall is scrambling to find any contract documents that might contain this information.

Cares Act money was made available to Bates County as reported June 17th of this year- and doling out the available $1.8 million is proving to be a bit tricky. The city would like to receive a portion to cover hazard pay for all city employees; however it looks like the police and fire department may be first on the list to receive any of it. A group of five in the county offices, including commissioners have final say on where the money goes however, they are under a constant audit to verify that the money is handed out per strict rules. From the city's perspective, they must first spend the money then ask the county for reimbursement that could lay the groundwork for an expensive catch-22 if the county does not reimburse due to a technicality. It was suggested that the council meet with the county for some kind of assurance. You can read the June story regarding the Cares Act money here https://batescountynewswire.blogspot.com/2020/06/work-in-progress-doling-out-18-million.html

A Facebook video allegedly showing blood and cow parts outdoors at the Kansas City Beef Company (former Thorco location) began  another long discussion about concerns from neighbors near the facility. As we reported a public hearing held on November 20th by the planning commission, it appears the facility has been in operation since June, unknown by many, including some council members. This of course has sparked discussion about whether or not the plant is operating under the correct guidelines in terms of the city, state and other governance. To add to the confusion, Kansas City Beef has approached the planning commission asking for permission to slaughter at the facility (currently slaughter is off site) and in that, it was discovered there is an issue with zoning that would need to be resolved as well. At this time, it appears Kansas City Beef is operating within their legal bounds; a special meeting will be held December 8th regarding this issue and Mid America Live will provide more details about the meeting in upcoming days.

A short discussion was held regarding the removal of political signs still up in the area. An easy fix would be for property owners to simply drop them in the trash IF candidates don't do the right thing and do it first.