Newton City Commissioners had a full agenda at their meeting Tuesday evening, discussing an airport community hangar and security at city buildings at a special work session before their regular meeting.
Police Chief Jim Daily addressed commissioners about how gun laws will impact municipal buildings. He said if the city does not provide adequate security measures in municipal buildings — i.e. electronic devices and personnel to screen those coming into the facility — the city will have to allow conceal carry. In Kansas, about 50,000 people have conceal carry permits.
“Everyone who has a conceal carry permit will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in our facility,” Daily said.
Of all the city’s facilities, three are considering setting up security checkpoints, said Suzanne Loomis, city engineer/director of public works. The city is looking at adding metal detection and a security guard at City Hall, which would have a set-up cost of $7,800 and an ongoing annual cost of $34,320. Grant funds may be available. The Public Library would like to add a metal detector and security guard, for a similar cost, but does not know where it would secure funding. The Recreation Center also is considering adding door locks, a metal detector and a security guard.
If the city decides to add more security, they would possibly have to close down the city building to one entrance, and security staff would have to be on site any time City Hall is open, including evenings. Staff said there also is a concern about tougher security measures and ADA compliance.
Commission consensus was to allow conceal carry in municipal buildings.
Commissioners also talked about an interlocal agreement with Harvey County for a community hangar at the Newton City/County Airport. The project would require the issuance of bonds and is not to exceed $1.57 million.
Tim Johnson, assistant city manager, said the new hangar is needed due to the growth of the airport and the expansion of businesses based at the airport. In 2008, about 96 aircraft were based at the airport; today, that number has increased to 155.
“What we are seeing here is demand for services at this airport, and this is a demand that can only be met at this point by construction of a larger hangar,” he said.
Revenues from the lease of space in the hangar will be used to help pay for the project.
During the work session and meeting, the commission also:
· Learned about the process the city uses to select its insurance. Lunda Asmani, assistant city manager for budget and finance, said the city seeks to find a balance between costs and quality.
· Received a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 20 through 26 as Newton BPW Women’s Week. The week promotes equality for women in the workplace and supports women-owned businesses.
· Discussed Kansas Logistics Park signage, such as signs onsite to identify land included in the KLP; signage on I-135 directing drivers to the KLP; and billboards increasing awareness of the KLP. Costs for billboards could range from $8,000 to $250,000, depending on size and features. The presentation was for informational purposes only.