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Jeremy Gaston/Herald-Chronicle
No carry signs like the one at the Osage City Council cahmbers came down after the June 25 meeting.

Jeremy Gaston | Managing Editor

OSAGE CITY—The Osage City Council voted not to apply for an extension to stipulations of the new concealed carry law, effectively allowing legal carry within all municipal government buildings, effective July 1.

By opting out of the extension, the council separated itself from several area governments that took advantage of the six-month grace period.

Council member Edward Berends cited cost of maintaining adequate security measures associated with the bill as prohibitive to having any gun free zones, despite considering the possibility of restricting them in the courtroom.

“I think the thing on agenda is to give them time to adjust,” said Osage City Attorney Rick Godderz. “You’re working on July 1 deadline – this is asking for a six month period to let us deal with it.”

“And if we don’t do it?” asked council member Duane Peroo.

“Then you’ve got to take down signs and allow conceal carry in all buildings,” Godderz said.

Godderz spoke in favor of restricting guns in the courtroom and the six-month extension. Council member LeRoy Stromgren asked police chief Fred Nech for his opinion, in which he also recommended the extension.

“Everyone rushed us to make a quick decision on this or else accept these laws,” Nech said. “(They also) gave you the opportunity to take six months and think about this and create a plan.”

“We surely can take a little more time than this evening to make this type of decision,” said council member Becky Brewer. “I would go with sending the letter to give us the six months to think about it.”

Brewer later motioned in favor of sending the letter, which died after council members Ed Mueller, Peroo, Berends, Rick Martin and Stromgren voted against applying for the automatic extension.

The council delayed another agenda item to address an impending issue with watering the greens at the Osage City Municipal Golf Course. Lee Seastrom, Osage City Country Club board president, explained to the council that the greens must be watered twice weekly. Each watering draws 70,000 gallons of water from the lake, which Seastom estimated would deplete the lake within a few weeks.

“We’re out of water for three days they’re gone,” Seastrom said. “I was hoping to get something in place so we don’t have to worry about it.”

The council and utility director Mike Gilliland discussed options for addressing the issue.

“We can look at wholesale water, delayed billing…” said Osage City Mayor Quintin Robert. “We need to move quickly, but we don’t have to make a decision tonight.”

“The staff needs to look into a few things, see what time factor would be, the cost on it and give us some figures at the next meeting,” Berends said. “How’s that sound guys?”

Stromgren reassured Seastom the problem would be addressed.

“We’re going to do what we can to keep you in water, besides going thirsty ourselves,” Stromgren said.

In related business, the council also authorized the mayor or city manager to enter into a contract with Burns and McDonnell to continue progress on the lake restoration project.

In other business, the council:

• received a bi-annual audit report from Jack Eldrige. Edgridge reviewed budget details, minor errors and recommendations for improving city finances, as well as complemented the staff on being easy to work with.

• heard an update on the USD 420 facilities improvement project from architect Kenton Cox, including progress on the elementary remodeling, plans for the new gym and shelter, and progress on the track and field. Discussion centered on plans for improvements at the city-owned community building, which will have new restrooms and an expanded concessions area.

• conducted a 10-minute executive session to discuss attorney client matters. Upon returning to open session, the council voted to enter into a lease agreement with Dale Stromgren to utilize 48 acres of land for airport improvements and right-of-way.

• approved Ordinance 1565, rezoning lots 9-19 or Block 1 of the Jennings addition, at 108 N. Ninth, from restricted commercial to general commercial for the construction of a new Dollar General store. Architect Mark Abeln presented plans for the new store. Abeln said construction would begin in the winter or spring of 2014, and that it would be one of the company’s larger stores.

• approved the strategic plan for 2013-15.

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