ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
The Liberal City Commission took on a lot of zoning and development requests and proposals at its most recent meeting Tuesday evening.
Before tackling those, however, the commission began the meeting by proclaiming March as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
“WHEREAS the month of March 2023 has been designated as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in order to celebrate and recognize people with disabilities,” Liberal Mayor Jose Lara read. “WHEREAS disability is a natural part of the human existence and in no way diminishes the value of people with disabilities to make choices, contribute to society and experience in full the many blessings of American society; and WHEREAS family members, friends and the community at large all play a role in supporting people with disabilities as they pursue their dreams; and WHEREAS the goals of this city properly include helping people with disabilities realize full access to housing, employment and the recreational activities which help create productive and satisfying lives and to live as independently as possible. In the City of Liberal, I call upon the citizens of Liberal to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities. Furthermore, I encourage the citizens of Liberal to seek information from those organizations with expertise in matters concerning professionals who support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Mosaic Registered Nurse Gail Phelps and Program Manager Brady Low spoke to the commission regarding the importance of the proclamation and what it means for Liberal.
“Being able to choose how to spend your day is a fundamental right that has long been denied to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Phelps said. “At Mosaic, we pursue opportunities to the people we serve to live full, meaningful lives on their terms. Our personalized services allow people to spend their days doing the activities they choose, and our theme this year is ‘My Day, My Way’ in the pursuit to individualize our clients’ days and help them be active members of the community while they pursue the activities they choose to help them have a better life. Mosaic is focused on increasing the number of Mosaic at-home providers in the community and across our network of 13 states. Mosaic At Home is an independent contractor with the opportunity to support a person in their home while receiving a professional wage. In return, while working with their provider, the client becomes more independent by enjoying their own room and experiencing true community inclusion. If anyone would like to know about Mosaic’s mission to improve lives, or if anyone would like to become a Mosaic At Home provider, they can visit our Web site, mosaicinfo.org, or call the Liberal office at (620) 624-3817. I want to thank the commission for this proclamation and for helping the people we serve have the possibility to live ‘My Day, My Way’ right here in Liberal.”
After that proclamation, the commission moved on to the meeting’s new business, beginning with rescinding Charter Ordinance 38, which would have designated the Liberal City Web site, cityofliberal.org, as the official city newspaper. The vote was 4-0 (with Vice Mayor Jeff Parsons absent) to rescind the ordinance.
“As you’ll recall, this charter ordinance was approved at the commission’s last meeting a few weeks ago,” City Attorney Lynn Koehn said. “It’s now in effect for 61 days and allows for time to things to be filed if there are any issues. Especially with Rusty [Varnado], there was some pushback against it from the local paper. Then I discovered there was something I should have caught before, cities of second or third class can actually opt out and go online with their official paper. Liberal is actually a first-class city, which means we cannot opt out. I should have found that originally, and we have to remain with the local paper as the official publication. Since it’s not fully in effect, my recommendation is to rescind the ordinance.”
In other business, the commission took on development requests and proposals, beginning with approving a rezone of property from R-2 Two-Family Dwelling to Light Industrial at 1011 E. 8th Street and adopting Ordinance 4599, which would grant a Special Use Permit for 333 E. 18th Street for a 195’ telecommunications tower. The commission also approved setting public hearings regarding Rural Housing Incentive Districts for Chance Road/Apache Lane and Larry Street/Hickory Street development projects for the commission’s April 25 meeting. The commission also approved purchasing new LED lighting for North Kansas Avenue and voted to start the process with Alternative Essential Air Service to potentially secure a new airline for Liberal Municipal Airport. The Liberal Fire Department’s request for the annual turnout coat and pant replacement was approved, as was a resurfacing project for the basketball court at the Liberal Recreation Center. To conclude the meeting’s new business, INA Alert was awarded the bid for security cameras and software for the Police, Evidence, and Animal Shelter for a total of $84,481 and for the Liberal Recreation Department for $162,803.29.