February 26th, 2024

city of liberal logoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Liberal City Commission will have a light agenda to take on for its next meeting this evening starting at 5:30. Tonight’s meeting will be in the Blue Bonnet Community Building at 1109 W. 7th Street. 

Up first for the commission will be discussion of the purchase of a new bus. 

“Liberal CityBus has received approval for the 2024 KDOT grant, which includes the purchase of one new Cutaway bus,” the agenda information noted. “KDOT will reimburse 80 percent ($110,544) of the total $138,180 of the attached pre-order, leaving the local 20 percent share at $27,636. Staff is requesting funds not to exceed $139,000. Staff will be replacing Bus 215, a 2014 Ford E450 Cutaway bus with more than 150,000 miles, with maintenance costs last year of $5,649 and $1,038 to date this year.”

Up next for the commission will be discussion of the purchase of LION digital fire training through a Black Hills donation. 

“The Liberal Fire Department is seeking approval to proceed with the purchase of a LION digital fire training system and accessories. This equipment is the intended purchase funded by the Black Hills Energy Foundation grant accepted at the May 9 meeting,” the agenda information noted. “This equipment is specific to the LION Corporation and a copy of the NAFECO quote used for the grant application is attached.”

The Liberal Police Department will also be on hand for a request of a uniform change. 

“The Liberal Police Department currently uses a ‘soft’ uniform look of khaki pants and black shirt. To improve our overall appearance and project a more professional image, we would like to return to the previous uniform appearance of navy blue shirts, pants and coats,” the agenda information noted. 

Liberal’s Animal Control will also be on hand with a request of its own. 

“The Liberal Animal Shelter intakes more than 1,000 animals per year. Many of the animals are either strays or remain unclaimed by their owners,” the agenda information noted. “Rescue groups throughout the Midwest will request to take the animal(s) to adopt out. The current arrangement is for a non-profit group to transport the requested animals and meet with rescue groups in Wichita and Aurora, Colo. each week. The Liberal Animal Shelter is proposing to become self-sufficient when it comes to transports.”

To conclude this evening’s meeting, the commission will be discussing the disaster response policy and procedures for the Liberal Area Coalition for Families. This had been brought up at the commission’s April 11 meeting, with a proposal being brought forth regarding implementing a Disaster Relief Fund for future emergencies. 

“The day after the tornado that happened in March, I reached out to the Liberal Coalition for Families and Kay Burtzloff and her staff, and I’d seen how they were among the first responders, along with employees from the City of Liberal and Seward County,” Liberal Mayor Jose Lara said at the April 11 meeting. “I could see quickly there were funds being expended and my question was how was everything being funded since we didn’t have a fund dedicated to situations like this. Since that time, a fund has been created, but it’s all through small donations, which are greatly appreciated, but I feel the city should be somewhat responsible as well. I feel we need to have something in place because working in insurance, when there’s a house fire or some other disaster, even though we try to work as quickly as possible to help, there’s really nothing we can do that first night after everything happens. With major disasters, there’s definitely no way to reach everyone, so even if they have plans in place, there are things that will not be covered. In a lot of cases, we depend on the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army or similar entities to help these people, and I don’t think we have a local branch of either of those in Liberal.”