By LESLIE EIKLEBERRY
During their regular meeting Monday afternoon, Salina City Commissioners officially accepted the resignation of Commissioner Rod Franz.
Last week, Franz's sons and partner submitted the letter of resignation on his behalf after Franz sustained injuries in an April 6 fall.
"Let me just begin by saying that it was with the deepest regret that we accepted the resignation of Commissioner Rod Franz. As many of you are aware, he had a fall a few weeks ago that's necessitated a long recovery period," Mayor Melissa Hodges said during the meeting.
"I think that if you polled us individually, that we function very well with the addition of Rod. He truly made a difference in how this board functions. He brought a strong finance perspective, a long history with the organization as an employee and director, and his analytical skills," Hodges continued. "I always looked forward to hearing his analysis of an issue that I thought was pretty straightforward. I didn't understand as well as I could have and Rod's analysis was always extremely helpful."
City Manager Mike Schrage said that during 31 years of his career, he has dealt with elected officials both directly and indirectly.
"I think Rod is unsurpassed in his time, energy, and commitment," Schrage said.
"One thing I came to appreciate with Rod is even if we didn't vote the same way, we always walked out of this room as gentlemen and respected the other," Commissioner Mike Hoppock said.
"I probably started becoming less detailed on the numbers when Rod got involved because I knew he had massaged 'em," Hoppock continued. "We all bring our strengths and weaknesses to a board and obviously Rod's strength was the financial aspect of it. I hope if his family is listening, we wish him the best. He is dearly missed and we look forward to seeing him in this room again someday and be able to tell him 'thank you' ourselves."
Hodges said that the commission had already received expressions of interest from former commissioners Joe Hay, Norm Jennings, and Kay Crawford.
The remaining four commissioners approved accepting expression of interest forms from persons willing to fill the open seat. Once the expression of interest forms are reviewed, the commissioners will appoint a person to serve until January 2022, which would complete the term Franz began.
Interested persons must complete and return the forms no later than 5 p.m. May 12. The form can be found on the city website at salina-ks.gov/boards.
In other business, commissioners:
●Approved on second reading three ordinance related to the Saline County Jail project. Those ordinances include the following.
Ordinance No. 21-11054 vacating the platted Woodland Avenue right-of-way east of N. Front Street, except the west 200 feet.
Ordinance No. 21-11060 amending the Future Land Use Map designation of the proposed Saline County Jail site to Public/Semi-Public.
Ordinance No. 21-11061 rezoning the proposed Saline County Jail site from I-3 to PDD Public Use-Public Facilities.
●Approved on second reading an ordinance changing the zoning district classification from I-1 to I-2 on the southern and western portions of the Tony's Pizza campus in order to create a uniform zoning district for the entire campus located at 3019 Scanlan Avenue.
●Approved an ordinance authorizing the execution of a loan agreement between the City of Salina and the State of Kansas for the purpose of financing improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.
●Authorized Schrage to execute a license (right-of-way user's) agreement with Missouri Network Alliance, LLC, doing business as Bluebird Network to allow the installation of fiber optic and related facilities within city rights-of-way. The installation is to connect cell towers used by U.S. Cellular.
●Approved resolutions for the designation of Rural Housing Incentive Districts for property north of Menards and property southeast of the intersection of S. Ohio Street and E. Schilling Road.