A Kernza licensing agreement and the replacement of five fire hydrants were discussed at the Chatfield City Council’s August 13 meeting.
Brian Burkholder, public works, introduced the agreement with The Land Institute (Kansas) which owns the trademark for Kernza, a perennial, continuous living cover crop, which can be used to improve water quality. It is an intermediate wheat grass with roots that survive through the winter. There are two plots (a total of 10 acres) in the city, one owned by the city and the other privately owned. Burkholder reported that the Kernza had been thrashed this last Thursday and will be combined.
The licensing agreement allows the seed to be sold and distributed. The city’s well protection plan includes the crop management of Kernza, which helps use up nitrates, protecting water quality.
A Kernza Field Day was held on August 22, with the program running from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Taking place south of the Chatfield Elementary School on Hillside Dr., there were several speakers on subjects including water protection, soil health, nitrogen research, and Kernza cover crops. Attendees were able to see Kernza and look at its root base.
Approval was given to replace five fire hydrants along Highway 52 in May before the 2019 Highway 52 project. The hydrants are at least 50 to nearly 70 years old. Parts are not available for the old hydrants. The replacement of the five hydrants is estimated to cost about $26,000.
Other business in brief
• The Committee of the Whole met prior to the council meeting to discuss the Charter Commission’s proposal to amend the City Charter to include/create a city administrator position. An administrator’s responsibilities would include enforcing the city’s ordinances, implementing policy, and managing city staff. The Charter Commission’s proposal will be brought back in a couple of weeks, starting the process of possibly amending the City Charter.
• Bryan Berg was appointed to the Cable TV Access Board for a term to expire January 31, 2021.
• August 14 was the last day to file for local office. Two council seats and the mayor’s position will be on the ballot in November.
• The Public Works committee has been discussing a request to issue permits to use the brush dump by non-city residents.
Options are being discussed to replace some street lights during the Highway 52 project. At the next city council meeting, roof repair projects for city hall and the fire hall will be considered.