Most of the birds at Lakeside Park will be encouraged to fly the coop Thursday.

Most of the birds at Lakeside Park will be encouraged to fly the coop Thursday.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, Pittsburg City Commissioners approved capturing ducks and geese at the park and relocating them in an effort to improve the park’s conditions.
Jeff Wilbert, interim parks and recreation director, came before the commission with the request after he said he noticed more than 200 ducks and geese living at the park and in nearby yards.
He then spoke to Janis Goedeke, Crawford County Health Officer, who confirmed that the situation was a health issue because of the bird droppings. She also cited the possibility of disease coming from the birds.
“It’s not a healthy situation for the birds, it’s not a healthy situation for the fish and it’s not a healthy situation for the citizens of Pittsburg,” Goedeke said.
Tom Glick with the Wildlife and Parks office offered to conduct the capture, which he said was a common measure. He said situations were even worse in big cities like Hutchinson, Wichita or Kansas City.
Wilbert said the goal was to leave 30-40 ducks and geese at the park.
Close to 10 residents attended the meeting for the bird issue, and four people spoke about removing the birds, two in favor and two against.
Commissioners weren’t as split. After hearing from the public, Glick and Goedeke, they voted unanimously to approve capturing the ducks.
Also as part of the changes, the duck house will be taken down, and feeding at the park will be prohibited.
Four commissioners attended the meeting. Patrick O’Bryan was absent. In other news, Pittsburg City Commissioners:
• heard that the 2010 budget will be getting even tighter.
Jon Garrison, Pittsburg director of finance, said the city received word that assessed valuation for the city was down 4 percent, the result of “several large entities” winning disputes over their valuation numbers. Garrison said that typically, valuation averaged about 5 percent growth, and added that last year’s budget, which commissioners called a “bare bones” budget, was built using 1 percent valuation growth.
Garrison said the change would hurt plans for the upcoming 2010 budget, which had already seen close to $800,000 in department cuts. In order to keep the mill levy the same, which has been a priority for commissioners, Garrison said the city would have to cut about $364,000 ... equal to about three mills raised.
One mill is equal $1 for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.
• heard that Pittsburg Fire Chief Don Elmer will be retiring at the end of the year. Elmer has served with the fire department for 32 years.
• heard a presentation by Karen Linn of Berberich Trahan and Company, the city’s auditing firm, where Linn reviewed the city’s 2008 audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
• approved accepting a grant offer from the FAA in the amount of $97,998 for airport planning to update the Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan.
• approved the second reading of two ordinances fixing the rates and minimum charges for water and sewer service.
Under the ordinance, water users inside the city will pay $8.79 for all water consumed not in excess of 200 cubic feet per month, while users outside the city will pay $17.56. All charges above 200 cubic feet per month will be subject to a rate chart depending on the level of usage.
For sewer usage, users inside the city will pay $15.34 for usage not in excess of 200 cubic feet per month, while those outside the city will pay $30.56. Users inside the city will then pay $2.20 for each additional 100 cubic feet per month. Out of city users will pay $4.33 for each additional 100 cubic feet.
• heard a presentation from James Triplett with Pittsburg State University on the Water Link Grant regarding storm water and an update on the e-waste and household hazardous waste projects.
• approved grant award recommendations funded through the Presbyterian Church Fund for non-profit organization projects. The Crisis Resource Center, Hearts and Hammers, the Nazarene Church, Broadway Tower and Habitat of Humanity were the recipients.
• approved the appointment of David Nance and Lynda Wilkinson to the Alliance for Technology Commercialization (ATC) Board of Directors for three-year terms.
• approved the appointment of Mark Kolarik to a first four-year term and Cathy Duncan to a second four-year term as members of the Library Board of Trustees effective immediately and to expire on April 30, 2013.
• approved an application submitted by Crescent Stores Corporation doing business as CSC #33 to retail Cereal Malt Beverages for the year 2009 at 2401 S. Rouse.

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134