New fire chief

Mindy Andrasevits was officially introduced as the new fire chief at Monday’s City Commission meeting. Andrasevits said she is excited to start working in Eudora and is looking forward to continuing the previous fire chief’s work.

Incoming Eudora Fire Chief Mindy Andrasevits, who will be the first female fire chief in Douglas County’s history, made her first appearance Monday night before the City Commission. 

“I’m lucky to follow a well-loved and respected fire chief,” Andrasevits said. “My goal is to get to know everybody in the community and build on the programs he started.”

Fire Chief Ken Keiter recently retired after 40 years of firefighting service.

Andrasevits said her community activism has centered around children. She has volunteered with children’s-based organizations. She helped serve lunch to students in the summer and has volunteered with Head Start in teaching students about art and fire safety programs.

Andrasevits has two decades of experience in emergency response, public safety education and risk management experience. 

Most recently, she was fire inspector for the city of St. Joseph Fire Department, where she implemented the “After the Fire: Neighborhood Sweep” with the Red Cross. Along with starting a conversation about fire safety, Andrasevits worked with the Fire Department to offer free installation of smoke alarms.

Andrasevits also worked in art education and in private-sector sales management. She holds a degree in public administration and emergency service management from Columbia Southern University, as well as certificates in fire investigation and building inspections. 

In other business, the commission discussed its recent hire of the CBRE real estate group. At the time, City Manager Barack Matite said CBRE would build new complexes, carry out deals and take care of leases in the Nottingham development.

On Monday, the commission discussed a proposal to pay CBRE $6,500 per month for its services once Wendy’s and Casey’s General Store opens. City attorney David Waters had reviewed the agreement and statement as well as CBRE’s legal team.

CBRE does not know how much money Wendy’s and Casey’s will pay per square foot yet. No other businesses are on the Nottingham property yet, which raised the question of why the city should agree to signing something that is still unknown.

“How can I sign or agree to something if I don’t know, long-term, what it’s going to cost us?” Reazin said. “It’s not something we had planned in the budget. I would hope we would have known what percentage we would be paying [of the $6,500] before signing the contract.”

Melissa Gray, director of sustainability consulting for CBRE, said the company will not know that percentage until they determine what Casey’s and Wendy’s will pay per square foot. Gray said it is not something CBRE can help the city with without a signed contract.

At the end of this discussion, commissioners concluded it would be best to hold off on signing the contract and wait until the next City Commission meeting, Nov. 22, to act.

In other news, Douglas County presented its Climate Action Plan to the commission. The presentation included a comprehensive plan that incorporates climate change scenarios and identification of specific actions to reduce greenhouse gases and exposure to hazards. 

Kim Criner Ritchie, Douglas County’s sustainability and food systems analyst, encouraged Eudora residents to take a survey over how climate change has affected everyone’s daily lives. 

Aaron Gaspers of CFS Engineers also presented data collected from their citywide stormwater drainage study. The study analyzed existing storm systems and found significant erosion in the city.

Gaspers and CFS recommended an increased utility fee to accelerate the schedule for making public stormwater drainage improvements. The average utility fee in nearby cities is $60 per year. If Eudora were to raise the annual fee by 50%, it would still be under the average of the surrounding cities. 

The increase, Gasper’s presentation said, would provide an additional year’s worth of improvements every two years.

Matite said the city’s goal after hearing this should be to educate the public on stormwater drainage policy. City commissioners listened to CFS’s presentation and discussed the recommendations, but no further action was taken.

Reach reporter Tatum Goetting at eudoratimes@gmail.com.

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