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Swearing in, gas station regulations top council agenda

Councilman Greg Schneider is sworn in as the newest member of the Andover City Council



ANDOVER – Greg Schneider is now the newest member of the Andover City Council, following his swearing in at the group’s Monday night meeting. The longtime resident of the area won last Tuesday’s special election to fill the seat of former Councilman Phil White, who resigned earlier this year.

“I am glad to be here.” Schneider said during his remarks at the end of the meeting. “I don’t know much about city government, but I am certainly willing to learn.”

The seat has been one that has been subject to turnover during the last two years. In 2015, it was vacant due to the death of former Councilman Byron Stout, who passed away after a long illness. Mayor Ben Lawrence appointed Planning Commission Chairman Quinten Coon to fill Stout’s seat, but he would later resign due to a change in his job that forced relocation to Kansas City.

Area attorney Philip White was then appointed to the seat, but resigned after one year in office. The turnover in the seat was not something lost on other council members as they made their announcements at the end of the meeting.

“I hope you are still here in two months.” quipped Councilman Clark “C.R.” Nelson as he welcomed Schneider to the seat.

Gas Station Regulations In The Works

A city ordinance that would instruct gas stations to collect pre-payments from customers within the city of Andover has been sent back to the drawing board following lengthy discussion from the council Monday night. The move is being pushed by Andover Police Chief Michael Keller, who says that his department’s resources are being wasted on the investigations of those who drive off without paying for their fuel.

One of the biggest problems is that in some cases, there are very few clues outside a vague description of a vehicle.

“While most of the convenience stores in Andover require pre-payment, there is at least one that does not.” Keller told the council. “We have to make a report, follow up on these cases, and many times have nothing to show for it.”

Keller says that in most cases, simply requiring a customer to prepay for their fuel will completely eliminate the problem.

An original ordinance would have actually decriminalized drive-offs in the city of Andover, forcing the gas stations to make a report with the Butler County Sheriff’s Department, who would investigate it as a violation of state law. City Attorney J.T. Klaus discussed the matter, saying that in many cases, some corporate chains that do not require a pre-payment will avoid doing business in a city that does.

“Many times a chain wants the customer to gas up their car, and then come in and buy something in the store while they are there paying.” Klaus said.

While some council members are in full favor of the pre-payment requirement, Councilman Troy Tabor says that imposing such a restriction on convenience stores is akin to asking other businesses to take such drastic measures.

“You can go over to Atwood’s and they will have a number of products in the front of the store that would be pretty easy to just walk off with.” Tabor said. “A theft is a theft whether it is gas or a plant. Are we going to make these stores bring their merchandise in just because it is easy to steal?”

Mayor Ben Lawrence recommended to the council that they hold off on the ordinance until it is re-worked to reflect a requirement of pre-payment for fuel.

New Officer Sworn In

Police Chief Michael Keller presented a new officer to the council for installment.

Elizabeth “Annie” McCully is an Andover native and recently joined the department. She will begin training and orientation in October at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

McCully graduated from Andover High School in 1998. She continued her education at Butler Community College where she earned an associates degree in administration of justice, and Friends University where she received a bachelors degree in criminal justice.

Her husband’s name is Jeremy and together they have two sons, Nate and William.



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