Changes in traffic ordinances for Kansas cities will introduce stiffer fines for passing a stopped school bus.

“This is a huge problem across the state and in our community,” said Hays Chief of Police Don Scheibler in comments to the Hays city commissioners during their work session Thursday evening. “We tend to have people drive around school buses with the stop sign extended.”

Scheibler briefed the commissioners on the 2018 changes to traffic ordinances by the Kansas Legislature for Kansas cities. He and city staff recommend the commissioners at their next regular meeting Aug. 9 adopt the new ordinances. They cover a variety of offenses, from littering and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, to passing a stationary trash truck.

Overtaking and passing a school bus is not a new ordinance, Scheibler said, but the change in the ordinance increases the fine.

“They’ve increased that fine,” he said. “It’s $375 for the first one, which is the same, but $750 for the next one, and $1,000 for the third. The unique thing about this, is that’s over a five-year period that you can get the increased fine.”

“Everybody is in such a hurry, we’re trying to get the kids to school, we’re trying to get to work,” Scheibler said. “As soon as we run somebody over it’s going to be a tragedy and we won’t be able to undo it.”

In other business, the commissioners heard the low bid to remove the failed concrete on 45th and 43rd streets west of Interstate 70. Low bid was Vogts Parga Construction L.L.C., Newton, with a bid of $876,324.12.

Both streets are adjacent to Wal-Mart and were paid for and put in by the retail store’s developer. Since then it’s been the city’s responsibility to bear the cost of the repairs.

Plans call to complete the 45th Street project before Thanksgiving, then start the 43rd Street repair after the holidays, with completion by July 1, said John Braun, project manager for the city. 

In other business at the work session:

• The Sunrise Rotary Club is asking the city commission to move up installation of an Ekey Park restroom from 2020. The club won a grant from the Heartland Communities Foundation. They want to contribute $10,000 to a $58,500 restroom project for the park, but the money they donate must be spent by October, said Jeff Boyle, director of parks for the city.

• Jesse Rohr, director of public works, briefed the commissioners on removal of an untagged vehicle and some trash and junk from the backyard of 303 W. 16th St. The city will wait to remove the trash, as the tenant of the property has said she may be getting clean up help from a church group.