Council meeting almost nixed
BY DALE HOGG
The Great Bend City Council meeting almost didn’t take place Monday night due to a lack of a quorum. But, one absent council member, Andrew Erb, was able to take part via a cell phone on in speaker phone mode.
Present were Brock McPherson, Cory Urban, Jolene Biggs and Jessica Milsap, but five council members are required to conduct business. Missing were Dan Heath (who was stuck in an airport), Dana Dawson and Erb.
It wasn’t until about 5 p.m. that Kendal Francis said he learned there would not be a quorum present. Not holding the meeting this week would cause problems because bills needed to be paid and action needed to be taken on the sale of bonds to pay for the recent Eighth Street expansion by a Monday deadline.
There was talk of postponing the meeting until Tuesday, but there were problems getting enough council members present. Then, they settled on the phone method.
Great Bend Mayor Joe Andrasek Monday night named Barry Bowers to fill the Second Ward City Council seat left vacant in May by the resignation of Chad Somers. Bowers has previously served on the council.
The action came under the consent agenda portion of the Monday council meeting.
The council approved Somers’ resignation June 5, He resigned on May 30.
Next, the process began to fill the vacancy. Somers’ term is up November 2020, so the city’s governing body selected a replacement to finish out the unexpired term.
Applications were sought through June 13 and after that, a council committee was named by Andrasek June 18 to interview applicants and make a recommendation to the entire governing body. That committee consisted of council members Jessica Milsap, Cory Urban and Jolene Biggs.
The other Second Ward council position is held by Biggs. She is up for reelection this November and, as of the Monday filing deadline, was the only candidate.
Generally speaking, Ward Two encompasses the northwest corner of Great Bend, from Washington Street west and Broadway Avenue north.
Bowers was a 1979 graduate of Great Bend High School and 1981 graduate of Barton Community College. That was also the year that he married his high school sweetheart, Monica.
For several years, he helped manage Bell Rentals, an equipment rental company before setting out on his own as an entrepreneur offering Perma-Glaze resurfacing for tubs and showers all over Central Kansas. In 2000, he became an accountant after graduating from Sterling College.
Bowers has worked independently for other CPA firms for several years before forming a partnership called Holste & Bowers in 2008 with local accountant David Holste.
The two then formed a new partnership called Spectrum CPA Partners in 2016 along with David Zink and Cynthia Lockwood.
Bowers started learning about leadership as a Boy Scout and Eagle Scout. He even served as Scout Master for two years, and helped on the Kansas Executive Council as well.
Over the years, Bowers has served in a variety of public capacities including being elected to the Great Bend City Council, serving on the Barton Community College Foundation Board, volunteering as a Chamber Ambassador, and he’s always been an active part of his church in many capacities.
Other past volunteer roles include serving on the Habitat for Humanity board as a director and also as president, United Way board of directors and campaign co-chairs, and as a Grand Marshall for the Home for the Holidays Christmas parade.
Currently, Barry is volunteering his time and his talents for more than a dozen local organizations. He is also an active member of the Golden Belt Woodcarver’s club.
He earned the 2018 Citizen of the Year award from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development. And, he and his wife Monica were 2019 United Way of Central Kansas campaign co-chairs and they were chairs of the Barton Community College Big Benefit Auction in 2013.
In a letter, Somers said he has accepted a position as the chief operations officer position with Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball Chtd., an accounting firm with a local office that handles the city’s annual audit. Corporate standards, he said, require he resign due to a potentially perceived conflict of interest.
A veteran Great Bend businessman, Somers claimed the City Council Second Ward seat after he defeated fellow Republican James Breitenbach last November.
A 13-year resident of Great Bend, Somers and his wife Shannon have three children, Ellyson, Ethan and Eli. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and co-owner of Golden Belt Cinema 6.
He is also the former co-owner of Benefit Management Inc., and has been active investing in local businesses, real estate, agriculture and oil production ventures.
Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance
Here’s a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:
• Mayor Joe Andrasek appointed Barry Bowers to the council’s second ward seat vacated by the resignation of Chad Somers.
• Approved several items for Party in the Park Aug. 10.
• Approved allowing a food truck during the Summer Street Stroll events. The request was made by the Great Bend Greater Than Great Steering Committee that wanted to add food trucks on the third Thursday of each month that coincides with the Summer Street Stroll. The action included having the Street Department block off parking spaces and the overnight parking space options at the corner of Main and Lakin to accommodate the food trailers on July 18, August 15, September 19 and October 17.
• Approved the Backup Emergency Communication facility lease renewal with the Federal Aviation Administration for the Great Bend Municipal Airport main hangar. In addition to remote communication roles, this facility is also utilized by FAA Facilities personnel for maintenance of numerous FAA land-leased equipment on land-leased areas of the operations area, Airport Manager Martin Miller said.
This amounts to about 840 square feet in the hangar and related fenced-in area. The lease will run through Sept. 30, 2038, for $3,085.08 per year with $257.09 paid monthly.
The Backup Emergency Communication System is an air-to-ground communication system having transmitters and/or receivers, and other ancillary equipment, which is usually remotely located.
These remote communications outlets are remote aviation band radio transceivers established to extend the communication capabilities of flight information centers and flight service stations. Pilots can find RCO frequencies in charts or publications and use it to make a radio call to the outlet as if the pilot were making the call directly to the FSS or FIC.
• Approved the sale of bonds for the Eighth Street expansion project.
At the May 20, meeting, the council approved an ordinance which gave notification to the property owners within the benefit district that unless such assessments are paid by June 21, 2019, bonds will be issued and the amount of special assessments will be certified to the Clerk of Barton County and will be collected in 10 annual installments, City Clerk/Finance Director Shawna Schafer said.
• Heard and economic development report from Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters.
• Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Kendal Francis.
• Approved abatements at: 2121 Monroe, accumulation of trash/refuse, owned by Rick Miller; 1428 Lakin, accumulation of trash/refuse, owned by Linda Vansteenburgh; 2418 Lakin, accumulation of trash/refuse, owned by Bruce and Christina Ball; 1213 4th, accumulation of trash/refuse, owned by Herbert Zuniga; 505 Morphy, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Erika Elliott; and 704 Odell, Accumulation of Trash/ Refuse, owned by Lloyd and Emelia Johnson.