Code enforcement officer’s first year a busy one
City of Great Bend Code Enforcement Officer Stuart Baker has been busy in 2015. He offered a summery of activities during the City Council meeting Monday night.
The list included:
• 16 Total number of demolitions completed by property owners after receiving complaint and notice letters.
• Two total number of demolitions completed by the city.
• Seven total number of demolitions he is working with the property owner on doing.
• 15 Total properties undergoing repair after complaint and notice letters.
• 11 Total number of city code or zoning violations closed out.
• One city code or zoning violation currently being worked on.
• Four demolitions the city may have to do. Some of the cases may involve legal action, Baker said.
• One property has been sold. (1318 and 1324 Kansas).
• Made the conversion to a new code enforcement software for tracking cases
When asked about his goals for next year, Baker said he wants to surpass last year. He also plans to coordinate with Assistant Sanitarian Tom Holmes on resolving problem properties and work with Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider on cases where there is a community health risk.
The newly restructured Great Bend Convention and Visitors’ Bureau board will hold its first meeting at noon Friday in the Great Bend Events Center, it was announced at the City Council meeting Monday night.
The CVB now falls under the city’s jurisdiction and the staff will answer to Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. The CVB transition is moving along and they are prepping for the first board meeting of the new year, Hayes said.
They are also working to get a head start on informational bags for some bigger groups coming to town for the year, Hayes said.
City staff was surprised to find the CVB office receives only one or two calls per day and walk in traffic is almost nonexistent, City Administrator Howard Partington said. “We hope to increase contact in major ways for the future.”
That is one of the goals of making the change to the organization, as well as moving its office into the Events Center. Remodeling the office to accommodate the CVB is now underway.
In addition, the number two person that worked for the CVB, Jenna Applebee, resigned and a temporary employee, Alberta Douglas, was hired to man the office. The city is looking to hire a director and another employee.
Partington said officials were also surprised to find that almost no paper files existed at the CVB office. He also expects other surprises and they are currently conducting an analysis of the operations.
Bureau board members include Alicia Madsen, Lacey Bryan, Jan Westfall, Councilwoman Allene Owen, Kishori Patel, Shawna Farley, Mark Mingenback, Loren Unruh, Kim Vink, Sonya Patel, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters and Mayor Mike Allison.
The CVB came up in Partington’s departmental update. Other highlights included:
• The Department is working with other city employees and local businesses toward improving the physical safety and security of the Police Department Building.
• The Department is currently arranging tryouts for the Special Services Team, as part of our ongoing efforts to make this unit even better and more prepared to handle dangerous tactical situation.
• Repaired levee fence in several areas
• Bladed alleys and streets.
• Installed solar powered red flashing beacons at 24th and K-96 and Patton Road.
• Sanitarian: 16 year to date complaints, 16 new complaints (nine by citizens and seven by staff), 16 complaints completed by citizens, four abatement notices sent and 10 vehicles were brought into compliance.
• The Icy Sidewalk Sale was this past Saturday. Hayes said it overall was a positive experience for the businesses taking part.
• The Miss Barton County and Miss Golden Belt pageant was Saturday, Jan. 16, nine women competed and 15 youngsters ages 5-12 participated in the Princess portion of the pageant. There were over 200 attendees to the pageant and Hannah Mauler from Great Bend was named Miss Barton County while Sarah Gustin from Hays was named Miss Golden Belt. Both girls will be making public appearances in Great Bend and raising funds to attend the Miss Kansas Pageant in June.
• Hayes met with the June Jaunt Communities last week, all communities are on board for the fifth year and this year’s theme is “All American Weekend in Central Western Kansas.”
This marks the fifth of a five-year commitment the communities along K-96 made to the June Jaunt, Hayes said. “I think things are looking positive.”
But, what happens next year is unclear, she said. Great Bend and Ellinwood which anchor the route on the east and Leoti and Tribune which anchor the west end are all in, but the middle cities are not all that enthused.
Hayes said they have created a brand with the June Jaunt concept and supporters want to make sure that continues.
• Partington attended an Economic Lifelines Meeting in Topeka last Thursday where the topic was transportation issues for the state. Among the topics was how state officials continually take money out of the Kansas Department of Transportation funds to plug holes in the state budget, siphoning money away from important infrastructure projects.