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Changes made to CVB board
Board will now answer to city council
new deh city council employees pic
The annual Employee Service Awards were presented Monday night by Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison to employees who have served 10 years and 25 years with the city. Pictured with Allison are: 10-year employees Police Sgts. James Bacher and William Paden, police department Records Clerk Kelly Hapes and firefighter Tony Leeds; and 25-year employees Street Supervisor Michael Crawford, utility department customer service representative Annetta Goering, street department operator Jeffrey Riegel and Building Inspector Lee Schneider. Not pictured is firefighter Michael Reifschneider, who is a 10-year employee. Allison thanked all the employees for their service and dedication. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:

• Held a public hearing on the unsafe and dangerous structures at 1318 Kansas Ave. and 1324 Kansas Ave. Included on the agenda were two resolutions that would cause the structures to be razed and removed.

However, City Attorney Bob Suelter suggested the hearing be adjourned until the second meeting in February. The structure at 1318 Kansas Ave. is owned by Trent Mermis, and 1324 Kansas Ave. is owned by Norma Ward, and both parties are in talks to sell the properties to Jason Mayers and Justin Joiner who have plans to renovate them.

The council agreed and the matter was continued.

• Approved plans to make improvements to the concrete at the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association Drag Strip for 2015 and 2016. SRCA President Hank Denning provided an annual report on the activities at thestrip in 2015 and also some ideas for the upcoming season. 

• Adopted an ordinance rescinding and ordinance approved earlier that created a Rural Housing Incentive District for the 28 Washington apartment project, Partington said. The project never came to fruition so the RHID was not needed.

• Adopted a position classification resolution. No changes have been made to any salary numbers, just changes due to adding Convention and Vistors Bureau employees, renaming some zoo jobs, and cleanup of a few other job classifications, Partington said.

• Heard a report from Great Bend Municipal Airport Manger Martin Miller on the latest thoughts that the Federal Aviation Administration has on improvements to the main runway. Major work needs to be done to the 70-plus-year-old runway which is deteriorating rapidly.

• Discussed the possibility of making some changes to the front entrance to the Great Bend Events Center and other alterations to the current remodeling project that will accommodate the Convention and Visitors Bureau office. 

• Adopted an ordinance making the revision to the current franchise agreement with Zayo for attaching antenna structures to poles within out city right-of-ways. These are small cell phone antennas used as boosters for the large, tall towers and are needed in densely populated areas.

Zayo uses mostly 34- to 44-foot poles with a three-foot antenna at the top. The company currently has three or four of the poles and wants to add more and that required the new ordinance.

• Approved updates to the employee manual. Before retiring former Human Resource Director Terry Hoff made needed updates to the employee manual. Some of the biggest changes involve updates to the social media policy, the inclusion of e-cigarettes in the tobacco policy and additional anti-discrimination statements.

• Heard an economic development report from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters. 

 Bringing the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau under the city’s control has been discussed for a couple of years and was among the Great Bend City Council’s top three priorities outlined last year. It came to pass Monday night when amendments to the Convention and Tourism Board Ordinance were approved. 

Up until the change, the CVB Board was a separate entity. Now it will be an advisory board to the council and the staff will be city personnel.

The new as-yet unhired CVB director will answer to Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. There will also be an assistant CVB director hired.

The board will meet regularly to find ways bring more people into the community to spend nights in local motels, City Administrator Howard Partington said. 

The board will consist of six representatives from the hotel/motel and tourism sectors, one council member and three at-large members. They will be appointed by the mayor, approved by the council and serve two-year terms.

“I do see them as becoming more active,” Partington said. He senses a lot of excitement about the change.

Mayor Mike Allison stressed that the goal will now be to promote local events and activities.

The switch won’t take place immediately. The current ordinance sunsets at the end of this year and the change will be implemented starting Jan. 1.

Another step in this direction was taken earlier when the council voted to move the CVB office into the front of the Great Bend Events Center. That space is currently being remodeled to accommodate the relocation.