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City: Golf carts will be back on the agenda
Library, Humane Society, and Senior Center seek budget increases
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A proposed ordinance that would have allowed people to drive golf carts on some city streets failed to pass at a recent Great Bend City Council, but only because three city council members and the mayor were absent at the May 20 meeting. 

When the full council met this week, Mayor Cody Schmidt suggested trying again.

“I would like to bring up the golf carts ordinance that was voted down last council meeting due to numbers. I feel like there was a four-to-one (vote), so in my opinion that has enough ground to run with. I’m going to request on the next agenda to bring that golf cart ordinance back to the table,” Schmidt said.

The ordinance needed at least five votes to pass.

City Attorney Allen Glendenning was asked if that could be done.

“Yes,” he said. The council decides the order of business. “It’s up to you guys.”

The current Standard Traffic Ordinances adopted by the city prohibit the use of golf carts, micro-utility trucks and work-site utility vehicles on city streets. However, by separate ordinance, the use of micro-utility trucks is authorized and regulated. Citizens have approached the administration requesting that the city allow golf carts as well. If an ordinance is adopted, people will need to get a city permit of some kind and they won’t be allowed to drive the carts on highways or major streets such as Broadway or McKinley St.

Library, Humane Society, Senior Center seek budget increases

The council members had a work session after the agenda meeting to discuss items related to the budget. Representatives from three agencies that have requested an increase in funds from the City next year were asked to speak.

The Golden Belt Humane Society is asking for a 5% increase and Great Bend Public Library is seeking an additional 7%. The Great Bend Senior Center also requested additional funding but did not specify a percentage.

Jim Welch from GBHS said the humane society handled 1,175 calls from Great Bend last year and 198 from elsewhere in the county.

GBLP Director Marybeth Shafer said the library has been in “survival mode” and would like to move ahead.

Brenda Lebbin from the Senior Center described the services they provide.

Each entity expresses an interest in providing employee pay increases.

City items

Councilwoman Jolene Biggs said the City plans to remain “revenue neutral” by not requesting additional tax dollars.

City Administrator Brandon Anderson had several items for the council to think about. The city could offer a 2% cost of living raise and a 2% merit raise. Discussion centered on how merit raises might be tied to employee evaluations. Anderson has also suggested longevity pay, vacation leave buy-back and sick leave buy-back options for City employees.

City Attorney Glendenning explained why attorney fees for Municipal Court should be increased from $50 to $100 an hour.

The council also discussed whether fees at the Wetlands Waterpark should increase next year. The City used $75,000 from reserves to cover pool expenses in 2020 and in 2025 expects to use $115,000 from reserves.