Hoping to be better armed with information, the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved a policy governing council work sessions, setting them to follow regular meetings on an as-needed basis when there are complex issues to be addressed prior to the following meeting.
These sessions will happen once a month or on an as needed basis following the regular meeting. Staff would not be required to attend unless they had information helpful to the discussions.
They will not be recorded, but are open, public meetings.
At the May 20 meeting, City Administrator Kendal Francis and Councilwoman Jolene Biggs requested to add study work sessions for council members either before or after a council meeting, and many format options were mentioned. They suggested having the meetings before so there was an definite end time to the session.
“We had some pretty good discussion about this,” Francis said. Most members thought these sessions would be very beneficial and had requested Francis to bring a formal action item to the June 3 meeting. Most supporters of the idea preferred to have them afterwards.
Councilman Brock McPherson, who stated his opposition at the last meeting, said he still opposed the idea. “It puts the council in the position to violate the (Kansas) Open Meetings Act,” he said.
The public knows about regular meetings, but might not stick around or know about these. “I feel the public may think we are tying to pull something over on them and we’re not.”
But, Councilman Cory Urban supported the sessions. “It is a time to collaborate and get more information on a topic.”
It passed with McPherson casting the lone no vote.
The policy states in part:
A work session is an informal public meeting at which no minutes of the meeting are taken, and no binding action may occur. The City of Great Bend will utilize them as an opportunity for the members of the governing body to introduce issues or concerns upon which further information or action may be desired, to discuss issues of the city at length, and to review information provided by staff.
Work sessions are subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act and thus, are open to the public, but shall not be broadcast or recorded.
The city administrator, with input from the mayor, will create an agenda.
• Council members may request the Mayor include items on the agenda.
• The agenda will list the items to be discussed.
• Additional items may be discussed under “other.”
• Executive sessions do not take place at workshop meetings. Matters which are more appropriately discussed in executive session, in conformance with K0MA, will not be included.
Work sessions will be held following the regularly scheduled second meeting of the month.
• The work session will convene 10 minutes following the conclusion of the regularly scheduled meeting.
• Work sessions are not required by state law and occur at the discretion of the governing body. Generally, they will be announced at the first Council meeting of the month, should one be needed.
• The date and time of a workshop may be changed or additional workshops may be scheduled. Such modified times and places shall be reasonable so as to encourage attendance by interested residents of the City.
• The public is welcome to attend work sessions.
The Mayor may recognize or ask for citizen input after an agenda item is presented to or discussed by the governing body, if the mayor deems it would assist the progression of discussion and education of the governing body.
• If a citizen is recognized by the Mayor, the citizen should state their name and limit comments to three minutes. The same rules of conduct applicable to regular City Council meetings apply to workshop meetings.
Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance:
Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:
• Tabled action on a revised contract with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce for economic development services after much discussion and presentations by chamber Board Chairwoman AJ Chrest.
• Approved a policy governing council work sessions, setting them following regular meetings on an as-needed basis when there are complex issues to be addressed prior to the following meeting.
• Approved the resignation of Councilman Chad Somers.
• Heard comments from residents of the Stone Ridge neighborhood seeking the city to conduct a water study in that area in regards to basement flooding. The city will look into ways to improve drainage in the area.
• Approved a cost-share agreement with Barton County for work on Railroad Avenue.
• Heard 2020 budget requests from outside agencies, including:
1. Great Bend Municipal Band - $2,500
2. Golden Belt Humane Society - $93,713
3. Sunflower Diversified services recycling program - $18,000
4. Great Bend Senior Center - $232,089
5. Barton County Fair - $10,000
6. Barton County Historical Society - $12,500
7. RSVP of Central Kansas $2,000
8. Tree Board - $4,000
9. Great Bend Public Library - $690,000
• Heard and economic development report from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters.
• Approved abatements at: 1915 8th, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Jason Bitter; 1701 Hubbard, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Thomas Pearson; 306 Hickory, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Federico and Brigida Vargas; 1907 Baker, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Gabino Favela; 1117 Morton, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by James Hanks; 1420 Park, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Timothy and Tina Strickland; 1415 Park, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Heyday Sueno Properties LLC.; 1427 21st, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Richard Ogle; 1407 12th, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Ruth Joiner; 1435 21st, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Bertha Bordier; 2213 Washington, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Orvil Stevens Trust; 1722 Broadway, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Brenna Stueder; 1202 Morton, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Troy Shcroeder Trust; 412 Locust, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Jesus Carrasco; 1110 Hubbard, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Moses Properties LLC.; 1409 Heizer, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Martin and Iris House Trust; and 1402 Park, Motor Vehicle Nuisance, owned by Stacy Farris.