Sales tax ordinance approved
Council considers broadcasting meetings
BY DALE HOGG
After the continuation of the quarter-cent Great Bend city sales tax was easily reapproved by voters Nov. 7, the council Monday night approved the ordinance that “will continue the tax for the purpose of financing the costs of constructing, reconstructing and maintaining public streets within the city effective on July 1, 2018, and sunsetting after 10 years.”
In the general election, there were 2,130 people who voted in favor of keeping the tax, or nearly 75 percent of the total voters. There were 724 no votes.
In 2008 the city approved a $5 million bond issue for street repairs. This was a huge step, but the streets were in dire condition.
So, to help pay for that, the quarter-cent tax was implemented and earmarked for street improvements. In 2016, the tax netted $920,000 and it is estimated to bring in $900,000 this year and next.
After first being approved by voters in 2008, it was set to expire in 10 years unless reapproved. It would have expired next July.
In others business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:
• Tabled a motion to not only provide a live stream of council meetings on the city’s Facebook page, but also broadcast it on the city public-access channel (channel 20 on Cox Cable). The matter was tabled so the council could have a chance to visit with Community Coordinator Christina Hayes about what is involved and how much effort it would take.
The change was not on the original agenda, but was added at the request of Councilman Brock McPherson and supported by Councilman Dana Dawson who see it as a chance to keep the public better informed. The meetings are already streamed on Facebook in real time.
• Heard a report on the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip 2017 season from SRCA President Hank Denning.
• Approved an abatement at 720 Morphy St., motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Quincy Stahl.
When someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, seconds count. That is why a divided Great Bend City Council Monday night approved buying the 10 automatic external defibrillators to be placed in city facilities.
The devices will be purchased from ZOLL Medical, Chelmsford, Mass., at a cost of $15,460.41. This was the most cost-effective plan, Fire Chief Luke McCormick said.
“It is hoped that they are never needed,” McCormick said. But, a victim’s chance of survival jumps from 5 to 24 percent if an AED is used by a trained bystander prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.
Currently the city has two ZOLL AEDs, one at the Event Center and one at the Wetlands Aquatic Park. The plan is to install nine additional AEDs at the Street Department, Police Department, police shooting range, Municipal Airport terminal, Brit Spaugh Zoo, cemetery, City Hall, Front Door and other city departments. There will also be one available at special events (Sports Complex, Party in the Park, at activities on the Court House Square, etc.).
McCormick said he was asked by Interim City Administrator George Kolb to study the need for the AEDs. The city received three separate proposals for installing the devices.
• Leasing 10 ZOLL AEDs and related equipment from Cintas. Cintas would provide all maintenance. At $79.01 per unit per month, the annual expense would be $9,481.20. However, this would total over $28,000 over the three years of the lease agreement.
• Purchasing 10 AEDs from Cintas at a cost of $1,728.75 each for a total of $17,287.50. The city would maintain them.
• Purchasing 10 ZOLL AEDs from ZOLL Medical at a costs of $1,562.30 each for a total of $15,460.41. The city would maintain them.
The advantage of the ZOLL units is that they are compatible and interchangeable with the AEDs already used by the city. They have a lifespan of at least five years, but if they are used, the battery may need to be replaced.
The funding would be absorbed from each department’s operation budget. The Fire Department will provide training on the devices, as well as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, to all city personnel.
But, some on the council questioned the purchase.
Councilmen Brock McPherson and Dana Dawson thought the matter ought to be tabled for further study or even until the new mayor and council members take office in January. In light of a mill levy increase and water rate hikes, they were leery of the cost to the city.
Dawson also thought the locations and number of units should be examined.
However, “if you have a heart attack, you need this as soon as possible,” Councilwoman Jolene Biggs said. Besides, the money for the AEDs is in the city budget.
“These are really needed in the community,” McCormick said. They would be secured to prevent vandalism.
McPherson and Dawson were unswayed. They were the only two of the seven council members present to vote for tabling the purchase until the next meeting.
A follow-up motion to delay for the newly elected officials also failed. Again, only McPherson and Dawson supported this.
The third motion to purchase right away passed 5-2 with McPherson and Dawson opposed.
What does an AED do?
An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart, according to the American Heart Association. The shock can potentially stop an irregular heart beat (arrhythmia) and allow a normal rhythm to resume following sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. If not treated within minutes, it quickly leads to death.
Most SCAs result from ventricular fibrillation, the rapid and unsynchronized heart rhythm that originates in the heart’s lower chambers (the ventricles). The heart must be “defibrillated” quickly, because a victim’s chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored.
The device analyzes and looks for shockable heart rhythms, advises the rescuer of the need for defibrillation, and delivers a shock if needed.
AEDs are an important lifesaving technology and have a role to play in treating workplace cardiac arrest, the U.S. Department of Labor notes. Most sudden cardiac deaths occur outside of the hospital.
It is estimated that 5 percent or less of victims of sudden cardiac deaths are successfully resuscitated and discharged alive from the hospital. In a study of public-access defibrillation, communities with volunteers trained in CPR and the use of AEDs had twice as many victims survive compared to communities with volunteers trained only in CPR.