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Ellinwood approves small cell tower ordinance
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Wayne Scritchfield of Kirkham Michael and Associates presents an award to Ellinwood Mayor Irlan Fullbright at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The company received the award for the U.S. 56 highway project submitted to the American Council of Engineering Companies for consideration under the category of cities with a population under 5,000. - photo by photo by Veronica Coons

ELLINWOOD — Picking up where it left off in December, the Ellinwood City Council on Tuesday reviewed and discussed a draft ordinance and resolution concerning applications for and installations of small cell tower facilities in the city.

The purpose of a small cell wireless facility is to provide coverage in areas where there are no broadband-level services, City Manager Chris Komarek said. New rules and regulations handed down from the Federal Communications Commission are not public-utility friendly, but it was determined in December that the city can control the aesthetics of an installation if rules are adopted by the city council. City Attorney Bob Peter informed the council time was short, as the resolution needed to be approved and published by Jan. 12. 

After some discussion, the council agreed it was prudent to pull the standards as presented into the city’s zoning ordinance. The council approved both the standards as presented and the draft ordinance. Council members then approved a resolution establishing fees for small cell tower facility applications and installations. 

ACEC award presented

In 2018, after completion of a major highway project spanning the city of Ellinwood from east to west along U.S. 56, engineering firm Kirkham Michael submitted the project under the category of city population under 5,000 to the annual American Council of Engineering Companies competition, and it won the annual award. Kirkham Michael representative Wayne Scritchfield was at the meeting Tuesday night and presented a plaque to the city in recognition. 

Scritchfield accepted the award at the city and county managers conference in Pittsburg at the end of 2018.

“We were very excited and proud of this project,” he said. Scritchfield read the narrative submitted for the project, and then presented Ellinwood Mayor Irlan Fullbright with a plaque and photos submitted. Komarek said working with Kirkham Michael’s staff and inspectors was pleasant, and he is proud of the finished product. 

“The overall improvements are impressive,” he said. “I appreciate all the work they did.”

Scritchfield said the company also submitted the project for another award to the Kansas Ready-mix Association, and won that one as well. They will have another plaque to present in the near future. 

“They felt it was a pretty good use of concrete on this project,” he said.  

EMS handles record 

number calls in 2018

During his staff report, Komarek shared that 2018 had been a busy year for Ellinwood EMS. They performed a record number of calls, a total of 412 compared to the average of 397 in years past. Of these, 141 were transfers, and of those 103 were out of the county, originating from Great Bend Regional or Clara Barton Hospital, and traveling to Salina, Hutchinson, Wichita and elsewhere. Many had starting destinations out of the county. 

“These are usually good paying transports,” Komarek said. “While the service is still a little in the red, there was significantly more revenue this year.” 

There was a total of 71 night calls, which happen between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Komarek also reported Police Chief Chance Bailey in the past six months had served papers on 68 junk vehicles in the city, 37 of which had been removed from town or were now housed in garages; 22 of the vehicles were made operable and four were summoned to court. This, he added, was done during a period during which the department was short-handed and Bailey was required to pull shifts in addition to his own workload. In the near future, the department will turn its attention to addressing junk in yards. 

Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Ellinwood city council meeting Tuesday night:

• Approved the consent agenda which included minutes from the December meeting. 

• Conducted a 15-minute executive session for the purpose of discussing possible litigation pertaining to dilapidated property subject to attorney/client privilege. 

• Reviewed the property at 518 E. 4th. Pending litigation concerning probate of the property requires the city take no action at this time. 

• Approved the annual audit-waiver of GAAP reporting. 

• Approved a cereal malt beverage license for Annie Mae’s LLC. 

• Approved standards for small cell tower applications and installations as presented. 

• Approved the ordinance concerning small cell tower facility applications and installations. 

• Approved a resolution establishing fees for small cell tower applications and installations. 

• Heard a staff report from City Manager Chris Komarek that included updates on several ongoing city projects including installation of new equipment at the power plant, upcoming street projects, and an annual report from the EMS department.