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Great Bend City Council quick reads
water meters
This is a picture of what a water meter looks like after the installation of the automated meter reading system.

City administrator search ramping up

Representatives with the headhunting firm Strategic Government Resources of Keller, Texas, were in Great Bend last week and completed their interviews of City Council members as they begin their search for a new city administrator, Interim City Administrator Logan Burns said, speaking to the council Monday night.

With this information on what the council is looking for in a new administrator, the company is hoping to post opening by the end of the week, he said. Strategic Government Resources was hired in December to handle the search for an administrator at a cost of $8,500, not to exceed $24,009. 

Earlier this month, the council picked Burns as the interim administrator to fill in as the search to replace Kendal Francis continues. Francis announced in early December he was leaving Great Bend to accept the city manager’s job in Hutchinson.

Council to address QOL projects

Progress continues on a host of quality of life projects for the city, Great Bend Interim City Administrator Logan Burns said, addressing the City Council Monday night. Key among these is the development of the south end of Brit Spaugh Park, a joint effort with the Great Bend Recreation Commission.

“I’ve contacted (GBRC Executive Director) Kris Umphries,” he said. Now, he said the council will hold a work session on for Feb. 21. 

“We’ll go over the Brit Spaugh project and then also every other project we’ve got slated for this year,” he said.

The Brit Spaugh project could involve outdoor basketball and pickleball courts, a playground, soccer field and restrooms.

Among the projects they are looking at completing will be the new lighting for the Veterans Memorial Park walking trail, a splash pad with the location yet to be determined, skate park repairs, dog park improvements (perhaps making separate areas for large and small dogs) and additional Christmas lights.

Last spring, a 13-member City of Great Bend Quality of Life Committee was formed. The purpose of the group which met for about six months was to look at how to best spend funds generated by the .15% sales tax.

Then, last May, the group released a public survey. The purpose is to seek some feedback from citizens of all ages. 

The plan outlines the projects for the next decade, but a handful where pulled out to be addressed this year.

Storm water assessment wrapping up

The storm water assessment being conducted by Surveying and Mapping LLC. of Great Bend should wrap up by next week, Great Bend Interim City Administrator Logan Burns said in his report to the City Council Monday night. 

“Currently, we’re sitting at 968 total structures out of 1,500 being geo-located and assessed,” he said. Next phase will just consist of reviewing the information and then completing the televising the lines that need it. 

The existing system includes approximately 200,000 linear feet of 12-48-inch storm sewer with approximately 1,500 structures. Conducting a citywide storm water assessment and mapping will provide a foundation for investigation in further phases like basin analysis and developing policies, city officials said. 

Geographic information services (GIS)-based data inventory helps with monitoring existing storm water practices along with identifying potential locations for implementing new best management practices. 

The city tapped COVID American Recovery Plan Act funds to cover the $89,300 cost.


Auto water meter system  work continues

The crew from Zenner USA of Banning, Calif., will be back next week to continue the installation of the Great Bend’s automated water meter reading system, Interim City Administrator Logan Burns told the City Council Monday night.

“They currently have 500 structures left in cycle three,” he said. The city is divided into four “cycles” when it comes to billing for the city-owned water system. 

“And then we’ll move to cycle four,” he said, noting this is the final phase. This is the largest and covers Main Street to McKinley and then between Broadway to 32nd.  

With this system, water use for the city’s roughly 6,500 users is beamed directly to the Water Office at the Front Door Facility. Usage can be read and tracked in real time.

The cost of the system and related infrastructure came in at about $2.4 million, plus some annual maintenance expenses. The city applied for and received a loan through the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund to cover the expense.

This is seen as a way to improve accuracy in tracking consumer water use and save the city money.  By alleviating the city’s long-running water meter reading woes, it is expected to pay for itself in five to 10 years.

south brit spaugh
Shown is the south end of Brit Spaugh Park, an area targeted for quality of life improvements by the City of Great Bend and the Great Bend Recreation Commission.