Here’s a quick look at what happened Monday night at the Hoisington City Council meeting:
• Approved the consent agenda which included minutes from the Feb. 26 meeting.
• Heard a request for Transient Guest Tax Request From GPS Kids Club. The council approved giving $10,000 for repairs to the boiler system at their facility.
• Discussed a approved signing of CDBG Grant Documents for the Wastewater Treatment Project.
• Considered bids for improvements to the back portion of the city offices. Approved a bid from Crawford’s Cabinets for $7,250.
• Discussed bath house improvements at the city pool. Two bids, one for $12,000 to repair a sewer issue and replace concrete flooring , and one for $23,000 to update plumbing, were approved.
• Discussed and approved signing of documents for drug testing drivers and employees of the city’s trolley service.
• Heard the City Manager’s report, which included: updates on the formation of Barton County Fire District No. 2, opportunities available through the city’s E-community loan program, the replatting of McKenna Meadows to include two new lots, changes from the state that impact utility on newly annexed real estate, berm options at the police shooting range, pole art, cemetery improvements, and appointment of a Deputy Coroner for the northwest corner of Barton County.
• An executive session was held to discuss the performance of a non-elected employee. No action was taken.
HOISINGTON — Kids and parents involved with Hoisington’s GPS Kids Club showed up in force Monday night to lend support to a request from Debbie Stephens’ and her team in their request for $40,000 in Transient Guest Tax dollars to assist with replacement of the heating system at their building. Tourism, conventions, commerce and economic development are the four areas funds from the TGT fund are allowed to be spent, according to city ordinance. Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell said. Stephens made that GPS Kids Club work providing child care for the community helps to drive economic growth, and parents and kid shared their experiences and answer council questions.
In December, over winter break, the boiler of the facility broke down, and Stephens learned it would cost $60,000 to replace it. Since then, the GPS Kids Club board has been writing grants and organizing fundraisers to raise money to replace the system.
“Whatever you can do to help us would be amazing,” she said, noting she was aware the entire $40,000 would deplete the TGT fund. Other fundraising efforts include: $1,000 from the sale of enchiladas, $1,100 raised in private donations, and two grants pending, one for $6,500 from the Golden Belt Community Foundation and $25,000 from the Damon Family Foundation. A Kansas City Royals ticket raffle is also in progress, and Stephens said efforts will continue until all the funding is raised, with a target of having fundraising completed in time to install the new system before winter, 2018.
The new high-efficiency on-demand boiler system will include seven to eight smaller units, replacing the one massive boiler the system now uses. The higher efficiency is expected to provide a 35-40 percent savings on heating costs during the winter. Prior to the boiler going out, the average monthly cost of heating the building was $1,600 a month, Stephens said.
Air conditioning is already a work in progress, Stephens said. Before the old Lincoln elementary school was demolished, USD 431 donated the air conditioning units there, and several have already been installed.
In seeking to be placed on the agenda, Stephens’ written request included a detailed account of the impact GPS Kids Club has on the community, as well as letters of support from USD 431, Clara Barton Hospital, and Mary Rossman, a first-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School. In addition, Mitchell read a letter of support from Councilman Jim Morris who was unable to be at the meeting.
Council members heard from kids who described many of the activities available to them at GPS Kids Club, including crafts, movies, Legos, dress-up stations, Barbies,
“It’s really fun to play there,” one child said. “Everything in the universe is there.”
Mitchell noted historically the largest disbursement on record from the TGT fund was $8,000. In a year’s time, the fund brings in between $14,000 and $16,000, but, some anticipated changes to the city’s lodging institutions in the coming year may impact that, he added. Travis Sinn made a motion to approve $10,000 to GPS Kids Club, and Michael Aylward seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved by the rest of the council. This was greeted by clapping and a chorus of thank-you’s from the children.
For the past two years, Mitchell said, the council as set aside funds for repairs to the bath house at the Hoisington City Pool. Last year, minor improvements were made including painting to the guard house. Earlier this month, Mitchell met with contractors and city employees at the facility to get an idea of what more could be done to modernize.
“As we were determining what direction the plumbing went, we made a startling discovery,” he said.
What they found was a manhole cover on the southeast side of the bath house. Under the cover, they found an unusual gravity-flow sewage pit into which waste from the bath house dumped.
“It was certainly not up to any sort of code or standard that I have ever seen, and the contractors were just as astounded, because it appears it was designed to function that way.”
Mitchell described how the raw sewage dumps into the pit from inside the building. “As the raw sewage rises to the top of the pipe, it goes (into a hole in the sewer pipe). It all gravity flows,” he said. After further discussion, the council agreed that this was in issue that required immediate attention. Mitchell presented a $12,000 bid from Scott Christianson to remove concrete flooring and relocate the cold water lines encased within, replace the sewer line, and tie it into the main sewer line. The council approved the bid.
Wednesday morning, Mitchell told the Tribune that after further consultation with contractors, a temporary fix for the problem was determined, and workers are moving forward with vacuuming out the pit. Then, a boot fitting will be installed between the discharge pipe to the sewer. This, he said, is a workable, temporary fix as the city seeks bids during the summer in order to plan for a permanent fix after the pool season is complete.
That and other anticipated improvements to the facility will come to between $70,000 and $79,000, and will include new plumbing, ADA approved plumbing fixtures and stalls, new floors and wall covering in patron areas, new exterior finish and new windows. The amount the council has already set aside is nearly enough to cover the project, Mitchell added.
The existing bath house was built in 1962. Council members briefly considered the possibility of building new, but with the minimum estimated cost around $300,000 according to Mitchell, that line of discussion soon quieted.
“Contractors say the bones are great, and the structure is great--except for the roof,” Mitchell said. That, he added, can be taken up at a later date. “I feel very confident you aren’t going to find a building anywhere nearly comparable to it for $80,000.”
As work on the sewer issue will involve some plumbing, the council also approved a bid from a Hoisington contractor or $23,000, provided some adjustments in the order of work can be made.
Following unfinished and new business and the City Manager’s report, the council requested a five-minute executive session under the exception for confidential matters related to non-elected personnel, for the discussion of an individual employee’s performance. The council and the City Attorney were invited to remain. When the council reconvened in regular session, no action was taken. The meeting was then adjourned.