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Hoisington City Council approves bid for west side lift station project
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Once again, the Hoisington City County delved into city policy work Monday night at a regular meeting at the city offices.  The result - more city employees will now be able to take time off for vacations and sick-leave without the worry of a smaller paycheck upon their return.
The council approved a policy change concerning the hiring of seasonal, part-time staff and irregular part-time staff, such as EMS and police.  Prior to the decision, employees did not acquire leave time, but the prior policy suggested that they do.  The council discussed a proposal that would bring policy in line with practice.  
The revised policies will provide vacation and sick-leave time to part-time employees who have worked at least 10 shifts per month in the last six consecutive months.  The number of hours worked during the month are also taken into consideration for determining eligibility for sick leave.
Monday afternoon, bids for the west-side lift station project were opened and City Manager Jonathan Mitchell informed the council that the apparent low bidder is J.J. Westhoff, with a proposal to start construction on Nov. 1, with a bid of $329,400.  The station will improve the city’s sewage treatment.  The council approved the bid, contingent upon an engineer’s acceptance of the proposal.
Cecilia Conrad presented insights and information about the existing and proposed trees in the front lawn of the city offices.  Last meeting, the council discussed plans to remove two weeping mulberry trees on the corners of the  lawn, as well as another tree that has shown itself to be a bad fit esthetically and practically for the space.  Previously, it was suggested a London Plane tree be chosen, but at the Monday meeting, Conrad suggested an hybrid red oak instead.  It will be better suited because it will be less apt to litter the lawn with debris in storms.  It was also brought to the council’s attention that phone lines are buried under the weeping mulberries.  At the previous meeting, there was a question about the feasibility of having a local nursery spade and move the trees to a different location, but that possibility is now off the table. Dig Safe will need to be called to confirm where it will be okay to plant the new tree.  
In his City Manager’s update, Mitchell reminded the council that the Linsner family, owner of the lumber yard at 122 E. Railroad St. at the corner of Railroad and Broadway, have only two more weeks to complete or show considerable progress on mitigating the condition of their property before the city is forced to take action.  Already, Hoisington’s code enforcement officer has been instructed to get bids for demolition of the buildings should it come to that, which is likely as no significant progress has been noted since the city agreed to extend the deadline at the July 28 meeting.  In July, the Linsners claimed bad weather and harvest had interfered with their plans.   The council sent a condemnation notice to the owners in April of this year.  
Barton County Habitat for Humanity has decided to accept a gift from Chris West, owner of a vacant lot at the corner of Vine and 6th Street, and has expressed interest in finding another Hoisington lot for a second build in the future.  Progress is also being made in preparation of construction of duplexes by Housing Opportunities Inc.  

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
Mitchell updated the council on the planning commission’s proposed public hearing for changes to regulations concerning accessory buildings.
Approved Appropriation Ordinance 1393,

The council then requested an executive session for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel.  After the 10-minute session ended, they resumed regular session.  No formal action was taken, and the council then adjourned.
The council will meet again on Monday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. at the city office.