Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
* Presentation of an insurance dividend from Cassidy Smith with Alliance Insurance.
* Approval of a motion to give notice of termination of the contract with Aramark for uniform service to the city, and the intention to seek proposals from Aramark and other uniform service companies prior to December, 2016.
* Approval of Appropriation ordinance No. 1401
* Mitchell gave his report, which included an update that there is an interested party who is getting estimates to have work done on The Office, and that Housing Opportunities Inc. is looking into ways to remedy a problem with entering and exiting the driveway of its Fourth and Maple property under construction.
* The life guarding class the city had hoped to host this year will not occur.
* Bids for the highway project will begin being let in June, with the week after Labor Day set as the early start date, with completion expected the week of Thanksgiving.
* Authorized a $3,000 transfer from sewer utility fund to sewer replacement fund, allowing the city to undo an encumbrance from 2014 made to the sewer lift station project.
Success breeds success, its been said, and the City of Hoisington is hoping to continue proving the statement true. Over the past year, efforts to clean up refuse, tear down blighted properties, paint and correct deferred maintenance have worked. But at the same time, it has come to the city’s attention that for some residents, that clean up comes at a cost that is beyond their resources. At Monday night’s City Council meeting, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell suggested a program implemented in other Kansas towns, that could make it easier for some of Hoisington’s less-affluent residents to shoulder the costs of remedying deferred maintenance.
In Hutchinson, he said, the city provides cost-sharing opportunities for home owners who occupy their homes on a first-come first-served basis, with priority given to those who have already received citations for ordinance violations.
Mitchell suggested a fund be created to assist qualified residents with the costs of trash removal, tree removal, and other needed maintenance projects. While members of the council agreed there is a need to help some residents, what they couldn’t agree on was how to provide that help.
Council member Brian Wilborn pointed out many of the properties that need help also happen to be rental properties, and he and others on the council frowned on the idea of providing assistance to owners who would profit from the expenditure. Mayor Clayton Williamson also stated that there are owners who would refuse to paint their properties for fear of their property taxes increasing.
That prompted a discussion on how vigilant the city wished to be about ordinance violations. Finally, the council agreed it would prefer the city to continue to cite violators, but gave Mitchell the nod to support his idea with more information at a future meeting.
Cow Creek watershed update
Mitchell and council members on the Cow Creek task force shared with the rest of the council how developments with the federal remapping of Cow Creek floodplain have progressed so far. Surveyors are seeking direction from the task force concerning the type of designation preferred for the area referred to as “Southtown,” located just south of the city limits between Blood Creek and Shop Creek.
There are two possibilities, Mitchell explained.
AE would define a floodway within that area. The benefit would be that all properties around it can be built without having to have an engineering study done, but property within the area could not be built upon.
AH would not define the floodway, so anyone could build upon it if they did an engineering study and followed the recommendations.
While the State of Kansas prefers a designation of AE, those on the task force have requested more information concerning exactly what portion of the area is in question.
“We don’t want to limit someone’s ability to move ahead with future plans,” Mitchell said. “If it’s sparsely populated ag land, it should be no problem, but we just don’t know exactly what it is yet.”
Annexed property rezoning requested
Revisiting the city’s annexation of a piece of commercial land on US 281 at the most recent April meeting, a date has been set for Tuesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building to consider a zoning change. The city requires any property annexed to be zoned R-1, the most restrictive. Then, it is up to the property owner to ask the city to consider rezoning it if necessary, Mitchell explained.
As an informative side note, he attended a meeting between the company interested in the property and the USD 431 administration last week. The purpose of the meeting, he said, was so the company interested in acquiring the property could impress upon the school district its intention to support the athletics and activities of the district should it move forward with its desired expansion.
“It was an exciting meeting to be part of,” Mitchell said. “I’m not used to seeing that level of generosity.”
The company would supply coolers filled with 170 bottles of water and ice to sports teams for all away games, and for home games, would supply water for concessions, as well as gift two roller-grills for the concession stands, valued at $2,500 each. They would also supply hotdogs for home games. Each year, the company provides a $1,000 scholarship to a senior student employee, and the corporation provides many thousands of dollars in grant money for teacher projects each year.
EMS open house announced
EMS Director Scott Fleming gave details about an upcoming EMS open house scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 19. That evening, at the shed at 202 E. Broadway, residents of Hoisington will have the opportunity to meet their community EMS providers, firefighters and police. They can receive free baseline vitals, and take a hands-on tour of the ambulances, fire trucks and police cars owned by the city. Clara Barton Hospital and more than one life-flight service will be cooperating. He also hinted that a special event will also take place, one which he strongly encouraged attendees to bring a cancer survivor to.
Free hamburgers and hotdogs, chips, baked beans and drinks will also be served.
The next meeting of the Hoisington City Council will be on Monday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal building.