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Hoisington City Council gives thumbs up to liquor consumption in public buildings
Fees for auditorium rental going up
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The Hoisington City Council met Monday night and approved an ordinance allowing consumption of alcoholic liquor at the City Auditorium and Friendship House. Permits must be submitted to the Hoisington Chief of Police no less than 10 days prior to the event. Pictured left to right: Chris Smith, Jim Morris, Richard Rubio, Gary Shook, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell, Carrol Nather, Becky Steiner, Darren Reinert, and City Clerk Donita Crutcher. - photo by Veronica Coons

HOISINGTON — Monday night, city council members took a step towards making Hoisington’s City Auditorium and Friendship House more attractive venues for special events.

After receiving several positive comments following the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce annual banquet in January, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell asked the city council to consider how the city could capitalize further on the City Auditorium. Enhancements to make the City Auditorium a place more attractive to event organizers and caterers. The council also reconsidered its long-standing ordinance that limited alcoholic beverages to be consumed on site to cereal malt beverages. 

Community feedback indicated the public would have greater interest in renting the space for weddings and special events if a broader drink menu could be offered by a licensed caterers. After some discussion at the Feb. 13 meeting, Mitchell returned Monday night with a draft ordinance for the council’s consideration. It would allow consumption of alcoholic liquor inside the auditorium, and also the Friendship House as long as an application is submitted to and approved by the Chief of Police no less than 10 days prior to the event. 

“If the chief gets a request and feels its something we can’t accommodate, he can turn it down,” Mitchell added. Some discussion concerning requiring security at events ensued, but it was determined it would be better covered as part of a rental application. The ordinance was approved unanimously by voice vote. 

Updates to the city’s Annual Fee Schedule were presented, including the fees associated with rental and use of the City Auditorium. The cost for a resident to rent the auditorium is going up from $50 a day to $100 day, but Mitchell was quick to clarify that set up the night prior to an event hike a wedding or local party would not incur an additional day’s fee. 

 Other fees listed in the schedule included those for building permits, contractors licenses,business licenses,franchises, animal licenses, water and sewer service, ambulance service, pool rental, court fees, well permits, utilities,and many other miscellaneous categories were reviewed. According to Mitchell, care was taken to ensure the rates reflected value and kept the city competitive with other neighboring communities as much as possible. The council was in agreement with all but proposed fees for building permits, which it was agreed seemed low compared to other cities. For projects ranging in price from $0 to $1,000 the proposed fee was $20, and the fees increased in increments up to $200 for projects over $50,000. 

“We’re cheap, the question is where do you want to make that bottom line,” Mitchell said. “Ultimately our residents are going to be the ones paying it.” 

Darren Reinert, Ward 2, suggested $35 at the bottom end, then $75, $100 and $200. 

Mitchell suggested a new fee for a small market segment, the unsoftened bulk rural water user. Only those who use more than 100,000 gallons a month would be eligible for this rate of 25 percent less than what is billed to customers not in the city limits. Mitchell anticipates there may be two customers that would qualify, but one is already purchasing water through a contract with the city for less than the proposed amount.  

Council members approved the proposed fee and rate increases, with the adjustment to the building permits of $35, $75, $100 and $200. A copy of the annual fee schedule will be made available at the city offices at the Hoisington Municipal Building. 

Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday night:

• Approved Ord. No. 1538 Pertaining to Alcoholic Liquor on Public Property.. 

• Accepted the Annual Fee Resolution 07-2019, with adjustments to fees charged for building permits. .

• Approved Bids for Two Public Works Trucks. The trucks will be purchased through a state contract, and will include two 4WD Dodge Ram 1500s with tow packages at a cost of $19,732.72 each, to be delivered within three months.  

• Approved a bid from R.E. Pedrotti for $108,500 for the Water Plant PLC. The PLC was likened to “the brain” of the water plant. 

• Approved extension of the property tax abatement the city agreed to provide a group of local investors interested in building the Rodeway Inn years ago, providing the city with a full service hotel. The council agreed to lock in the current 60 percent property tax abatement for the next five years, allowing them to aggressively market the property. 

•Heard the City Manager’s report that included updates on the wastewater lagoon project, Scentral Bark, Barton County Fire District No. 2, the driving range, ball park enhancements, the water bottle filling station improvements, time clocks, the new CMB ordinance, tours of the water treatment plant and a proposal from some community partners regarding a new disc golf course. 

• A 10 minute executive session to include city council members and the City Attorney was requested in order to review an individual personnel under the provision for discussion of confidential matters related to non-elected personnel. Upon return to regular session, no action was taken.