Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday night:
• Approved the consent agenda, including the approval of a cereal malt beverage (CMB) consumption permit for the Friendship House and approval of the Fiscal Sustainability Plan document for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
• During patron’s comments, a Hoisington woman expressed appreciation for the new cemetery sign and fencing.
• Received an insurance dividend check from Cassidy Smith from Alliance Insurance in the amount of $25,509.83. The dividend reflects the city’s good practices and low number of claims, Smith said.
• Approved a request for $10,000 from the Transient Guest Tax fund for the Rodeway Inn and Suites ownership group to be used exclusively for marketing and promotion of the hotel and the Hoisington community.
• Mayor Dalton Popp proclaimed May 20-26 as EMS Week.
• Approved the potential expenditure of up to $54,000 for the purchase of an EMS transfer vehicle currently available.
• Approved a Chamber of Commerce request for $1,200 from the Transient Guest Tax fund to be used to hire the band and promote the upcoming “Rock Into Summer” event that will take place June 9 at Bicentennial Park.
• Approved rescheduling the next regular meeting to Tuesday, May 29, 7 p.m., due to Memorial Day.
• City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reported progress on various city projects underway including a staffing update; discussion of summer hours, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting Monday, May 21; progress on the water treatment plant enhancements; progress at McKenna Meadows; and approval by the Barton County Commissioner of Fire District No. 2 and the appointment of its board.
• Approved the monthly appropriation ordinance, which included an expenditure of $5,000 for the initial payment for a delegation of seven business owners and the Chamber of Commerce director to take part in Destination Business Bootcamp with Jon Schallert, Oct. 2-4 in Longmont, Colo. Network Kansas, administrators of the “e-community” entrepreneurial program, will reimburse the expense in the next funding cycle.
• Entered into executive session for 15 minutes to discuss confidential matters concerning an employee’s performance. No action was taken.
• Entered into executive session for 10 minutes for the purpose of protecting attorney/client privilege as pertains to discussions prior to the acquisition of real estate with the governing body, city manager and city attorney. Upon returning to regular session, no action was taken.
HOISINGTON — The Hoisington City Council approved two requests for transient guest tax (TGT) grants Monday night totaling $11,200. Both requests put marketing and promotion as their driving reason for the requests.
A group of owners of the Rodeway Inn, including Dr. David McMillon, Paula Manwweiler, Keith Willborn and Jettie Zoller, signed the letter applying for the grant, noting that since the inception of the hotel, a total of $107,000 in transient guest tax dollars has been generated from the hotel. However, the hotel is experiencing a negative cash flow and the group hopes to turn that around through a more aggressive marketing plan. They need the cash to fund the campaign, which prompted them to turn to the city for help.
Council President Michael Aylward pointed out that without the hotel, the fund would hardly exist in the first place. City Manager Jonathan Mitchell noted the fund currently contains $54,500, and has been a great addition to the community. But, the ownership group is currently marketing the hotel for sale, Mitchell added. He suggested the council approve the money “up to” the amount, and the group could submit invoices in an as-they-go way.
This, Manweiler pointed out, would be cumbersome, and instead suggested the group open a dedicated account for the money. Should the hotel sell before the money was expended, it could pass with the hotel, with the express requirement it be spent only on marketing and promotional expenses, and the city could receive reports. The council was in agreement.
McMillon said the money would be used to create promotional materials including brochures, postcards and a new sign for the Duck Blind bar, as well as to consult with social media and internet marketing experts, develop a website, and pursue media and state periodical advertising in the Kansas Travel Guide and other state tourism publications.
He noted that in a preliminary internet search on sites such as Tripadvisor, Hoisington’s Rodeway Inn did not appear on any list. Since Rodeway Inn is under the Choice Hotel umbrella, a search for Hoisington on that website brought up a listing for the hotel, but even that, he said, was inadequate. They are looking into how to update that listing at this time, but more help is needed.
The second request came from the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce, asking for $1,200 to hire the band “Ronnie and the Rockets” and advertise and promote the upcoming “Rock into Summer” happening June 9 at Hoisington’s Bicentennial Park. This will be the second of what the Chamber intended to become an annual event. A corn hole tournament and community barbecue and beer garden will also be draws to the event.
The goal of the Chamber in hosting this and other community events is to increase foot traffic to local merchants and promote the local lodging establishments and the Hoisington RV Park to potential visitors, according to the letter of application.
Both requests were approved unanimously. This brings the number of TGT funds approved this year to $23,000. In January, the council approved $1,500 to Terry Nech to drill a well to ensure the kids fishing pond at the South Hoisington Nature Area maintains a consistent water level. In March, the council approved a $10,000 grant to the GPS Kids Club for needed repairs to the facility where Debbie Stephens organizes activities and provides after school and summer break care to many elementary school students in the community.
EMS week proclaimed; permission to pursue transit vehicle granted
With the council’s approval, Mayor Dalton Popp proclaimed May 20-26 EMS Week in Hoisington. EMS Week is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the work that emergency medical services provide communities.
“With the theme, EMS Strong: Stronger Together, I encourage the community to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities,” Popp said.
The highlight of EMS week will be the fourth annual Hoisington EMS Barn Open House, and EMS Director Scott Fleming gave a brief overview of what his staff have planned.
On Thursday, May 24, his department will host Chamber Coffee at the barn, and that evening, staff will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs for the enjoyment of the entire community. Law enforcement officers and firefighters will also be on hand for a meet and greet, and emergency responder vehicles will be open and available for people to explore. A radio remote is also planned. The open house will be from 5-7 p.m.
In related EMS news, Mitchell and Fleming shared an opportunity with council members. Recently, they became aware of a two-year-old Ford Transit high topper for sale from an EMT service in Oklahoma. The company is looking to sell the vehicle under market value for $54,000. It may be ideal for a transfer vehicle, Fleming said.
“It’s well priced as long as it is mechanically sound,” Mitchell said.
With 32,000 miles, it is still under warranty. The Oklahoma company had issues early on with the vehicle, and had the engine replaced without further issue, he added. The engine has only 3,000 miles. The vehicle will be more fuel efficient than the ambulance EMS currently uses for transports. In 2017, Hoisington made 80 transfers, averaging around 150 miles round trip.
Comparable vehicles they found while researching the offer sell for around $20,000 higher.
The council approved the request for both Mitchell and Fleming to travel to Oklahoma to further investigate the offer, and approved spending up to $54,000 to purchase the Ford Transit.
If they are successful in acquiring the vehicle, the older ambulance will be sold, the proceeds used to purchase a matching wrap for the Transit, as well as a grill guard, Fleming said.