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Hoisington City Council names pool advisory committee
Grants will be sought to advance bike share program
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The Hoisington City Council met Monday and announced the five community members that will serve on the city’s pool advisory committee. From left to right, council members are Chris Smith, Jim Morris, Robert Rubio, Gary Shook, Mayor Dalton Popp, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell, Carol Nather, Becky Steiner, and Darren Reinert. Travis Sinn was not present.

HOISINGTON — Monday night, the Hoisington City Council considered appointees to the city’s new pool advisory committee, which was formed to advance the city to a decision that will decide the fate of the city’s current public pool, and whether or not building a new pool is the best course of action to take.  

By the end of the Thursday, Feb. 20, deadline the city had received 14 applications from Hoisington residents interested in serving on the committee. In January the council had agreed to publish an announcement that applications were being sought, and agreed on what type of representation they were seeking. At least one of the five to be appointed would be a student, and then the Hoisington Recreation Commission would select two and the city would select two at large representatives. 

From the three student applicants, Heaven Hipp was picked. Kevin Burke and Debbie Reif were chosen to serve as at large members, and Chris Kinman and Jessica Baze are the representatives chosen by the Hoisington Recreation Commission to represent the school district. The council had no objections, and approved the entire slate. 

The first job of the committee will be to review the city’s draft request for proposal (RFP) before it is sent out to pool consultants and pool companies. 

The council turned its attention to a proposed transfer from the City’s capital improvement fund. The fund was developed to create a means to plan for significant long-term projects and expenditures critical to the city’s development and operations, Mitchell explained. 

“With Donita Crutcher’s retirement, one thing we’ve been really trying to do is go through our budgeted funds to make sure everything is in order,” he said. “We found that while funds have been transferred into CIP on a monthly basis, the reason for these transfers wasn’t as well documented as we had hoped.” 

The amount of “not earmarked” funds in question totals $482,000. 

Administration met with each department involved, identified the projects that they prioritized and have each been working on for a number of years. Together, they have identified the most substantial and most significant projects to put those funds towards. 

For city hall, funds will be earmarked to replace the roof, which is halfway into its 20 year warranty. $100,000 will be set aside, and the city will continue to save for that purpose. Fencing in the city’s wells and putting in a building next to the south lift station to store sewer equipment and sewer mower, and a white vinyl barrier for beautification at the cemetery are additional projects for the city. 

Additional projects were identified for the electrical distribution department and the power plant, totalling a little over $112,400. 

In order to have adequate funding for a pool consultant and design company, in addition to the $50,000 the city has already earmarked, they will set back an additional $75,000. 

“Any other funding that we have in the CIP fund that is not earmarked for a specific purpose we will propose to split, with half of that going towards the pool project and half towards the community endowment fund,” Mitchell said. 

This will allow for the city to start with a clean slate going forward, he added. Additional monthly transfers that are talked about during the budgeting process will be tracked by the new deputy clerk. 

During the city manager report, Mitchell updated the council on the status of the proposed bike share program, which will provide residents another option for outdoor activity. The city recently delivered packets of information to the board of directors at the Rodeway Inn motel and the Hoisington Public Library, potential partners in the project. Mitchell will meet with board members of the hotel in March to go over the details.

The city has been encouraged to pursue funding through the Golden Belt Community Foundation and Midwest Energy which provides community building grants. 

“We’ve priced bikes and we think that if we are able to get these other grants, we can triple the money that we have invested in the program already,” he said. Deadlines for the grants are at the end of March. 

Mitchell reached out to Great Bend Bike Shop, he said, and said the owners are open to working with the city on pricing in order to keep business in Barton county, he added. 

People will be able to check out bikes at the two partnering locations if the city’s efforts are successful. In addition to conventional bikes, the city also hopes to offer riders a chance to try out a tandem bike and perhaps a few other bicycling options. Other communities have indicated interest in the program, Mitchell said.

“If it goes great in Hoisington, they may do it elsewhere in Barton County,” he said.