HOISINGTON — The Hoisington City Council addressed one of the top staffing priorities for the coming year when it met Monday night. At the June 25 meeting, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell revealed that the council selected updating the personnel manual to address significant changes as one of its most pressing needs. Mitchell consulted with the League of Kansas Municipalities about steps necessary to review and revise the document, which he shared with the council.
The city’s personnel manual was last revised in 2010, according to Hoisington City Clerk Donita Crutcher. Mitchell advised starting the conversation now, rather than later, in order for the council and the League to consult about current policies the city may or may not enforce, and provide recommendations for what updates may be needed in addition to those already identified.
The new policy manual could be ready to adopt early in 2019. The cost of the overhaul will be $3,500.
Recent changes the city has approved that will be addressed include but aren’t limited to the severing of ties with a union, the new statewide law allowing conceal and carry of a firearms, and the city’s own residency requirements. The council approved moving forward with the process and spending the $3,500 the League requested.
City Manager’s report
Mitchell provided an update on city projects during his City Manager’s Report. The newly formed fire district continues to move forward in determining a budget to be submitted in fall. While they are waiting on insurance quotes, it has been determined the district’s mill levy will fall between 3.6 to 3.8 mills. The district has opted to hire a bookkeeper rather than find a treasurer amongst the board members. Plans are also being made to start a capital improvement fund where a portion of the budget will be set aside for equipment upgrades in the future.
Mitchell noted that Hoisington will transfer around $275,000 to the fire district at the end of the year, in addition to the fire trucks and fire fighting equipment.
The long overdue water softening system has finally been completed and will be brought online by the end of the month, barring any unforeseen delays, Mitchell said. Unfortunately, the project has been fraught with delays. Last year, it was anticipated the city would have soft water by Thanksgiving. The date has been reset several times since. Representatives from Merrick Industries, the company hired to install the system, planned to be in Hoisington the last week of July, but agreed to move up their schedule to this week under pressure from the city.
And, speaking of water, what looked two weeks ago like an obstacle to moving forward with the city’s new lift station project has disappeared. At the June 25 meeting, Mitchell informed the council the city had received notice from the Osage Nation, one of three native American tribes that once existed where Hoisington now sits, that they were requesting a cultural resources review. The process is employed to identify whether spaces sacred to tribal culture are in danger of being damaged or destroyed prior to a planned disturbance of the land.
Mitchell was pleased to inform the council that he had been in contact with the tribe, and informed them that the area in question has been in possession of the city for many years, and has already been extensively disturbed. The Osage Nation has since sent notice that the request has been withdrawn and the city can move forward with the project. Mitchell said he was hopeful bid letting could still happen this year.