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Hoisington City Council Wilborn steps down, Bruce to serve Ward 4
Former opponent takes seat vacated by councilman moving out of ward
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Outgoing Hoisington City Councilperson Brian Wilborn was presented a plaque in appreciation to his service to the council by Hoisington Mayor Clayton Williamson at the Monday night city council meeting. The meeting was Wilborns last. He stepped down because his family will be moving out of Ward four, where he was elected to serve. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:

Approved the purchase of a new Jaws of Life by the Hoisington Fire Department. (See related story).
Approved a request by Don Doerschlag to provide barriers to block off the north entrances to the Casey’s General Store on Aug. 13 for a fundraising event for...
Discussed the upcoming League of Kansas Municipalities conference, and it was reported that there would be an opportunity for three, rather than two, councilpersons to attend this year. The conference will be Oct. 8-10, and will be held in Overland Park this year. The city will pay for lodging, transportation, registration and a per diem for food, Mitchell said. There were no commitments to attend, and the discussion will be picked up at a future meeting.

HOISINGTON - Monday night, after a study session concerning the 2017 budget, Hoisington City Council members recognized outgoing councilman Brian Wilborn , awarding a plaque for his service to the council. The newly re-elected representative resigned following a move out of Ward 4, which he was elected to represent. His family will be moving to a home in the country.
“It is with regret that I resign,” Wilborn said. “I’ve enjoyed my time on the council, and hopefully I’ve added some benefit to the community and the council.”
He noted the many things the community has to be proud of, including business, housing in progress, and improvements to the school buildings. He also added he will not be able to continue serving as it faces challenges ahead, but assured the council that he will continue to be an active member of the community.
“Hoisington is our home. We aren’t going anywhere,” he said.
For the next order of business, the council turned its attention to filling the open seat. At the July 11 meeting, the council directed City Manager Jonathan Mitchell to advertise that letters of interest would be accepted from residents of Ward 4, up to noon on Friday, July 22. Monday night, he reported there had been four letters delivered to the City Clerk by the appointed deadline and two of the hopefuls were at the meeting that night.
The applicants were Robert Bruce, who ran against Wilborn in the 2016 Spring election, and Gary Shook. Both were invited by the council to offer brief reasons why they sought the seat. Councilperson Karen VanBrimmer noted Bruce had attended every council meeting since the election in April, despite not winning. When asked if there had been any other letters, Mitchell stated there had also been a letter of recommendation by Don Doerschlag to the council in favor of Bruce.
After introducing themselves, VanBrimmer moved to appoint Bruce to serve out Wilborn’s term, effective July 27. The motion was seconded by Councilperson Travis Sinn, and was unanimously approved by the council, minus Michael Aylward, who was not present. Bruce will serve the remainder of Wilborn’s term, which ends in January, 2019.

Power upgrades coming
Power outages in the city will happen less often and be shortened significantly after the Hoisington electrical generation plant is outfitted with new recloser relays. The council approved the purchase and installation of the relays for $58,720 after learning the relays were the reason behind a recent power outage that cut electricity to the entire town. In that instance, it was believed a squirrel had interfered with the line, and instead of only one reclosure locking up, the entire circuit failed. There are few providers who carry these reclosers and can service them, due to the age of the city’s current system, so there was only one estimate to present.

City manager’s report
Mitchell’s City Manager’s report was brief. The city continues to seek a contractor to replace the Municipal HVAC system, as none have come forward yet. Local contractors, Mitchell said, are preferred.
The Environmental Protection Agency still has no answers on how it plans to proceed with the city on the lagoon project that was put on hold due to a grant application that was improperly filed, causing the city to decide to wait a year before trying again. No additional news has been received concerning the Cow Creek Watershed mapping project.
The Hoisington United Fund is in the process of merging with the United Way of Central Kansas, and Van Brimmer and USD 431 Superintendent Bill Lowry are current board members. Four former United Fund recipients have applied for consideration with the UWCK. They include the Hoisington Historical Society museum, the Committee on Aging, Toys for Tots and the Hoisington Food Bank.
On Saturday, Aug. 6, Barton County Habitat for Humanity is planning a framing day, Mitchell said. Members of the City Council are invited to come out and swing a hammer with other members of the community and take part in a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” event that will involve participants signing a two-by-four that will be used in the build. Activity starts at 8 a.m., at the 322 E. 6th site.

The City Council will meet again in a study session on Wednesday, July 27 at 6 p.m. at the council chambers to further work on the 2017 budget. Councilmembers anticipate completing their work and being able to move forward with publication.
The next regular council meeting will be on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at the council chamber at the Hoisington Municipal Building.