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Hoisington council rejects election ordinance
New vac truck approved
new vlc hoisington-Main-Street.gif
Progress continues on the Main Street road reconstruction project in Hoisington. City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reported concrete workers will be on site until the project is completed, and Main Street should be curing by Halloween. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:

Hoisington resident Stan Jantz, representing a local chapter of Sons of the American Revolution, presented EMS Director Scott Fleming with a service award for his years of dedicated service in the Emergency Medical field.

Mitchell provide an update on the Roto-Mix agreement. Both Rotomix and their attorney have expressed frustration with the staffing level at the state, and are shocked it has taken so long to receive communication about their negotiated agreement with the city. It appears that ,while everything is moving in the right direction, it is likely the city will need to extend the contract into 2017, Mitchell said.

The application period for the electric distribution superintendent closed Oct. 14. Interviews will be scheduled in the near future.

The Cow Creek Watershed mapping project is nearly complete. The work group will meet at the Hoisington Activity Center on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m., where a map of the findings will be discussed. Findings will be shared soon, and it appears Hoisington residents will find significant relief.

The fire department open house on Oct. 16 was well attended.

The city has decided on bright yellow t-shirts for city workers to replace contracted uniforms. Only employees that require flame-retardant uniforms will continue to be fitted for contract uniforms. 

EMS Director Scott Fleming reported that Hoisington was the host of the EMS Region 3 quarterly meeting this month. It drew 20 people from 15 different services, and covers an area from Comanche to Butler counties, including Wichita, Hutchinson, Eldorado, and several smaller communities.

Tuesday, Mitchell and Fleming planned to travel to Lynn, Mo., to return the loaned ambulance and inspect repairs to the new ambulance which required repairs to the engine. All repairs were covered by warranty, and there was no cost to the city except for time and inconvenience, Mitchell said.

A Gold Star trophy was awarded to Hoisington with provides the city with a five percent reduction on Workmen’s Compensation premiums. The council noted that the City is fortunate to have such a great staff.

EMS plans to apply for a grant that, if awarded, will provide 95 percent of the cost for 18 self-contained breathing apparatus, enough for every seated position on their trucks. The grant will be awarded in April, and applications are due Nov. 17.

HOISINGTON - What two weeks ago appeared to be a done deal, the decision to have half the council be elected at-large and half by district, fell apart Monday night.
Picking up where they left off at the Oct. 10 Hoisington City Council meeting, council members once again considered Charter Ordinance number 14, regarding elections. The ordinance officially moves the city elections from April to November, and also would provide a combination of positions to be held by district representatives and at-large.
While the majority of the council had wrestled with the question earlier in the year, the decision was not made prior to the time Brian Wilborn resigned from the council because he moved out of the district. In July, Robert Bruce was appointed by the council to serve out the term, and when the question was up for consideration two weeks ago, he indicated that he was not in favor to of representatives being elected at-large. Two council members, Karen Van Brimmer and Chris Smith, were not present as they were attending an annual conference of the Kansas Municipalities, so Mayor Clayton Williamson opted to table action on the ordinance until this week when Van Brimmer and Smith would be present. He did so after the city attorney stated that for the ordinance to pass, a supermajority of the council would need to approve it. If Bruce voted against it, there would not be enough votes for it to pass.
But, when the agenda item came up Monday night, Michael Aylward began by stating his opposition to members being elected at-large. Chris Smith agreed with him, as did Travis Sinn, who went further.
“While an elitist group could come together in either a ward or at-large council, it would be more likely if council members were elected at-large,” he said.
And Aylward added, “If you do get the very wealthy, it’s not going to be a fair representation of the rest of the community.”
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell pointed out that the majority of voters in Hoisington could control that outcome through their votes, but then asked if anyone was willing to make a motion concerning the ordinance.
Karen Van Brimmer moved to accept Charter Ordinance 14 as written. At first, it appeared there would be no second, until the City Attorney stated that if there was no second, there could be no vote. At that point, Aylward seconded the motion, and the city clerk, Donita Crutcher, took the roll call vote. Only Mayor Clayton Williamson, Council President Karen Van Brimmer, and Councilmember Jim Morris were in favor, with five council members opposed. Still, a new ordinance must be passed to move the timing of election to November to be in accordance with state statute.
The council confirmed it was their will that a revised ordinance be written and introduced at a future meeting.

Better deal on vac truck
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reported to the council on his research into the purchase of a wastewater vac truck for the city. At the last meeting, the council learned that the City of Great Bend had approached the City of Hoisington about purchasing their 1995 vac truck for $80,000 as is (needs include tires, heads, hose and servicing of the tank). The city, however, learned there were several other options that would cost less, and the council authorized Mitchell to follow up on some of those options.
Since then, Mitchell has been working with Key Equipment on a proposal for the city to purchase a 1995 wastewater vac truck for $60,000, which includes new tires, new sewer hose, and a recently serviced tank along with funds for new jetter attachments.
“We feel it is a reasonable deal and ask the council to allow us to move forward with it,” Mitchell said. The council agreed to move ahead with the purchase, with funding coming from the Sewer and Wastewater Machinery and Equipment fund. The older truck will be sold on Purple Wave, along with an old police Blazer, and a snow blower which has been out of service for several years.

City manager’s update
During his city manager’s report, Mitchell shared that progress with the Main Street road construction project and the upcoming groundbreaking for the new Sonic restaurant continue to occupy the time and energy of the city staff.
Concrete crews will be on site until the project is completed. It is anticipated that Main Street will be curing by Halloween.
Aylward asked if the gas company which dug up the alleyways around town earlier will be doing more to fill in depressions that have sunken and now are driving hazards. Paul Zecha with the Public Works Department said he has been in contact with the company and will be receiving materials to fill in as settling continues.
The groundbreaking for the new Sonic restaurant will be on Wednesday, Nov. 2, late morning to early afternoon. It will not be solely ceremonial, as contractors will likely be working on site that day.

 The next meeting of the Hoisington City Council will be at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14 at the Municipal building.

Editorial note:  In the original report above, the quote about the proposed Charter Ordinance No. 14 concerning election timing and members being voted by district or at large was attributed to Councilmember Michael Aylward incorrectly.
It was Councilmember Travis Sinn that expressed concern that, “If you do get the very wealthy, it’s not going to be a fair representation of the rest of the community.”
Our apologies to our readers and Mr. Aylward for the mix-up.