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Hoisington Main Street project off to chaotic start
City pool attendance down
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Thursday morning, traffic northbound on Main Street followed detours on side streets adjacent to the where work is being conducted for the next six weeks between Sixth and Ninth streets. Larger commercial traffic is being asked to find alternate routes until work is completed. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

Other items of discussion and actions taken:

* Council approved a revised Construction Engineering contract from Lochner for the Main Street road project in the amount of $59,348.25. The original proposal was $87,900. The cost will be reimbursed to the city 75 percent after the project is complete and has passed inspection.
* Council approved a resolution to increase fees in 2017 for water and wastewater, as well as an increase in municipal court fees that is tied to a state increase of fees.
* The council approved a revision of the job description for the open position of Electric Distribution Superintendent. The city will solicit internally and externally over the next two weeks for candidates for the position.
* Council approved a request from the contractor of the HVAC project at the Municipal complex to cover the costs of a public works bond. The bond is needed because the project is worth over $100,000. The cost for the bond is $3,331.
* In an effort to reduce costs of staff uniforms, the city proposed continuing to purchase uniforms through Aramark for only those employees who need to wear flash and flame resistant clothing, which they will self-launder. Other employees will be provided t-shirts from Identifications in Great Bend, pants from Kindscher’s Mule Barn in Hoisington, and polos for the office staff will be embroidered at a Hoisington shop. The council approved the proposal.
* In the consent agenda, the council approved the appointment of Chris Smith and Karen VanBrimmer as voting delegates for the upcoming League of Kansas Municipalities conference and business meeting. Travis Sinn and Robert Bruce were designated as alternate voting delegates.

HOISINGTON - Work started this week on the long awaited Hoisington Main Street Reconstruction Project, and more needs to be done to get the word out to companies transporting large loads through the city Jonathan Mitchell, Hoisington city manager, said at the city council meeting Monday night.
US 281, which is Main Street through the city, was closed Monday morning between Sixth and Ninth streets. The intersection is very near where US 281 intersects with Hwy 4. Detours are designated through residential areas to the east and the west of Main, but some loads are simply not suited to side streets.
“One driver transported a wind turbine through those streets on Tuesday morning,” Mitchell told the Tribune Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview. “It’s kind of chaotic right now.”
The city has asked KDOT to help get the word out to commercial drivers to find alternate routes. The contractor’s goal is to have the project completed by the end of October, though contractually the work must be done by the week after Thanksgiving. The work is being paid for primarily through a KLink grant, provided through the State of Kansas. It will pay 75 percent of the cost, but is a reimbursement-style grant, so the city is using funds from the street projects fund and the capital improvements fund, and will replenish those funds when reimbursed.
One final requirement of the grant is the city was required to hire a contract engineer to conduct inspections, which the council approved at Monday’s meeting.

Pool attendance down
The Hoisington City Pool saw the lowest average attendance this year since 2009, Mitchell informed council members. The cause of the lower daily average attendance, 115 compared to the 2015 average of 160, is unknown. This year, the pool was open an additional three days, in part because the city, responding to requests from the public, opened the pool for two additional weekend in August after school returned to session. Those two weekends saw particularly low attendance, in the 20s and 30s, Mitchell said. This is the first year the city has attempted to make the pool available, and the low attendance on these days affected the average for the entire season, but is not wholly responsible for the low numbers. The highest daily average was 211 in 2014, and that year the pool was only open for roughly half the regular number of days in the season due to needed repairs being conducted early in the season.

City manager report
During his update, City Manager Jonathan Mitchell reported Hoisington will recognize Oct. 2-8 as Public Power week. On Friday, Oct. 7, power plant staff and electric distribution staff will have an open house, offering plant tours and conduct bucket truck demonstrations.
“This is an opportunity for the city to show residents what they get from their public utility,” he said.
Tours will be between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. that day, and hotdogs and brats will be served, and a drawing will be held for one residential customer to receive $100 off their public utility bill.
Other brief points included an update on progress with the sewer and lagoon project extensions, which have not been approved yet, though city staff remains hopeful they will be. Also, work is continuing on the new elections ordinance that will see half of the council elected at-large in the future.

The next meeting of the Hoisington City Council will be on Monday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Hoisington Municipal Building. At that meeting, Hoisington’s fire chief will provide a report on future needs of the department.