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Hoisington to secure shooting range
EMS shift premiums and recruitment bonuses get OK
Hoisington Municipal Complex - photo by Tribune file photo

HOISINGTON — City council members took action Monday night to secure access to the police shooting range, and saved the city over $2,000 over earlier estimates. 

The city made an end-of-year transfer in June of $10,000 to go towards installation of fencing between the police shooting range and the city’s compost site, as recommended by the city’s insurance company. 

“The challenge is now it’s wide open,” City Manager Jonathan Mitchell said. “You can’t really say it’s not open to the public because it’s not sectioned off. This will keep the honest people honest.” 

The initial estimate from Eldridge Fencing was a minimum of $15,000 at that time. Since then, the city has sought bids from other contractors, and Mitchell presented the staff’s recommendation to city council members Monday night. 

The company that has been working on the water treatment plant project proposed to install 640 feet of six-foot chain-link with an eight-foot double gate for $12,529. The plant is located in the same general area as the compost site and the shooting range.

The same company has also experienced several thefts of equipment from the work site since work began earlier in the summer. Hoisington Police Chief Kenton Doze shared a partial list of losses the company reported, including theft of a small boat, fuel, vandalism to windows and punctured hoses. Council members were dismayed, and with no further questions approved the bid. 

Mitchell visited with Barton County Fire District No. 2 chief Shannon Donovan, and mentioned the city was considering finding a replacement for its EMS response vehicle. Donovan asked that the city consider giving the vehicle to the fire district. Mitchell presented the idea, along with a plan to help improve EMS coverage in the coming months. 

The vehicle would be put to use as a response vehicle in the city of Olmitz, Mitchell explained. He and EMS Director Megan Elmore felt it would be a good move to donate the vehicle as a show of continued partnership in the district. 

Elmore is in favor of getting quotes for a replacement vehicle, but for now coverage issues need to be addressed. Weekend and holiday premiums could go a long way towards motivating volunteers to commit to those shifts, Mitchell said. 

Currently, volunteers receive $2.50 an hour when they are on call, whether or not they are called out. The proposed premium would double that for weekend and holiday shifts, starting Dec. 1. 

Recruiting incentives were also proposed. Current EMS volunteers who recruit volunteers would receive a $250 bonus for each recruit who signs a contract with the city, completes training, and then fulfills their obligation. 

Council members were in favor of both proposals, but suggested the hourly premium could begin in November. Elmore, who has already scheduled volunteers for that month, agreed the unanticipated bonus would improve moral and provide an added incentive for coming months. 

For now, the EMS response vehicle is a moot point, as Elmore hasn’t needed it. She’s been driving the ambulance while covering shifts. 

Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday night:

• Approved a bid for $12,529 to install fencing between the city’s compost site and the police shooting range. • Received an update on several public works projects underway, including the proposed disc golf course, a new Public Works building, a proposed sidewalk program, alley enhancements, and a proposed parking lot for the dog park. Public Works is considering building concrete pads and the parking lot with supplies intended for but no longer needed for the Susank Road improvements. 

• Approved a bid from Venture Corp. for $118,545, to make needed repairs along the parking area of Susank Road from Cheyenne St. to K-4. Work will take place in spring, 2020, and will be followed by resurfacing of the driving lanes by the county during the summer of 2020. 

• Received the City Manager’s report which included updates on the time clocks, cameras, Scentral Bark, softening plant and vehicle acquisition.