Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
* Discussion about hours for the city pool for 2016, including a request by new manager to find a way to have the pool open during Labor Day weekend.
* Approval of an ordinance making changes to the special event malt beverage sales license.
* Update on the EMS monitor grant. The grant was not awarded, so the EMS will not get a new monitor this year. Future applications will be made.
* The contractor for the city’s proposed Municipal Building HVAC upgrade wishes to make a formal presentation to the council in May.
* Heard an update from Mitchell on several items, including status of the Roto Mix contract, inquiries to the city about The Office commercial building, and status of the Main Street road project, which has now been delayed to beginning in July. The Labor Day parade is still of top concern, and should contractors not be able to guarantee completion by then, the project will be delayed until after. The city continues to express dissatisfaction with their contractor.
* Approved ordinances for the month.
The Hoisington City Council welcomed newly elected members and honored those retiring from service at Monday night’s meeting. Nancy Farmer, Ward 1 and Jim Sekavec, Ward 2 both retired following last week’s election. Both were presented plaques, recognizing their many years on the council.
According to City Manager Jonathan Mitchell, Farmer served for 12 years total and Sekavec served a total of 28 years. He also served with the Hoisington Fire Department for many years and retired as chief in 2015. “Thank you for your service,” Mitchell said. “Both have played a large role in shaping the policies of our community.”
Taking their seats were Carol Nathar for Ward 2 and Travis Sinn for Ward 1. Rejoining them for another term were Karen VanBrimmer, Ward 3 and Brian Wilborn, Ward 4. The council also voted for Wilborn to be council president.
The first order of business was approving items on the consent agenda, including a resolution to endorse the new Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan for the county, with no financial commitment to the plan. First Kansas Bank, Wilson State Bank and Landmark National Bank were designated as official depositories for the City of Hoisington. The Hoisington Dispatch was again named the city’s official newspaper also.
Mitchell informed the council that he has received a few requests for accessory buildings to be built on adjacent properties. The proposed would be built on land separated from the parent properties by an alley, rather than an easement. Zoning laws state this is not allowed in the city, but with multiple requests, Mitchell felt he should bring the question to the council so they could weigh in on if the law needed to be reexamined.
“Ten people have worked diligently on strategic planning for our future,” Wilborn said. “I think those people have already spent considerable amounts of time looking at this. Vacant lots are already at a premium for residential lots, and I think we need to stick with the standing rule.
Later, Mitchell underscored the point with his announcement that the city was in the thick of its busiest construction seasons in recent memory. In addition to ongoing projects with Housing Opportunities Inc. and Habitat for Humanity, the city has received requests from individuals interested in lots at McKenna Meadows. One, from an individual wishing to build on one lot a single-family home, the other from an individual that would like to purchase a floodplain lot with the aim at building it up and turning it into several buildable lots. The state of the plans for each potential build are not ready to bring to the Hoisington Landbank, prompting the decision to postpone the planned meeting of the Landbank until May, Mitchell said.
‘Arrive Alive’ a success
Mitchell also praised EMS director Scott Fleming, organizers Megan Elmore and Bryan Horton, and the several partnering organizations that helped make the Hoisington Arrive Alive event last Wednesday a success.
“Our staff has received a great deal of positive reviews for the event, but we feel strongly that the event will only be considered a success if it had an impact on our young people,” Mitchell said.
The event included a mock accident involving two vehicles, one driven by an underage drunk driver on his way to prom, with three passengers. The vehicle was to have collided with another vehicle containing two teens and a parent. Only the drunk driver was uninjured. Students from Hoisington High School and Ellinwood High School juniors and seniors were invited to attend the event, where they watched the proceedings as they happened at a Hoisington park.
Partnering organizations included the Hoisington Police Dept, Hoisington Fire and EMS, Barton County Sheriffs, and a life flight helicopter. Barton County Dispatch traffic for the event was broadcast so the audience could hear what first responders hear.
Attending the event was Great Bend photographer Amy Stein, who recorded the event with still photography. Following the event, she created an informative slide show which she posted online. Since its posting, it has received thousands of views and has been seen all over the country. Several organizations have since contacted the City of Hoisington and Stein,inquiring about the event. The council agreed it would be appropriate to screen the short slide show during the meeting for.
Mitchell reported Stein is working on making the slide show available by donation, with proceeds going to a non-profit aimed at raising awareness of drunk driving.
Presentations by medical personnel and by others impacted by drunken driving were compelling, Fleming added. He also said he had been approached by many organizations who agreed that the Hoisington event had been the best they had ever seen. Emporia schools has requested information and is planning to organize a similar event for the their students.
“I’m really proud of everyone who took part in this,” he said. “If our efforts cause one young person to make better decisions, it will be considered a success.”
The meeting was then adjourned. The next meeting of the Hoisington City Council will be on Monday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal building.