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Hoisington city council hears citizens' complaints
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HOISINGTON — At Monday’s Hoisington City Council meeting, citizens in the audience voiced their complaints regarding high utility bills.

One citizen said that he wanted to "discuss the utility bills we have in Hoisington," specifically high electric rates and said the bills in Hoisington were higher than in other areas.

City Manager Jonathan Mitchell responded. "I think we would all love to see lower utility rates in Hoisington. We are a part of a power pool that has the same power rates. We are not the highest in the state of Kansas."

The city will be providing a breakdown and explanation of the electric charges in upcoming bill statements.

Hoisington purchases power from the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency which purchases the power from other entities. The city, in 2008, signed contracts with KMEA that run until 2018. Prior to that, the city purchased power from Aquila.

"At the time, it was seen at the best option by the governing body," Mitchell said. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see any relief in the rates near future.

Another citizen was also there to discuss high water rates and voiced her concerns. Mitchell explained the city is in the process of overhauling the water system to upgrade the water softening capabilities.

In other business, the council discussed a new fireworks ordinance in a heated discussion concerning the hours fireworks can be discharged, and concerns about individuals cleaning up the area after shooting them. Several council members wanted the hours of fireworks to be limited when the holiday falls on Sunday until after church.

They also discussed the danger of having fireworks shot off on the highways and possible danger to passing vehicles.

However, the fireworks ordinance was tabled.

The council established new fines for not removing snow and ice on sidewalks in the city. Any person violating the provision will be fined $25 to $75 in each 24-hour period upon conviction.

The number for Joyce Pace, the late ambulance director, will be retired, and a plaque commemorating her service will be made. Pace recently passed away, and the new director will get a new number.

Also, the council discussed parking on Seventh Street by the high school. Members talked about allowing parking only on one side of the street. The item was tabled for more research.

The city has been providing free EMS coverage at high school games. In an effort to reduce costs, the city will only provide  EMS crews at varsity events.

In addition, the city discussed blighted properties and how to reduce the numbers of such property. The city would like to see these sites improved.

In final business, the council approved:

• A cereal malt beverage application for Hoisington Main Street Inc. for the all-terrain vehicle Rodeo on Sept. 24.

• Appropriations.

• A bid for roof repairs to the electrical utility for $21,678 from Ryan Roofing Inc. The power plant has experience significant leaks.

• A bid for $9,550 for a remanufactured pad-mount transformer with copper windings for the new motel.