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Condemnation process started on Hoisington house
Burn still under investigation, house complete loss
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Fuel tanks await installation at the new Casey's General Store currently being built on Main in Hoisington. Workers Tuesday continued work on the pit. City Manager Jonathan Mitchell noted at Monday night's city council meeting that job postings are already listed on the company website, and the project continues to make good progress. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Other items of discussion and actions taken at the Hoisington City Council meeting on Monday, April 27, included:

Approved a resolution stating the buildings located at 122 E. Railroad are dangerous or unfit for human habitation.  The owners have until July 22 to begin and diligently make progress on cleaning up the property.  City Manager Jonathan Mitchell said workers were spotted this weekend already working on the property.
Approved a proposal to change the regular council meeting time to 7 p.m.  Jim Sekavec and Gerald Donovan voted against the measure that passed with a majority vote.
Unanimously approved an ordinance that placed limitations on public urination and defecation.  “This makes it very clear that it is illegal to do this in our community,” Mitchell said.  When asked if there was truly a problem with this, council members responded. Karen Vanbrimmer said there are problem areas.  Jim Sekavec said he had seen it happen on the street in front of his house, and Mayor Clayton Williamson said he’d seen it occur at the car wash.     
Discussed a draft ordinance regulating the use of fire pits within the city limits.
Mitchell commended the fire and EMT personnel for their efforts on the prior week’s call to 522 E. Fifth Street.
Mitchell informed the council he had approved a bid by A&F Contractors ($4,557 ) for the purchase and installation of a new heating unit at fire plant.  While theirs was not the lowest bid, it was only dollars away from one submitted by Moeder ($4,522 ), and Mitchell made the decision to show local preference. Comfort Pro was the third and highest bidder ($5,670).
The city was awarded a grant for a new EMS monitor.  The manufacturer will discount a newer model, allowing the city to purchase it for the amount of the grant, $24,000.  
Several families have approached Mitchell and council person Brian Willborn expressing interest in building new homes.  The city will present a proposal to the council at the May 11 meeting, asking for some incentives that may include utility and infrastructure work.
Hoisington’s swimming pool will be ready for opening day, May 15.  Six new lifeguards are undergoing lifeguard training.  
Progress continues with the new Casey’s General Store on Main, and postings for all positions are now up on the company’s web page.

The Hoisington City Council Monday night considered an immediate hazard designation for the property located at 522 E. Fifth St.  The property burned Wednesday night, April 22, and claimed the life of its sole resident, LeRoy George Schartz, Jr., age 62.  Don Doerschlag, Hoisington’s code enforcement officer, provided the council with a written report concerning his findings.  The fire is still under investigation, so he opted not to display pictures publicly.  The house was a complete loss.  
“There is not much chance of anyone ever saving this house,” he said.  Council member Jim Sekavec, the fire chief of Hoisington’s volunteer fire department, agreed.  
 Rafters were charred and fire came through roof vents.  It was Doerschlag’s stated opinion that it would cost more to fix than the structure was worth. He also noted that after visiting with the family, they have no intention of fixing the house, but they did board it up eliminating the immediate hazard.  
Schartz was the owner of the house, and while there is a mortgage of record with the Bank of Holyrood taken in 2012, it was unclear if a lien existed, Doerschlag reported, as the bank claimed they had none against the house.  It was also determined that there was no insurance on the structure.
This leaves the city now to begin a process to condemn the property, and Doerschlag outlined that process to the council.  First, a letter setting a show cause hearing date needs to be sent to the bank and the owner of record.  The soonest date would be June 22.  After the hearing, the council may direct Doerschlag to take bids for the demolition, and a bid could be accepted at the next city council meeting. Mid-July is the soonest anything could be done with the property, he said.
He warned the council the yard is full of debris, and it will be an expensive clean-up.  He consulted with the family, and they are either unable or unwilling to help.  
Council member Brian Wilborn asked if with the order and notice to the bank, it could be possible the bank may have blanket coverage for the property.  Hoisington City Attorney John Horner said he would check with the bank.  
He has asked the family to help, but they are not willing.  The sister lives in Great Bend.  There was no insurance on the house.  The family was not close with him, and unwilling to help, he said.  Sekavec said”It most definitely needs to be handled, so we need to get started.”
“It will be long enough as it is,” Sekavec said.  “I say we start the process tonight.”
He made the motion to  instruct Doerschlag to draw up a resolution on the house for a show cause hearing, which was approved unanimously.  Motion carried.