At Hoisington’s City Council meeting Monday night, Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell read Resolution 03-2015, which voiced opposition to legislation that would move city election to the fall and make those elections partisan. Last year, the governing body voted unanimously to oppose a similar piece of legislation. This year, while the resolution still passed, council person Brian Wilborn, Ward 4, said he favored changing the elections to the fall in order to boost participation.
“By moving elections to the fall of even-numbered years, you would have a much higher voter turnout,” Mitchell said. “By moving elections to the fall of odd-numbered years, I am not sure that voter turnouts would increase because it seems to many observers, that the change is being made just for the sake of change.
Mitchell pointed out a few changes had been made to SB171 prior to meeting, primarily the requirement to declare a party was dropped. Also, instead of fall elections being held on even numbered years to coincide with the Presidential election cycle, the new proposal was to hold them in the fall on odd numbered years.
Should the bill pass, it will require a change to the number of years a council person or school board member in Hoisington would serve. It could also lead to one of the next election cycles having every member on the ballot at once. Currently, representatives serve staggered two-year terms, which allow each ward to vote for a representative every year.
Discussion turned to the acquisition of a new city vehicle that could be used for staff to attend training sessions and for economic development purposes, among other uses. Bids for a new body style Chevrolet Impala were made by four dealerships in the state, and Hoisington’s Manweiler Chevrolet bid significantly lower at $23,689.13. The council approved the purchase, though Dean Andereck, Ward 3, voiced objection over the style and cost of the vehicle. He felt the council was “overbuying” vehicles. The currently used city staff vehicle would allow other vehicles in the city fleet to be switched out and better utilized.
The council also approved the purchase of a new police vehicle, a Ford Interceptor SUV, for $26,147.00 on state contract from Shawnee Mission Ford.
New security cameras will soon be installed around the municipal complex in an effort to better monitor and secure city property. They will monitor the municipal building, the EMS station and the fueling station which has been compromised by thieves stealing diesel fuel. A panic button will also be installed for front office use. Hammeke Electric had the winning bid at $11,830.24.
Other items discussed included:
• A cereal malt beverage consumption permit was approved for the Hoisington Horseshoe Club to allow the beverages to be consumed during practices and tournaments in the coming season.
• The council approved a resolution fixing a hearing date for dangerous, unsafe or unfit structures for the owners of the property located at 122 E. Railroad St. The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. on April 12 at the council chambers. The owners must appear and show cause why the structures should not be condemned and ordered repaired or demolished.
• The Hoisington Chamber of Commerce is favorable to partnering with the city for the purchase of new public address speakers, with the cost to each party less than $750.
• Progress is being made on the acquisition of the land for the wastewater treatment plant project. A contract will be available at the next meeting.
• Mitchell gave an update of the Casey’s project. Asbestos has been removed from the existing building, which will be demolished in March. Utilities, including fiber from Cox communications, are still being moved. After that the project can advance.
• Barney Cruz has been promoted to Mechanic 1.
• Elizabeth Fobes will start March 15 as the new full time billing personnel.
• Mitchell has been working with a local business to navigate renovation challenges with a corporate franchise.
• EMS Director Scott Fleming announced three newly certified EMT volunteers. They included Jonathan Mitchell, Tony Lovett, and John Price, all three of which recently tested and passed five practicals.
The Hoisington City Council will meet next at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9 at the council chambers.
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