Hoisington City Council members considered options of what to do with the restroom structure at Pride Park two weeks ago. They either needed to be razed or refurbished, after a proposed Eagle Scout project fell through. The council asked City Manager Jonathan Mitchell to approach the Commission on Aging, the group that operates the Friendship House located at the park, about a solution. Monday night, Mitchell reported back to the council.
The Commission on Aging was very receptive to his proposal of forming a partnership to return the structure to usefulness, he said. They agreed to find volunteers or pay for the labor if the city would pick up the cost of supplies.
Mitchell said Lee Van Syke would be the point person for the Commission. The group asks that the city find a way to keep the structure secured at night when it is complete, and liked the idea of having surveillance cameras installed as a deterrent to vandalism.
Councilman Brian Wilborn inquired about the costs to the city, which Mitchell said he is still in the process of information gathering. He will have more to report at the next city council meeting.
Then, the council heard the annual report from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. Noting the City of Hoisington is a major partner with the center,Curtis Wolf, KWEC manager, filled the board in. Contacts increased over 2015 by three percent to almost 24,000 contacts total.
Many came for the more than 614 programs conducted by KWEC staff 335 of which were off site, and 400 of which were with area schools including Hoisington. Visitor services have also expanded, he said. This, despite a 43 percent cut in the operating budget from the state. Luckily, Ft. Hays State University has stepped up to fill the gap.
“The programs that we do are really our bread and butter,” Wolf said.
Some upcoming events include a wild game cooking program on March 13, and in April, Prairie Chicken Lek tours will resume. On April 23, the Wild Goose Chase 5K/3K Fun Run returns. KWEC will also partner with area organizations and CVB groups to attend the Kansas Sampler Festival in May.
“We couldn’t do this without our partners, including the city, the Chamber of Commerce and schools of Hoisington and many individual Hoisington patrons, and we thank you for that,” he said.
Brian Wilborn asked what else hoisington could do to help KWEC.
“We would like to expand programming to the Hoisington Activity Center,” Wolf replied. “I think there is some great programming we could do there.”
Code enforcement update
Dolores Kipper, the city’s code enforcement officer, provided an update on her efforts in the community.
She sent out a mailing in the city bill about the Trap, Neuter, and Return program and information about the rabies clinic.
The City of Hoisington will be holding its annual rabies clinic at the Hoisington Fire Station on March 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. City pet licenses will also be available at the clinic, and need to be purchased by March 31.
She also sent a letter out to all employees of the City of Hoisington asking them to lead by example in and make sure they get their pets registered.
A steadily decreasing number of feral cats trapped seemed to indicate the TNR program is working. In October, Kipper trapped 39, then 16 in November, seven in December and six in January. Still, she cautioned that kitten season is coming soon, and she anticipates numbers to go up again to reflect this.
Kipper also gave a report on code enforcement as it applies to property in the city. Working with violators of city ordinances on a face to face basis is her preferred method over writing letters, and she has met with much success. She provided many before-and-after slides to illustrate, and members of the council offered her praise following the end of her presentation.
Election poll results
Mitchell then announced the results of the advisory poll sent out in the city’s billing to elicit input from the community about elections were collected and Mitchell provided a report to the council.
“A total of 157 individuals provided their responses to the survey,” he said. “The results are quite interesting.”
At the last local election, 282 voters attended. So, the 157 showed particular interest among voters. Questions of the size and the structure of the council were included on the poll. The majority of voters felt the size of the council is fine, and did not warrant changes. However, about 60 percent of responses indicated the structure was not satisfactory. Of those that wanted change, 45 percent preferred to have an all at-large council, and 39 percent indicated it should be mixed between at-large and by ward. But, there was no clear consensus.
The council, after a brief discussion, decided to leave the current size and structure as it is and allow new council members to bring the topic up again if they wish after the next upcoming election.
City manager report
Mitchell’s city manager’s report included updates on several other items, including:
An announcement that Barney Cruz accepted the management position at the city power plant.
The west side lift station is now in use and is very close to being completely finished.
Rotomix--will be at it’s facility this week making improvements.
Cow Creek Watershed Committee will attend a meeting on Tuesday of this week in Lyons.
The Hoisington Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Hoisington High School. This is a first for Hoisington, and will include a trade show at 9:30, which members of the Chamber of Commerce are invited to attend in lieu of the regularly scheduled Thursday Chamber of Commerce Coffee. Around seven businesses developed by young people in the city will be featured.
Personal equipment has been removed from The Office on Main Street, and the building is once again in the possession of the city. There are two individuals that are negotiating with the city about its future use.
The annual audit report will be ready to present in May.
Habitat for Humanity plans to have a groundbreaking of its upoming project at 322 E. 6th St. at 10:15 a.m. on March 3.
The city has secured its CDBG funding for the wastewater lagoons, and Mitchell will attend a required two-day conference in Hutchinson next week in order to collect documents for the council to formalize its agreement with the state.
The Hoisington Swimming Pool is currently looking for a new pool manager.
An executive session was requested for the purpose of discussing confidential matters relating to non-elected personnel. Upon resuming open session, no action was taken and the meeting was adjourned.