ELLINWOOD — At the regular city council meeting on Tuesday, James McCormick was named by Mayor Frank Koelsch to fill the seat on the city council left open by Ken Lebbin, who was appointed as a county commissioner in May.
McCormick is the sexton at Lakin-Commanche Cemetery.
He has lived in Ellinwood for 16 years, originally coming from Stafford. He is married to wife Debbie, and they have seven kids between them.
The new council member has some new ideas for Ellinwood and the council. “I have some different ideas than anybody else,” he said.
Working with the city staff through his job and the cemetery board, McCormick already knows many of the people he will be working with.
He will assume his position at the next city council meeting, held the second Tuesday of each month.
In other business, J. Basil Dannebohm, John Hughes and Lloyd Kurtz were present from the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce requesting specific funding from the city.
“It’s been a good year,” Dannebohm told the council. He started the position of chamber administrator one year ago this August.
The administrator recalled the momentum achieved by the chamber by listing the milestones of the year.
September began with a bang when Gov. Sam Brownback visited the community. His first visit was on Labor Day weekend when he toured the tunnels and the Historic Wolf Hotel.
A major event hosted by the chamber was the inaugural Christkindlmarket, celebrating the community’s German heritage. A Christmas tree was lit at the Wolf Park band shell, followed by a living nativity. An estimated 700 attended.
At the annual chamber banquet in January, the facility was bursting at the seams with the attendance of 203 people.
Also in January, Congressman Tim Huelskamp visited followed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who visited Ellinwood in May.
The chamber joined forces with Claflin in a community collaboration project in the spring of 2014.
June events included June Jaunt, followed by hosting the Bike Across Kansas riders on Monday of that weekend.
The After Harvest Festival was in July. “The 41st annual After Harvest Festival owes its landmark success to the generous sponsors and volunteers as well as the fantastic weather,” said Dannebohm.
The chamber requested set funding from the city. “We want the city to assist in keeping the momentum,” said Hughes. “We don’t want to be a Lindsborg,” which no longer has a chamber.
The chamber representatives also mentioned economic development duties performed by the administrator.
City Administrator Robert Peter researched what other communities of similar size contributed towards their chamber and found amounts ranging from nothing to $9500. He said the city has contributed with the publication of brochures and city crews, but that he “likes the idea of a designated amount.”
The council agreed to fund the chamber with $3,500 until the end of the year. They will revisit the topic again at year’s end.
The chamber also wants to change the name of the chamber to “Community Development” so that it can become a 501 3c nonprofit, nontaxable entity.
In final business, the council:
•Heard the pool closes next week with the start of school.
•Accepted the bid for air packs for the fire department for $85,500 from MES.
•Approved the budget for next year.
•Reviewed delinquent accounts.