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Unsafe properties focus of Hoisington City Council
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Other items of discussion and actions taken included:

Council person Jim Sekavec reported on fire department responses to fires in the city during 2014.
Council discussed options for janitorial service for the city.  The pros and cons of contract service and a part-time employee were weighed.  No action was taken.  
Council approved an ordinance that clarified what EMS volunteers would get paid for additional runs per shift.  
An EMS training exercise happened recently at the park which included extraction from a vehicle and  helicopter landing zone training.
The council briefly discussed recent wage increases for law enforcement personnel at the county level and in neighboring Great Bend which put pressure now on Hoisington to consider increases.  It was pointed out that experienced officers for the Hoisington Police Department would be paid less than starting officer in Great Bend.   
Mitchell said construction on Main Street would be pushed back to Sept. 10 and would last about eight weeks.  Traffic will be detoured south on Cedar and east on first.  Wind turbines will be redirected to US156.  

The Hoisington City Council met Monday night and finally approved a resolution to approve the option to purchase real-estate between the city and Housing Opportunities Inc. for $21,500.  The approval had been held up because of legal concerns over wording of the agreement which have since been worked out between the parties.  This paves the way for additional duplex units to be constructed  in Hoisington.   The council also approved an option and sale contract to purchase property located at 309 E. Fifth for use by the city.  A lien that had previously held up this agreement has been resolved.

 Code enforcement  
Don Doerschlag, Hoisington’s code enforcement officer, reported on the status of three problem properties in the city.  The first, 122 East Railroad, a large commercial building with deteriorating foundation, missing siding, dilapidated roof, debris, overgrown weeds and trees and evidence of wildlife habitation, has been on the list since 2012.  Doerschlag  gave a slide presentation showing the state of the property, and outlined efforts taken to get the owners to clean up the property.  He ended, asking the council for direction.  He could either send another letter, or the city could move to begin the process of taking the property for demolition.  
Sekavec stated he felt another letter would be of no help, as several years had already gone by with no results.  He suggested the council move on to requesting a hearing.  The other council members agreed.  They also told Doerschlag to go ahead and send a letter too, as the time line for setting a hearing date would allow for enough time to respond to a letter also.  
The second property, located at  851 W 2nd, required the demolition of a storm cellar and two out buildings.  All three have since been cleaned up by TSI Construction, the winning bidder.  Mitchell said they ran into more challenges than anticipated taking out the storm cellar, which had walls of cement nearly two feet thick, he said.  Ultimately, it cost TSI an additional $800 to hire Stone Construction in Great Bend to remove the walls with heavy equipment.  The contractor had considered asking the council if it would be willing help cover these additional costs, but did not attend the meeting.  Council members agreed that had it gone the other way, and it cost less to complete the job, the contractor would not be willing to give some of the money back, and so they were not willing to offer more.   
The final property was 171 South Main, formerly known as The Office Tavern.  The owner of Pinkey’s Bar, the neighboring property,  paid $9,800 for the property, with an agreement that the city would help with some of the extensive renovations needed to save the building.  The previous owner had allowed the roof to deteriorate, and then did a sub-standard job of replacing it.  The new roof also failed, and left several tons of debris open to the elements that first needed to be hauled away.  The building now has new framing and a new roof, and remodeling is on track to be completed soon.
After Mitchell made his report, the council moved to go into executive session for five minutes for discussion prior to the acquisition of real estate.  No action was taken when they returned to open session.  They then went into executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.  Upon re entering open session, no action taken.  The meeting was then adjourned.  The next Hoisington City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9 at the city offices.  

Turn up the volume
Jonathan Mitchell brought a proposal for consideration to the council following the malfunction of audio equipment at the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce annual banquet earlier in January.  The sound system has been an ongoing disappointment for more than the past year.  
“This is Hoisington’s opportunity to put our best foot forward,” Mitchell said.  “But having to shout to be heard doesn’t make that possible.”
He proposed using funds from the transient guest tax to partner with the Chamber to purchase a public address system for use by both entities.  While neither would use the system often, when it was needed, it should work, he said.  He justified the expenditure, as it would be used for advertising, tourism and economic development activities like the banquet.
City Council members were in favor of the purchase, but not the source of the funding.  It was felt using the guest tax to purchase equipment would set a bad precedence.  No action was