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Pawnee County commissioners hear comments on Alco closing
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LARNED — The Pawnee County Commission met at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 for a special town hall meeting at the Larned Community Center. The following are approved minutes submitted by Pawnee County clerk Ruth Searight.
The special meeting was called to discuss the Alco Discount Store closing.
Commissioners present were John Haas, chair; and Donna Pelton. Bowman was absent.
In attendance were Bob Pivonka, Larned City Mayor; Lane Massey, Larned City Manager; John Settle, County Attorney; Lauren Long, Larned Chamber director; Pawnee County Ecomomic Development Commission director; and William Nusser, PCEDC.
Larned Mayor Bob Pivonka introduced the panel. Chair, Pawnee County Board of Commissioners, John C. Haas, moderator, discussed the sales tax loss to the community.
Massey, Larned city manager, discussed how the closing would affect utilities.
Long inform group who she has been trying to contact with Alco, to no avail, and also trying to find another business to take Alco’s place. Massey requested for support from citizens of Pawnee County to shop locally when they can.
Settle asked the people of Pawnee County to help them contact the management of Alco to discuss reasons they should stay.
Nusser, PCEDC, handed out contact information for Alco. Took questions from audience.
• What should the citizens say to Alco? Haas said to be positive and honest about why people want Alco to stay.
• Jon Flint,  Fort Larned USD 495 superintendent, informed them how property taxes affect the local school district.
• Pivonka said to stress to Alco management that this is not just affecting Larned, but also the outlying areas.
• Have they made any contacts to any other businesses to let them know we possibly have this place to fill? Long stated they are working with other economic development directors and small business centers in Kansas, but they do not have any leads yet, but they are taking steps to find another business.
• Why are they moving? No one knew for sure.
• Commissioners heard comments from others in the audience — shop locally; shrinkage in stores; lease on Alco store ran out eight months ago and has been on a month-to-month basis.
The meeting was closed with a request for audience members to call, email, or write Alco requesting they stay.
8:01 p.m. — The meeting was adjourned.