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Water quality center stage at Monday meeting
The Hoisington City Council met in regular session Monday evening in the Municipal Building. The council worked through several agenda items dealing with water quality, a tax funding request and truck parking regulations among other issues.

HOISINGTON — Meeting Monday night, the Hoisington City Council heard a report from city water and waste water foreman Gary Smith concerning the city’s water quality. 

During his report, Smith outlined a letter submitted to the council and city staff by citizen Jettie Zoller who  expressed concern about lime buildup in plumbing fixtures and other water contaminant issues.

In her letter, Zoller cited a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicating 19 total contaminants in Hoisington’s water system, 11 which exceeded EWG health guidelines. According to the EWG report, the city water supply’s Arsenic levels are 188 times the recommended guidelines. 

The report also stated that for eight quarters, from April 2016 to March 2018, Hoisington was in violation of Federal Drinking Water Standards. “I realize these are guidelines, but perhaps they should become goals,” Zoller stated in the letter. “What could be a better marker for quality of life than true quality of water?” 

She added in her letter that, according to the EWG, “getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean our water meets the latest health guidelines.”

Smith told the council that the city receives its guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency. “Based on testing by KDHE, our city water is in compliance with these guidelines,” he said.

“The state requires us to monitor for certain contaminants less than once per year because the concentrations of these contaminants are not expected to vary significantly from year to year,” he said. “The bottom line is that our water is safe.” According to the city’s latest water quality report, which covers calendar year 2019, the presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. 

Zoller’s letter and the entire water quality report can be found on the City of Hoisington’s website.

In other business

Also Monday night, the council:

• Approved $10,000 in transient guest tax funding to the Roadway Inn and Suites. The funding will be distributed in $2,500 increments per quarter.
“The hotel’s guests are the primary source of the city’s transient guest tax dollars and they are working hard to increase traffic at the hotel,” said city manager Jonathan Mitchell. The city has granted funds to the hotel group in the past along with other tourism and commerce-related projects and activities.
The proceeds from the transient guest tax are required to be used for the promotion of tourism, conventions, commerce and economic development in Hoisington as determined appropriate by the council.
• Approved a drafted agreement with Rintel Corporation out of Oakland, Calif., for the purchase of the No. 8 engine from the city power plant.
• In a 6-1 vote, the council adopted a truck parking ordinance addressing parking regulations and limitations in residential zones. Council member Jim Morris voted against the adoption of the ordinance.
• In another 6-1 vote, the council approved city staff to solicit bids for the construction of a sewer building next to the main lift station. Council member Darren Reinert was the dissenting vote.
• Approved a bid by Eldridge Fencing of Great Bend for $6,748 for fencing on the south side of the public works shop. The fencing would enclose the new concrete area south of the facility. The fence would be six-feet tall, have two walk-in gates and two drive-in gates.
• In his city manager’s report, Mitchell provided updates on staffing, COVID-related precautions, the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, the pool project, the bike-share program and the fire house on North Main Street.