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Recent cold weather prompts Hoisington to declare financial emergency
City approves tobacco-free parks ordinance
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HOISINGTON — Meeting Monday night, the Hoisington City Council adopted a resolution declaring a state of financial emergency following the recent severe winter weather event across Kansas. The resolution is in response to Gov. Laura Kelly’s State of Disaster Emergency Proclamation on Feb. 14. The resolution states that over a two-week period in February, low temperatures with sub-zero wind chills over several days accompanied by snow, sleet and freezing rain across the state have caused stress to the city’s energy infrastructure.

Communities throughout the state, including Hoisington, saw an increase in the demand for natural gas and electricity. According to information in the resolution, the cost to purchase natural gas and electricity exceeded 10 to 200 times the normal prices.

“Without emergency action, the increased prices required to purchase natural gas and/or electricity will result in significantly higher than normal utility bills for our citizens,” said City Manager Jonathan Mitchell. “In turn, this threatens the financial health and the physical welfare of the city’s residents and businesses." Mitchell added that the city is exploring every avenue of relief and is declaring an extraordinary local state of financial emergency.

In other matters, the council approved a tobacco-free parks ordinance for all city parks and outdoor recreational facilities. The ordinance states that it is unlawful for any person to use any form of tobacco or e-cigarette at or upon any city owned or operated outdoor recreational facility. An outdoor recreational facility is defined to include, but is not limited to, playgrounds, aquatic facilities, athletic fields, parks, walking trails, restrooms, spectator and concession areas. Violations include eviction from the facility and a $50 fine in addition to applicable court costs. The ordinance also defines tobacco use as ingestion of any product containing, made, or derived from tobacco or containing nicotine, whether synthetically produced or derived from any other source that is intended for human consumption.

In other business, the council: 
• Agreed to purchase new time clocks
• Approved the annexation ordinance 
• Set a ceiling for the pool project of $2.5 million in city funds

Discussion items included:
• Fencing options for the cemetery
• Upcoming hospital project
• Bike share program
• Neighborhood revitalization plan