By Paul Rhodes
CONWAY SPRINGS – The Conway Springs City Council is looking for a few good volunteers.
At their meeting last week, the council discussed the current vacancy on the governing body, and the need to find someone to fill that vacancy and unexpired term. Council members also discussed how the Fall Fest celebration will be handled this year, and the need for volunteers to help with that event. A Town Hall meeting is set for this Friday to discuss Fall Fest.
The city’s newest council member Van Franklin announced back in February that he was going to have to tender his resignation from the governing body. Franklin had been on the council just a little over a year, after being elected to fill the vacancy that was created when T.J. Sones decided not to seek re-election to the council.
Then, in July of last year, Sones returned to the council to fill the vacancy that was created with the resignation of council member Larry Phye.
Phye was moving from the community and needed to resign from his position on the council. He had been a council member for several years. Franklin noted family and work commitments that factored into his resignation.
Now, Mayor Jessica Gerlach is looking for someone who would be interested in serving on the Conway Springs City Council, filling Franklin’s unexpired term. For more information or to put your name in for consideration, call City Hall at 620-456-2345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week’s discussion concerning the community’s Fall Fest celebration centered around who, or what group, will be heading up the event this year. Fall Fest was not held last year due to the pandemic, but will hopefully return this year.
Gerlach, who is on the board of the Conway Springs Development Foundation, said the foundation had been informally approached by the Fall Fest Committee about taking over the event, which normally would be held in late September.
“The foundation doesn’t want to take it over this year,” said Gerlach. “We could help with a portion of the event, but not the whole thing.”
Now, a Town Hall meeting has been scheduled for this Friday, April 23 at 7 p.m. at the Community Building to discuss Fall Fest. An event has been created on Facebook under the City Facebook Page to help make inviting easier.
“I know many rumors are circulating about Fall Fest,” said Gerlach. “What we know for certain is that the Fall Fest committee leadership has notified me of their resignation after many years of valuable service to our community.”
Gerlach said the time has come to convene as a community to establish a new Fall Fest Committee with new leadership to continue this long-standing tradition.
“I am optimistic that we will be able to come up with an answer at the Town Hall Meeting,” said Gerlach. “The more people we can tell about this meeting, the better. Without community involvement in the Town Hall meeting, we won’t have Fall Fest, this year and possibly from now on.”
In other business at last week’s meeting, the council:
• Approved the city’s annual insurance coverage through Bennett Agency. The insurance contract was for $68,744.
• Approved helping two residents with their water and sewer leaks, due to water line breaks. The city normally forgives the sewer portion of the bills in these cases. One resident was forgiven $55, and the other was forgiven $555.
• Formally approved the city’s contract with Dondlinger Construction for the city’s major sewer project.
• Discussed food trucks in the community, and agreed by consensus that there needs to be some kind of regular permit structure, possibly on a daily basis. Council members are planning to discuss their permit ideas at the next council meeting.
• Noted that Mayor Gerlach was planning a lunch meeting for staff on April 20.
• Discussed code enforcement in the community, especially on dilapidated structures. The police department recommended a 30-day warning letter, and council members also suggested having an additional free citywide cleanup day.
• Approved three appointments to the EMS Department, Shawn Braynard, Katherine Godfrey and Clayton Hood. All are paid part-time positions, and finishes filling the department’s open positions. The council also set pay grade levels for the new EMS employees.
• Approved hiring LK Architects and spending up to $4,000 for design work on expansion of the Fire Department building.
• Discussed local rural fire contracts that are being covered by the Conway Springs Fire Department, and agreed that there should be a 5 percent increase in those contracts.
• Approved a service agreement on equipment at the water plant. Cost is $3,000 per year.
• Approved a bid of $1,023 from Triple B Construction to repair the concession stand roof in Central Park.
• Noted that a water main problem ended up causing damage to a sewer line, as well. Cost will be contained to that specific area of damage.
• Discussed the city’s new utility postcards, and reached consensus on a card layout and design. Approved a first order of the cards, and authorized staff to order additional cards when needed.
• Approved a request to order supplies for the city swimming pool. The supplies totaled $5,549. The council also approved the mayor’s appointment of pool staff members and pay recommendations. Council members also noted that fees at the new pool cannot be raised for two years because of the grant that helped fund the pool, and approved the fees from last year, with the addition of city staff and volunteers receiving free admission.
• Received an update from council member Daryle Smith on work he is doing with city staff on fund reports. Smith said the goal is to get better accounting of money in the city’s various funds, and how that information is being put into a report form. He said staff plans to have a report ready for the council once a month.