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The Rundown – City Commission raises minimum age to buy tobacco

Post Date:09/25/2019 9:37 AM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. Sept. 24, 2019, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission approved a T21 ordinance, which raises the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco products, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

The ordinance is based on a model policy developed by a national consortium of public health organizations, as presented by Tobacco 21, a national advocacy group. Ginny Chadwick, western regional director of Tobacco 21, said Newton was the 500th city in the nation to adopt T21.

All tobacco products are covered in the ordinance, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes (such as Juul), cigars, chewing tobacco, etc. Beginning next year, tobacco retailers will be required to obtain an annual license for each sales location, with an annual fee of $400, which is designed to offset the City’s costs of administering the ordinance and conducting compliance checks.

The change in the minimum age had been requested this summer by student members of STAND, a youth leadership initiative of Mirror Inc. and the Tobacco Leadership Team. The students said they hoped to reduce the widespread use of e-cigarettes among their peers. Newton Medical Center CEO Vallerie Gleason also advocated for the ordinance on behalf of the health care community.

Cottonwood Crossing Phase II

The Commission approved the creation of a Rural Housing Incentive District for Phase II of the Cottonwood Crossing multi-family housing development at Southeast 24th Street and I-135. This expansion will be to the south of the existing apartments and duplexes.

The Rural Housing Incentive District works like a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to capture the newly generated property tax revenue for up to 25 years to pay for construction of the necessary public improvements, such as utilities and streets. The City’s resolution will be sent to the Kansas Secretary of Commerce for consideration.

The developer, Alamar Farms, is also pursuing funding from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation in the form of a Moderate-Income Housing grant. In exchange for the grant, the developer agrees to reserve a specific number of units for income-qualified applicants.

Community recognition

The Commission recognized retired Asbury Park CEO Tom Williams for his years of community involvement and service.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Approved a development agreement for creation of a Community Improvement District for improvements at Holiday Inn Express. The CID implements an additional 2 percent sales tax on room nights at the hotel, which will fund approximately $1.23 million in planned improvements. The City will be permitted to retain a 5 percent administrative fee on funds collected through the CID.
  2. Approved a request to close Main Street on Oct. 10 for the Taste of Newton.
  3. Approved a request to close Main Street on Oct. 31 for the Halloween Walk.
  4. Proclaimed Sept. 30 as Kansas Honor Flight Day.
  5. Proclaimed Oct. 6-12 as Fire Prevention Week.
  6. Approved a Consent to Merger and Assumption Agreement for Park Aerospace Corp.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or