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City Manager's Update - June 27, 2020

Post Date:06/27/2020

Commission Retreat for Strategic Visioning

Dr. Mike Mowery, vice president at Strategic Government Resources (SGR), will facilitate an all-day work session/leadership retreat for the City Commission next Tuesday, June 30 at Meridian Center. We will start at 9 am and the day will include a working lunch. We will adjourn no later than 5 pm. Senior staff and department heads will also be in attendance. 

Independence Day Holiday

A reminder that City (and County) offices will be closed next Friday, July 3rd, in observance of Independence Day.

COVID Grant Award

Earlier this week we were notified that the City has been awarded a Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) grant in the amount of $32,480 from the State of Kansas. The grant funds will be used toward supplies such as N95 masks, latex gloves, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and ozone disinfecting machines for public buildings. Thank you to Communications Director Erin McDaniel for writing another successful grant application! 

Convention & Visitors Bureau

CVB Director Melody Spurney reports that the Mid-America Youth Basketball (MAYB) Summer Kickoff tournament is in town this weekend. Newton and Hesston will host the 8th grade boys at Chisholm Middle School, Newton High School, and Hesston High School. There are 34 teams scheduled, coming from Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Iowa, New Mexico, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. Halstead will also host a different age group.  You may have heard in the news this week that several new COVID cases were linked to last weekend's tournaments in Hays and Wichita. This article features comments from the MAYB president about precautions they are taking. Several local businesses are stating that masks are mandatory for anyone entering their shops, in part because of the recent cases in Harvey County and in part because of the tournament.

Fire/EMS

Chief Steve Roberson reports the Fire/EMS budget support team has once again struck gold, as we were notified that we have been awarded a $4,000, 50% match grant through the Kansas Forestry Service. We applied for the grant late last year with the intent of coupling these funds with some of our own and utilizing them to purchase equipment for the newly acquired brush truck. These funds will be used to purchase the tank, hand tools, hose lines and other various equipment. We are very proud of the work our budget support team has done over the past few years. Their hard work and stick-to-it attitude have brought some much-needed fiscal relief to our citizens.

Fireworks 

The City Clerk's office has issued 11 permits for firework sales. As a reminder, dates of sale and discharge are as follows:

Sales:

  • July 1-3 from 10 am to 10 pm
  • July 4 from 7 am to 10 pm
  • July 5 from noon to 10 pm

Discharge:

  • July 1-3 from 10 am to 10 pm
  • July 4 from 7 am to midnight
  • July 5 from noon to 10 pm

Historic Preservation

Yesterday we were notified that the City has been awarded a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in the amount of $12,400 to be used toward disaster planning in the historic districts. Per the grant guidelines, the project must be completed prior to September 2021. Special thanks to our HP Officer, Rebecca Likiardopoulos, for writing the grant and developing another resource for our property owners and emergency managers.

Newton Flag Project

The steering committee held three community meetings to promote the project and receive input about what a potential new city flag might look like or include. The committee plans to release all of that information and open the contest for design submissions next week. Committee members are also actively working to put together the judging panel. Submissions will be accepted throughout July, with the public voting to begin in August. You can follow along with the process at facebook.com/NewtonKSFlag.

Meridian Center

General Manager Michael Lunsford reports the Meridian Center has had its busiest event week since restrictions were lifted. In addition, a group of loyal repeat customers continue requesting take home meals from Chef Katie. As summer months are usually slower for event bookings even under normal circumstances, the team has been planning several community events to fill the gap. Michael recently began advertising a birthday party for those who didn't get to celebrate during the pandemic and Chef Katie is working with her comedy connections in the Wichita and Kansas City areas to plan a summer comedy series which the team is very excited about.

Municipal Swimming Pool

A work session with the Newton Recreation Commission specific to the municipal swimming pool, is scheduled for July 7th at noon at Meridian Center. Lunch will be provided.

Police Department

On Thursday, the Police Department received the following kudos message on our Facebook page.

"I want you to know about a situation that took place Tuesday night in your area. I want to express my deep appreciation for the Harvey County Sheriffs deputies and the Newton Police Department. My daughter and my three small grandsons were traveling through your area and had a tire blow out with no spare late at night. They were stranded on the highway. They were three hours away from anyone they knew. The police responded to their situation and made sure they were safe at a local hotel with their vehicle towed. I can't express how much I appreciate them keeping the people I value most, safe. I believe I am one of the less noisy majority who appreciate and value the service your officers offer our communities! THANK YOU!!! You should be proud of your officers! - Michael Porter" 

We are, indeed, very proud of our officers and their continued professional conduct, caring attitude, and servant leadership!

 

Kelly McElroy
City Manager

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