City Council Discusses New Office, Petitions at Special Meeting

By REX ZIMMERMAN

UPDATED 4/4/18: The Kiowa City Council met in special session Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. to handle three items of business. All council members present were present- Bill Watson, R.L. Simpson, Russ Molz, Brian Hill and Tom Wells- along with Mayor Ron Rohr.

City to Join WEDA

In opening business, council approved joining the World Economic Development Alliance (WEDA) for a six month trial period at a cost of $2,900. The alliance, headquartered in Dallas, TX, has contacts throughout the country and world and is focused on promoting and working to find business possibilities for rural areas.

City Administrator Lou Leone said WEDA works as a “job/business broker”. He added that there are two areas he is already looking at- ammunition manufacturers and telemarketing. Councilman Wells said he has seen WEDA’s efforts in Dumas, TX and noted that it seemed to really work well for that community. The city has $14,000 budgeted for economic development since it no longer is a member of the county’s economic development group.

Mr. Leone also said that a new website program has been purchased out of capital improvements fund for the city that will present a better looking site for viewers, including prospective businesses, while making it easier for city staff to keep updated.

New City Office Update

Council visited with John Terwort about the new city office and plans for remodeling. Terwort, who sold the building to the city, said that the closing date on the purchase is April 18, but he requested that council allow him to begin remodeling work on the building immediately as he is scheduled to be gone beginning in mid-May. He hoped he could get as much work done as possible before turning the remainder of the project over to another contractor.

Council gave approval for Mr. Terwort to work with the city administrator on the project to get things rolling. Along with that information, Mr. Leone said that he has already contacted two banks that are interested in financing the purchase and remodeling of the new building as well as the repair and remodel of the present city office, and one more local bank has also shown interest. Council agreed to hold a special meeting on Monday, April 9, at 8:00 a.m. to review a final plan for the city office project.

Petitions Discussed

City Attorney Laurel McClellan next gave council an update on a pair of petitions that were presented to the city.

The first petition was in reference to Ordinance 18-450, which was passed by council in February. That ordinance officially put the hiring and firing of city personnel under  the . Previous to that, the mayor was allowed to hire or fire personnel at will.

Mr. McClellan said that since the ordinance passed by council was a regular ordinance, it was not allowed to be challenged by a public petition, as that method of requesting a public vote is reserved only for charter ordinances.

One charter ordinance that was challenged by petition, however, was Ordinance 18-018, which council also passed in February and does away with the term limit regulation for council and mayor positions.

The city attorney reported that the petition did not meet the proper language requirements. It was not known if another petition would be circulated that meets the requirements. The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect 61 days after its final publication in The Kiowa News, which was February 28.

The city administrator said that he could find no other city of Kiowa’s size (Class 3) that has term limits, and could find only six other cities in the entire state that still have term limits.

In final action, council was informed that health insurance would be a topic of discussion at the April 16 regular meeting, and that the city now controlled the vacant lot at the corner of 7th and Main where the former bowling alley was located, and that groups such as the Chamber of Commerce could now be allowed to use the property.