(Updated 6-30-14) Council discusses budget, gun signs, another SRMC tax referendum and executive session for city manager interviews

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Technically, when the Wellington City Council meets for a work session that isn’t a regular scheduled meeting, it’s to do a lot of the preparation work for the regularly scheduled Tuesday meetings. No action is ever binding during a work session.On Tuesday night, nothing was resolved, but a lot was said as the council sets the blueprint for the city policies ahead. It should be an interesting next six months at the council chambers.Here were some of the subjects the council is working on:The Wellington City BudgetThe council appears to have hammered out the budget and will submit a legal notice to the legal publication before holding a public hearing at its regular meeting on Tuesday Aug. 19. It will then vote to approve or turn down the budget thereafter.Interim City Manager Shane Shields said the 2015 budget if approved will remain at 51.57 mill levies equal to 2014. There are some adjustments made within the budget including a decrease in the general fund, and increase to the bonds and interest fund due to the Lincoln Avenue improvement project and an increase to the Wellington Public Library budget.More specific details on the changes to the city budget will be featured on this website at a later date. Open Gun Carry signsThe council will decide whether or not to post signs at its municipal buildings at a future meeting that will tell people that “The open carrying of firearms in this building isprohibited.”Wellington City Police Tracy Heath spoke to the council Tuesday and said he would recommend posting the signs on the front doors of all buildings owned by the city. However, he warned, the signs will have little impact if someone brings in a weapon as the law states people are allowed to do so.Heath said Kansas has always had an open carrying of firearms law.Heath said if signs are posted, a person could be asked to leave by law enforcement. If that person refuses to do so then he could be charged with criminal trespassing.A couple of council members said the signs placement would be an exercise in futility because it would not stop someone from using a weapon in a malicious way. Heath said he agrees but the sign is more for educating the public that Kansas has an open gun carry law and train employees on what to do in a situation when someone enters a municipal building wielding a weapon.Council did not specify a date when to bring this to a public session.Sumner Regional Medical CenterLeonard Hernandez, Sumner Regional Medical Center Administrator, made a verbal report to the council. Some of the items he reviewed:•SRMC was recently designated a rural hospital instead of an urban one. Hernandez said the designation will allow SRMC to procure a “Sole Community Provider” label and that in turn will help the hospital obtain more favorable reimbursement payments through Medicare not Medicaid as was previously reported. Auditors will be reviewing revenue figures since 1982 to determine how to accomplish this feat.Hernandez is also looking of getting SRMC involved with a pharmacy reimbursement program allowing the hospital to purchase pharmaceuticals at significant reduced rates. He also spoke about the refiguring of the hospital that will consolidate resources of the skilled nursing unit.•Dr. Joe Baker is still planning to come on board to set up a practice at the hospital, but it will take six to eight weeks or a couple of months, Hernandez said.•Dr. Gregg Shore, the recent surgeon, is nearing fully credentialed and is conducting more surgeries.•The SRMC board is also asking the city to add a referendum in November which would ask for a one cent sales tax to help fund the hospital. If approved the half-cent sales tax would sunset in January 2015 instead of July 2015 as originally intended and the full cent would start then. Essentially it will be an additional half-cent This will be a referendum to be discussed in the future. If it is going to be on the November ballot it must be filed in August. A one cent sales tax will raise $1.2 million, Hernandez said.Currently, a half-cent tax is designated to SRMC, and one percent is the maximum that can be acquired for the hospital. He suggested that the city repeal the half-cent currently on the books, as it will sunset in a few years and then add a full cent.“The days of being a self-sustaining hospital is unfortunately over,” Hernandez said. “Current reimbursement trends are dictating that.” •Hernandez said last month revenue at the hospital was at $2.3 million which is about how much revenue SRMC must generate just to break even for a month.“We haven’t had that good of month in a long, long time,” Hernandez said.Fluorination in waterThe council discussed whether or not Wellington needs to continue with is fluorination process in the city water. A majority of the council decided it was worthy to take it to the vote of the people. Again, if it is going on the ballot in November it must be filed in August.City Manager search The Wellington council discussed how to conduct the city manager hiring process and called in city attorney Mike Brown to clarify what the board can or cannot do. The Council is seeking a replacement for former manager Gus Collins who resigned in April.Mayor Roger Stallbaumer said he has read comments on the news website Sumner Newscow site who want to see the interviews conducted in public, and wondered if the council could do that.Brown said that interviews can be held in executive session due to the privacy of the individual but all binding action has to be made in open session.He said he knew of a community in which they narrowed the search to two to four candidates and then made the names public before making the hire. He can’t recall another community ever having city manager interviews conducted in open session.After a lengthy discussion about what to do, it was agreed that executive session should be used for some of the interview process.•••••The council then went into executive session for 45 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (27) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. -1 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 315 weeks ago “The days of being a self-sustaining hospital is unfortunately over,” Hernandez said. Really? Report Reply 0 replies · active 315 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down charlie · 315 weeks ago WTF? We have fluoride in our water now. We’ve had fluoride in our water and raised my kids on it and now my grand kids. Someone on the council has an agenda to get rid of it, and has talked the other good old boys into it. There is nothing wrong with adding fluoride to drinking water. If you want to be concerned about what’s in the water you drink, what about PO4(phospate). This stuff is added to the supply to remove corrosion from inside water lines. It is not regulated by the KDHE. I’m sure someone at the donut shop said fluoride is baddddddddd for you’ People, it’s all gossip. Leave it alone City Council. Decide what to do with my rough street and leave water quality to the professionals. Report Reply 0 replies · active 315 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Serious · 315 weeks ago You know, it’s amazing how tight the budgets are, yet, when I went to Jumpstart last night, EVERY law enforcement officer based out of Wellington was huddled around some truck, laughing and having such a good time. Mind you, this was on the clock. Now, why would the Sheriff Department need more money in their budget for another deputy, when they’re hanging out with the good ol’ boys at the gas station along with the city cops. Good use of finances right there… Report Reply 4 replies · active 314 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 315 weeks ago Get rid of the fluoride. It’ll save the city a few dimes. Who drinks the crap tap water anyway? Report Reply 0 replies · active 315 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down jim · 315 weeks ago No, no, no to the hospital grifting any more of our hard – earned money. Hey hospital, y ok u figure it out your own self. Balance *your* budget. I’m tired of paying for you and I wasn’t too happy with the exhorbitant bill you sent my family a while back either. You’re outta line and it’s time you pull your own weight. Report Reply 4 replies · active 314 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Guest 2 · 315 weeks ago Why do more than one of you break at the same time? They should be staggered so the rest of the officers are on patrol. Report Reply 0 replies · active 315 weeks ago +12 Vote up Vote down just wondering · 315 weeks ago I’ve always been pro hospital for Wellington. I was for the buying out of the Wellington Hospital to help St. Lukes. I’ve been for forgiving utility bills, sales tax, even the latest $800,000 from the City. But I’m kind of leaning towards the City needs to get out of the Hospital business and let someone else do it. My wife and I travel a lot, and most suburbs of larger cities don’t have hospitals. They have urgent care facilities. The hospitals are in cities where there are surgeons and specialists to support them. Wellington is basically a suburb of Wichita within a 30 minute drive. If I went to a bank to borrow money to keep my business afloat, the first thing the bank asks for are my profit and loss statement from my accountant. If I am loosing money, sorry no loan. My wife became ill in Pennsylvania and there was a urgent care facility about a mile from our hotel. We were very pleased with the service we received. This suburb population was a lot larger than our fair city. I think we need to look down the road and have a plan. For one thing, this plan should not include digging ourselves into a deeper hole with the hospital. If we gave it away, we would be money ahead. I know most won’t agree, but be open minded and think about it. Report Reply 0 replies · active 315 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Janet · 315 weeks ago I have no doubt that the advice from city attorney brown is very accurate that the city council does not have to interview the city manager candidates in public session. I challenge the city council though to have more transparency and interview the candidates in public session. I challenge the city council to advise the media of the background of the those that they feel are worthy of an interview. The community questions so many critical issues always in secret “Executive sessions” Why not be more transparent? If you want to be on the city council, be proud of your decisions and why you make those decisions and accept criticism in the community from those that disagree with you! TOO MANY EXECUTIVE SESSIONS! Report Reply 1 reply · active 315 weeks ago +26 Vote up Vote down Just A Thought · 315 weeks ago Well, Mr. Citizen, it seems you’ve figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the category where you’ve placed me. I’m stereotyped, standardized, characterized, classified, grouped, and always typical. Unfortunately, the reverse is true, I can never figure you out. From birth you teach your children that I’m the bogeyman, then you’re shocked when they identify with my traditional enemy… the criminal! You accuse me of coddling criminals… until I catch your kids doing wrong. You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer for having one cup. You pride yourself on your manners, but think nothing of disrupting my meals with your troubles. You raise hell with the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I’m picking on you. You know all the traffic laws… but you’ve never gotten a single ticket you deserve. You shout “foul” if you observe me driving fast to a call, but raise the roof if I take more than ten seconds to respond to your complaint. You call it part of my job if someone strikes me, but call it police brutality if I strike back. You wouldn’t think of telling your dentist how to pull a tooth or your doctor how to take out an appendix, yet you are always willing to give me pointers on the law. You talk to me in a manner that would get you a bloody nose from anyone else, but expect me to take it without batting an eye. You yell something’s got to be done to fight crime, but you can’t be bothered to get involved. You have no use for me at all, but of course it’s OK if I change a flat for your wife, deliver your child in the back of the patrol car, or perhaps save your son’s life with mouth to mouth breathing, or work many hours overtime looking for your lost daughter. So, Mr. Citizen, you can stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my work, calling me every name in the book, but never stop to think that your property, family, or maybe even your life depends on me or one of my buddies. Yes, Mr. Citizen, it’s me… the lousy cop! Report Reply 5 replies · active 314 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down SuCo Pride · 315 weeks ago Several suburbian hospitals and health centers are part of larger Medical Centers in nearby cities. I wonder what the response would be if the hospital were to approach Wesley or Via Christi about a takeover, under the agreement that they would maintain and operate the facility for a minimum of 20 years (only a suggest timeframe of course). I tend to believe that the City is in over it’s head with the hospital, but closing isn’t an option. A functioning hospital is a life-blood (pardon the pun) for struggling small communities. You can look at Olathe Health Systems and Shawnee Mission Health Systems as an example of how this is handled in the KC Metro. Report Reply 1 reply · active 315 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. 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