Pratt city leaders consider term-limit changes, community input sought

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Social distancing and masks were the order of business for the December 7 Pratt City Commission meeting, which was also broadcast as a Zoom session. (From left) City Attorney Regina Probst, Commissioner Zach Deeds, Mayor Gary Schmidt, Commissioner Gary Meyer, City Manager Bruce Pinkall, Police Chief Nate Humble and audience members, commissioners-elect Jeanette Siemens and Kyle Farmer took part in the meeting.

Pratt city commissioners are seeking public input regarding whether the current two-term limit ordinance that has been in place for 10 years should be continued or rescinded before voting on the issue at their regular Monday, December 21 meeting.

At the December 7 Commission meeting, held on Zoom, Commissioner Doug Meyer who was not eligible to run for a third term in November requested vote on the matter be postponed to give Pratt voters opportunity to express their opinions.

“I don’t want to do something that gives appearance of doing something behind closed doors,” said Meyer.

Pratt City Attorney Regina Probst said conditions attached to the term-limit ordinance which was enacted in 2010 by a petition that put it on the ballot have expired and that commissioners have the option to repeal it.

“Nobody (on the commission) will benefit in the short term,” Probst said.

City commissioners discussed the pros of rescinding the ordinance, including the learning curve involved.

“I’d like to see it rescinded,” said Commissioner Don Peters, who attended remotely. “I’ve always felt like if somebody is not doing their job, they ought to be voted off.”

Commissioner Jason Leslie, who chose not to seek a second term in the 2020 November election, expressed his opinion that it would be a benefit to the city and to residents to have the term-limit ordinance repealed.

Commissioner Zach Deeds voiced his support of rescinding the term-limit ordinance, based on the continuity factor, as did Commissioner Meyer and Mayor Gary Scmidt..

“Someone would have to describe to me how it has served well in prior years because I just can’t paint that picture,” Deeds said.

Pratt voters are encouraged to express their opinions by letter or email to bpinkall@cityofprattks.com or attending the December 21 meeting, at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Letters may be deposited in the mail drop at City Hall, 619 South Main, or sent by U.S. Mail to that address.

City Manager Bruce Pinkall requested that those planning to attend in person contact City Clerk LuAnn Kramer, phone 620-672 6446, in advance so they can be advised if the meeting will be held by Zoom and given information to join the meeting online.

In other business, commissioners approved liquor license requests presented by Police Chief Nate Humble, who advised that the applicants met all the city code requirements.

Approved for 2021 liquor licenses were The Chapeau,701 North  Main; Pizza Hut, 228 East First Street; Love's, 1412 East First Street;  Dillon's, 1108 East First Street;  Ampride, 916 South Main; Casey's,  1900 East First Street and  Wal-Mart, 2003 East First Street.

Humble said other applications will be presented for approval at a future meeting.

Commissioners also approved 2021 agreements with Probst and with the Pratt Area Humane Society, with no amendments.

Giving kudos to Probst and mentioning issues the city has faced in past months, Commissioner Peters said, “I think we’re very fortunate to have Regina as our city attorney. She’s dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s that I can think of.”

Pinkall reported that city sales tax revenues are continuing to be on track to give Pratt City a banner year for that revenue stream, giving credit to the hard work of city merchants.

Also in attendance for the December 7 meeting were for the meeting were Commissioners-Elect Jeanette Siemens and Kyle Farmer, who take office in January, succeeding Commissioners Leslie, who chose not to seek reelection, and Meyer, who completed two terms allowed under current city code.

Attending remotely, along with Commissioner Peters, were City Clerk LuAnn Kramer and Commissioner Leslie.