Pratt City Commission: Unanimous vote extends term limits for commissioners

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt city commissioners (starting second from left) Zach Deeds, Jeanette Siemens, Mayor Gary Schmidt, Don Peters and Kyle Farmer met in regular session April 5.

Pratt city commissioners voted to extend their own service term limits at their regular meeting Monday, April 5, where Mayor Gary Schmidt presided with commissioners Zach Deeds, Kyle Farmer, Don Peters and Jeanette Siemens, all in attendance.

A unanimous vote approved replacing a decade-old ordinance which set city commissioner term limits at two consecutive two-year terms, with a new ordinance extending term limits to three consecutive three-year terms.

Commissioners discussed the issue at length last December without taking action, opting to postpone a vote on the matter to encourage public input before taking action.

The revised ordinance, as adopted, also stipulates that after serving the maximum time of nine years, a three-term commissioner would have to remain out of office for a period of at least one year.

“I think this represents most of the discussion we had publicly and in our workshop,” Mayor Schmidt said.

Also stipulated in the new ordinance is that, should a mid-term vacancy occur, a termed-out city commissioner would be eligible to be appointed to fill the seat.

“I think it’s really important to have that,” Peters said. “Point made, that’s experience coming in.”

In other business, commissioners heard plans for Octoberfest and Back to Pratt Jamboree--popular community events canceled last year due to COVID—are in the planning stages for this fall, both given a green light by

Dakota Holtgrieve presented Octoberfest plans and Stacy Hanson presented plans for Pratt Jamboree.

Oktoberfest is set for Saturday, September 25, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Green Sports Complex and Pratt Jamboree will be a three-day event, October 8, 9 and 10, which is also Columbus Day weekend.

“Oktoberfest has been a great community event and also a tremendous fundraiser,” Holtgrieve said, noting that Hope Center and Pratt Food Bank have been primary beneficiaries in past years.

“It’s a fun event and, hopefully, in a safe way, we get people back together and have a little healthy social interaction,” Holtgrieve said.

City Attorney Regina Goff said she would prepare a resolution for the April 19 City Commission meeting to formalize approval for the Oktoberfest event.

Updating commissioners on Back-to-Pratt Jamboree 2021, Hanson said that American Legion Post 86 members have already stepped up with offers to be in charge of all performance events planned at Jack Ewing Park on Saturday, October 9.

“It’s starting to look and feel real,” Hanson said. “The plans are fun and the feedback we’re getting is a bunch of excited people,” Hanson said.

In other business, commissioners:

* approved purchase of a model-year 2022 F250 4x4 style-side pickup for use at Greenlawn Cemetery from Lanterman Motors who submitted the low of two bids at $30,544, with trade-in allowance for a 2001 Dodge 1500 pickup. Pratt Public Works Director Russ Rambat said the new vehicle will replace a 2001 Dodge 1500 pickup.

* approved an ordinance rezoning 1600 East First Street, located west of Southwest Truck Parts, Inc., from C-S Highway Service to C-2 General Commercial, which, according to Pratt Building Inspector Brad Blankenship was recommended by the Pratt City Planning Commission following a Public Hearing March 18.

City commissioners will meet again in regular session at City Hall Commission Chambers, 619 South Main Street, at 5 p.m. Monday, April 19.