The Wellington city council meeting for the month of May began with an encouraging invocation by Reverend Debra Schmidt of First Presbyterian Church, touching on the recent events in Moore, Okla. All council and city officials were present, aside from Vince Wetta.
Following the invocation, Tim Hay, Wellington Fire/EMS Chief, touched on the same subject. He started off by naming two of the shelters, located at the hospital and the Sumner County Health Center. A FEMA qualified shelter is also located at the Woodlands RV Park, 1815 north A,. However, he did suggest that citizens attempt to find shelter in their own home or business.
Severe weather awareness is usually at its highest after an event such as the Moore disaster, but Hay stressed that the time to be prepared is now. "The interest does peak after you suffer a loss," he said.
"Which isn't the time for the interest to peak."
Hay also mentioned that if severe weather does occur, the sirens will only be sounded if the National Weather Bureau places Wellington under a tornado warning or if a reliable storm spotter locates a tornado. The sirens will not be sounded again for an all-clear signal.
"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. You better have a plan," said Councilman Jim Valentine. "The city can do what they can do, and they will do it, but you have to have a plan of your own also.
"If this memorandum that Chief Hay put out saves one life, it's worth every bit of ink on this piece of paper," said Valentine. "I applaud the city for what they've done this morning."
The consent agenda, which included last meeting's minutes, appropriations and council correspondence was approved following the severe storm discussion.
During the reports of city officials, the topic of the Capital Improvement Plan was discussed. The CIP is meant to determine and apply community values and goals. Citizen input on the CIP is encouraged through Planning Commission meetings and public hearings. The first public meeting is scheduled for June 13, at 6 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium, 208 N. Washington. The CIP also allows public officials to make effective decisions and to use the resources of the city as best as possible.
Almost 90 projects have been submitted to the office of Gus Collins, the city manager. The plan will be spread over a five-year period, worth millions of dollars. The current objective with the CIP is to look at projects needed in the next five years and start providing funding for those projects.
The meeting was wrapped up with resolutions, which included the sale of Series 2013 general obligation bonds and the request for a 2013 John Deere 5065E utility tractor for the golf department at the amount of $22,400. Both resolutions were approved.
Page 2 of 2 - Severe weather awareness and the CIP took leading roles in the meeting, as they both pertain to the state and well-being of the city. The next city council meeting will be held June 6 at the city administration building.
Dalton Carver is a freelance writer for the Wellington Daily News. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.