Latest City Council news
Last updated 12/22/2021 at 10:27am | View PDF
The final new member of the Fountain City Council was sworn in last week, and the council selected a new mayor pro tem – after a lengthy and confusing voting process.
It also was announced that to distinguish between two family members with the same last name, newly elected member Cory Applegate would be referred to as "Council Member Cory," while his father, Richard Applegate, would continue to be called "Council Member Applegate."
Gordon Rick was sworn in as the council member for Ward 1 on Dec. 14 at the beginning of the council's regular meeting. The other new council members had been sworn in on Nov. 23, but Rick had been out of town for Thanksgiving.
Tamara Estes, who has served as the Ward 2 representative since 2019, was elected by her fellow council members to serve as the mayor pro tem, which is a position that fills in should the mayor be absent.
Council members were asked to submit nominations for the position by writing names on a piece of paper, which then were collected by City Clerk Silvia Huffman. The idea was to develop a consensus on a potential nominee, then proceed to a vote. However, only six council members submitted names: two for Gordon Rick, two for Richard Applegate, and two for Estes. No one acknowledged not submitting a name, nor a reason for not participating.
What followed was a discussion as to how to vote since there was a three-way tie. Frederick Hinton moved for Gordon Rick to take the position. Rick seconded. The council voted 2-4, with Cory, Applegate, Estes and Mayor Sharon Thompson voting no. Detra Duncan said she was abstaining. This resulted in a conversation about what that meant for the vote, and Huffman called for a recess to allow City Attorney Troy Johnson to research the City Charter for guidance.
After a 15-minute recess, Johnson explained that a member who is silent on a vote is assumed to be a positive vote; abstaining from a vote simply means that vote is neither positive nor negative, and the total number of votes is decreased by 1. There needed to be a majority of 4 votes to pass this item.
Cory motioned to appoint Applegate, and Applegate seconded. That vote was 3-3, with Estes, Rick and Thompson voting no, and Duncan again abstaining.
Lastly, Rick motioned for Estes to be appointed, with Estes seconding. Applegate and Cory voted no, and Duncan again abstained, and the motion carried 4-2.
In other procedural matters, Rick requested that the council revisit the start time of council meetings. This was to be discussed on Dec. 21, and the outcome of that discussion will be reported on in next week's issue.
The issue of city employees serving on governing bodies of other cities also raised interest. Resident Fran Carrick said while she admired City Engineer Brandy Williams' enthusiasm for wanting to serve her city of residence – Colorado Springs – on its city council, the concept concerned her. City Manager Scott Trainor responded that he had begun to look into Fountain's personnel policies and that amendments on this topic may be presented in the near future to preempt any potential conflicts of interest.
In other business, the council approved the City Vision Statement and Strategic Priorities for 2022-24. Newly defined priorities are:
Set conditions and facilitate responsible development and carefully managed city growth, focused on efforts that maintain or improve existing city-wide infrastructure and services, while building reasonable capacity to meet future community needs.
Develop, coordinate and implement initiatives and programs, in collaboration with the community, that diversify city financial resources and invest in the Enduring Interests of the City Vision Statement.
Ensure highly professional, responsive and community-focused public safety resources, that provide reliable access to public safety services throughout the city's jurisdiction
Improve the quality and availability of parks and recreation opportunities, including athletics, outdoor recreation areas, youth programs and community gathering places.
Other items approved included:
Referral of an annexation request to add 22 acres attached to the previously approved Singer Ranch development, which is located south of Fontaine Boulevard north of The Glen.
Consolidation of two part-time positions in the Streets Department into one full-time slot to better recruit applicants.
Set a public hearing date of Jan. 25, 2022, to consider a liquor license for Family Dollar at 108 N. Santa Fe Ave. Huffman explained this would be a fermented beverage license, meaning beer is the primary product involved, and that the site falls outside the minimum radius required from a school.
The lease of two Mack trucks from Bruckner Truck Sales in Fountain, and financed through KS State Bank, for $40,604 annually for five years, an interest rate of 2.96 percent, and a final purchase payment of $180,000 at the end of the term if the city opts to keep them.