News and Highlights

Hutchinson City Council Bans E-cigs, Vaping in Most Public Places

The Hutchinson City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday banning the use of electronic cigarettes in most public areas and workplaces.

City Attorney Paul W. Brown said the ordinance closely mirrored the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act that went into effect in 2010.

The new ordinance includes exemptions for smoke shops, including e-cigarette shops, private clubs, up to 20 percent of hotel rooms, casinos and designated smoking areas of long-term care facilities.

The ordinance requires businesses to post no smoking or vaping signs.

Sondra Borth, of Communities That Care of Reno County, said that organization could provide the signs free of charge. Businesses can reach Communities That Care at (620) 615-4018 or borths@usd308.com.

High school student members of Communities That Care lobbied the City Council, requesting the ordinance at the beginning of September, arguing that secondhand e-cigarette aerosol poses a health risk to non-users. At a later public hearing, Reno County Health Department gave its support to the ordinance. Vapor shops and their customers and employees argued that e-cigarettes’ value in helping smokers quit outweighed any public health risk.

No supporters or opponents of the ordinance spoke Tuesday.

At a previous council meeting, council members Nancy Soldner and Jon Daveline said they thought it was important to have consistency in rules for smoking and vaping. Council member David Inskeep said he wanted to be cautious until more research is done on the health effects of secondhand aerosol.

Council member Steve Dechant asked Brown about some of the definitions in the ordinance. Brown said they matched the definitions in the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act except for a few revisions to include e-cigarettes.

The ban goes into effect after the city publishes the full ordinance Friday in the official paper of record, The Hutchinson News.

Change in agreement with Convention/Visitors Bureau

A change earlier this year in the city’s agreement with the Atrium Hotel for conference center improvements is now paying off for the Greater Hutchinson Convention/Visitors Bureau.

Now that the city is retaining 1 percent transient guest tax for maintenance of tourism-related facilities, the city is ending a requirement for the tourism bureau to pay back a portion of its 4 percent guest tax to the city for those facilities.

The previous agreement started with a $25,000 payment to the city. Because of increases in collections over the years, that had risen to around $60,000 a year, City Manager John Deardoff said. The 1 percent the city is now retaining results in around $90,000 a year.

In place of the payment to the city, the tourism bureau will set aside one-tenth of its guest tax revenue, up to $50,000, for recruitment of large events to the city. Such events should result in 500 additional hotel stays in Hutchinson. That could be 250 rooms for two nights or 100 rooms for five nights, Deardoff said.

"There is enormous potential with our new facility," Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho said, referring to the renovation and expansion of the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

The Convention/Visitors Bureau will make one final $27,178 payment to the city. The council unanimously approved the new agreement.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved selling about $5 million in general obligation bonds for reconstruction of a fire station, repairs at City Hall, projects at Carey Park Golf Course and Fun Valley and starting work on the Hutchinson Sports Arena renovation and expansion. The city had eight bidders, with Country Club Bank winning the bonds with an interest rate of 1.96 percent. Director of Finance Frank Edwards said the winning bid would save $37,000 in the first year alone compared to the average rate of the bids.
  • Granted a conditional use permit for an electrician apprentice school to open in a building at 200 W.Second Ave. that has been vacant for several years.
  • Greeted 12 AmeriCorps volunteers working with Interfaith Housing Services Inc. for seven weeks. Jeff Thompson said another group may be here for 13 weeks in spring 2016.
  • Met in closed session for an hour to discuss personnel issues, employee negotiations and trade secrets of a third party. No action was taken after the closed session.
  • Made proclamations for National Hospice Month and Veterans Appreciation Month.
Credit/Source:
By Adam Stewart - The Hutchinson News
Posted On Nov 3, 2015
 
Council Support

Photo courtesy Jacob Byk / The Hutchinson News

Electric cigarettes (e-cigs) are seen on display at Hutch Vapor on July 10, 2015.

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