Feb 13, 2020 9:22 PM

Special City Council meeting Friday

Posted Feb 13, 2020 9:22 PM

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Hutchinson City Council will be meeting in a special session Friday afternoon to take a step toward finding common ground when it comes to code enforcement within the city. It’s an issue that has created much conversation and some controversy over how city codes are enforced.

“Basically what it’s going to be is a discussion about the code enforcement policy within the city,” Planning Director Ryan Hvitlok said. “We have been getting some complaints . . . so the council is looking into it and asked the housing commission to look into it.”

Most of the complaints center around code enforcement connected to rental property. The three-year-long battle between landlords and the city eventually led to any type of rental inspection or licensing program being eliminated. So where does it start from here?

“We’re not going to be reinventing the wheel,” Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho said. “I think when you talk about balance there is always going to be those people who push the edges. I don’t think you can design your policy for those exceptions because you’re always going to end up penalizing that vast majority of people, which is exactly what we’re doing.”

But there are those who want to have stricter enforcement, especially when it comes to property value issues.

“We certainly are trying to improve property values,” Hvitlok said. “Because the quiet voice that’s not before the City Council but we hear a lot is from the neighbors who say, 'hey, when are you going to have my neighbor clean up his property.' Those are the voices we’re not hearing at the City Council.”

The issue of code enforcement is being met from several sides although Piros de Carvalho says she’s confident all sides are looking for a common goal.

“It comes across like we’re on two different sides . . . three different sides and I don’t think that’s the case,” Piros de Carvalho said. “I think we all have the same overarching goal it’s just we need to talk about how we can meet that goal that feels right to all parties involved.”

Hvitlok hopes the dealings over the past three years with the rental registration program will give some push to coming up with new ideas.

“We’ve learned from the rental registration conversation and we really want everybody to be on the same page,” Hvitlok said.

Friday's meeting begins at 3 p.m. in the Hutchinson city offices.

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Feb 13, 2020 9:22 PM
Reps. Marshall, Craig Announce Launch of Congressional Pet Caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More Americans than ever before are pet owners. About 67 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet and of course, highly value the well being of their companion animals. Americans young and old have embraced pet ownership and recognize the positive impact of the human-animal bond.

Today, U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. announced the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Pet Caucus, alongside his colleague Congresswoman Angie Craig (D-MN), which will focus on health and nutritional wellbeing of companion animals, commonsense legislation supporting pet ownership, and science-based and transparent regulations.

“Like so many Americans, my family and I cherish our pets - my wife and I have two labs, Razor and Choco, and a yorkie, Pepper - and recognize the benefits companion animals have for Americans of all ages,” said Rep. Marshall. “Pet owners value the health and wellbeing of their animals and want safe, nutritious and affordable food and care options. Through the Congressional Pet Caucus, we will promote sensible legislation, communicate the benefits of the human-animal bond and share resources with caucus members related to pet health and ownership.”

“I am honored to announce the Congressional Pet Caucus today alongside my co-chair, Rep. Roger Marshall (KS-1),” said Rep. Angie Craig. “Dogs, cats and all pets bring joy to our lives. However, it’s the companionship that pets can provide for our returning veterans, those with different abilities and for victims of violence that matters most. I was proud to support the PAWS Act earlier this year and look forward to working on legislation that benefits the hard-working folks in Minnesota’s Second Congressional district and our furry friends.”

Kansas plays a unique role in meeting the growing health and nutritional needs of pets and their owners. The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which encompasses much of Northwest and East Central Kansas, now represent 56 percent of total worldwide animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales. These companies have modernized their ingredient lists and packaging options to meet the unique needs of dogs, cats and other household pets. The Congressional Pet Caucus will play a role in ensuring these companies have the ability to continue to innovate and serve the growing number of household pets both nationally and abroad.

“Pets are an important part of the household for two-thirds of Americans,” said Dana Brooks, President and CEO of the Pet Food Institute. “As we further understand the value of the human-animal bond, it’s critical to have a legislative voice to help foster and advance pet nutrition and well being. The Pet Food Institute thanks Representatives Craig and Marshall for their leadership of the Congressional Pet Caucus.”

“Working together to make sure that our beloved dogs and cats benefit from the best possible care, nutrition and responsible pet ownership is something all Americans can agree on,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, President of Nestlé Purina PetCare. “The bipartisan Congressional Pet Caucus will help champion important legislation and pet-friendly policies that will improve the lives of pets and the people who love them, and we applaud Representatives Marshall and Craig for their leadership.”