Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner City Council authorized a new agreement with the Gardner Chamber of Commerce.
The one year agreement ends on December 2021 and provides $40,000 for business services.
Jason Camis, chamber president, said 2020 had been an off year.
“What we learned is we have to be flexible and willing to pivot,” he said.
Camis shared with council what the chamber had been working on for the year.
He said they are still focused on growth, bringing people together and championing a stronger community.
Camis said they had supplied PPE supplies, given vital information for business loans, resources and funding and put together a restaurant dining guide for the pandemic.
The chamber produced the Good News Gardner Live Show, assisted with Harvesters, the City farmer’s market and citywide garage sale, he said.
Camis said they had promoted tourism still in little ways and given an extra effort promoting local shopping.
“Members generally like what we do,” he said.
Camis said they were excited about their new rebranding campaign and partnered with Strategy from Olathe.
“We want people to know we are the same chamber with the same focus and efforts,” he said.
Camis said the chamber had been through four name changes in eight years.
He said the new brand is Gardner Chamber established 1975.
Camis said the chamber’s plans for 2021 were to deliver new resident welcome bags to each resident’s homes at the end of February, give ribbon cuttings and promotions for new area businesses that opened in 2020 and didn’t receive one, revisit  tourism plans for 2022 and possible association health insurance for businesses.
Five or six businesses are looking to move across town because they need more space and businesses are looking to move here, he said.
“We have a strong partnership between services and resident,” Camis said.
Randy Gregoryck, council member, said he wanted to know the transient tax balance.
“It is surprisingly good,” Matt Wolff, finance director said.
Wolff said the city had $200,000 revenue and a $136,000 balance.
Gregoryck said he wanted to know how many businesses Gardner lost in 2020.
Camis said he could count them on one hand, and it was about two or three.
“Businesses are very resilient,” he said.
Gregoryck said he supports the chamber and would love to see Camis more often than annually.
Camis said he would make an effort to come by city hall more often.
-Mayor Steve Shute presented a proclamation to Gardner Edgerton High School sophomore Kylie Lynn Hayes for placing 4th nationally at the National Field Archery Association 2020 Outdoor National Field Championships, 3rd nationally in the NFAA Outdoor National Target Championships and 1st in the First Dakota Classic Championships.
Shute said after two days of competition Hayes scored 599 out of 600 tournament points. She ranks in the top 15 in the nation.
Hayes will now compete for placement on the USA Junior National Team.
-Council members discussed former council member Rich Melton’s vacant council seat.
Gregoryck said he had concerns if someone was appointed to the seat for the next three years instead of elected how they will represent citizens.
Ryan Denk, city attorney, said you want some continuity of leadership with turnovers, and it is challenging to back-fill seats.
Mark Baldwin, council member, said there had been a lot of appointment positions for the city dating back to 2010.
“Each mayor said to do better with the process,” he said.
Baldwin said the city should look at appointing the first runner-ups in elections and a person who pours everything into a campaign should have the first opportunity to fill a position.
Tory Roberts, council member, and Steve Shute, mayor, said it was too late now to change the process.
“We are far along the route we are going,” Todd Winters, council president, said.
Winters said they had received five applications and the application period had closed.
Gregoryck said Baldwin’s suggestion would have meant more at a different time.
“Words had more gravity had we known what we know now,” he said.
Roberts said the way former council member Melton had handled his resignation after the council meeting and using the city’s video equipment to make a public announcement on his social media after were sketchy.
“He didn’t want it publicly announced,” Shute said. “I was respecting his wishes.”
-City council addressed a citizen to shoot off fireworks February 7 if the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
Baldwin said he was against it because then it would open up fireworks for any event.
Shute said a lot of people will be shooting of fireworks and wanted to know how it would be enforced.
Baldwin, Roberts and Gregoryck said the city should keep the firework ordinances the same.
“Fireworks are a passion in this community,” Gregoryck said. “It is a positive short term economic boost, but now is not the time and we should treat it like any other night.”