Commission bans open carry in 42 city buildings

By Bryan Richardson

City commissioners unanimously approved banning the open carry of firearms in 42 buildings during their meeting Tuesday.

The vote was 4-0; commissioner John Matta was absent from the meeting.

Tuesday was the official start of changes in the state’s gun law.

Government entities are allowed to prohibit open carry within their buildings by putting up signage that explicitly bans the practice.

The policy would ban open carry in various city buildings including City Hall, Manhattan Public Library, the fire stations and the airport.

However, the city can’t ban open carry outdoors, which creates conflicting situations even within the same area.

As an example, the ban at Sunset Zoo would apply to the Nature Exploration Center, but open carry would be allowed in the outdoor areas of the park.

Visitors bureau quarterly report


The Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) presented its second quarterly report during the meeting.

CVB director Karen Hibbard presented data from Smith Travel Research that showcased the bureau’s performance in bringing people to Manhattan as well as hotel data.

From March 15 through June 15, the CVB helped host 75 groups with an estimated economic impact of $8,872,513.

During the same time last year, 69 groups were hosted at an economic impact of $6,219,742.

That’s an estimated $2.65 million increase, but Hibbard said the impact associated with these groups fluctuates based on the rotation of conferences, group size and the length of stay.

The number of hotel rooms in the city is the same as it was in 2013: 1,263.

Through May, the hotel occupancy rate is 53 percent and the “RevPar” is $46.73.

RevPar is the room revenue divided by the number of rooms available.

Through May 2013, the hotel occupancy was 55.6 percent the RevPar was $48.11.

While the numbers through the year are down in comparison to last year, the numbers trended up in the month of May.

The hotel occupancy rate was 63.6 percent this May compared with 61.4 percent last May.

The RevPar was $59.70 this May compared to $54.46 last May.


Other agenda items


The commission approved adjusting the minimum salaries for 119 non-union positions for $38,800 based on a McGrath Consulting Group study.

It also approved the city administration beginning to develop a step pay schedule for the 2016 budget process, moving away from the merit-based system.

In the consent agenda, the commission approved amending the contract with Bruce McMillan Architects to complete the final design of the Department of Parks and Recreation expansion and City Auditorium renovation, including memorial options for the auditorium lobby.

Commissioners decided at the June 3 meeting that the stage at the auditorium, known as Peace Memorial Auditorium, could stay and the parks department offices would be built in a City Hall addition.

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