The regular Independence City Commission meeting met on Valentine's Day, 5:30 p.m. in the Veterans Room of Memorial Hall. The meeting ended with an hour and five minute executive session for personnel matters of non-elected personnel, after which no action was taken. 

The commission approved a request to hold a drag racing event at the Independence Airport in May. Airport Manager Cody Shamblin and Ryan Fischer of SHIFT-S3CTOR presented the plan. SHIFT-S3CTOR specializes in a half mile drag airport runway races. Fisher described SHIFT-S3CTOR as a "solid organization with a lot of good experience." Fisher said the organization was interested in Independence for its central vicinity to regular competitors and attendees, citing Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Wichita and Tulsa as popular areas. Fisher met with the airport previously and has gained their permission to hold the event. "We understand we're guests, we're the guests coming into your town, this is your property, we're just trying to work together to do something good and we want to respect everyone and their facilities," said Fisher. City Manager Craig Whitehead reported Textron, the pilots and the Experimental Aircraft Association have given their blessing for the event. The event is scheduled for May 25 and 26.

Mayor Louis Ysusi signed an agreement from the Recreation Committee to USD 446 to extend water services and an addendum to extend water services for the district's new bus facility.

Ysusi also signed an agreement with TreanorHL to prepare State Historic Tax Credit application services for city hall's phase one renovation.

The Labette Health Economic Development Testing Report was presented to the commission. CEO Brian Williams reported as of Dec. 31, 2018, 70 of Labette Health's 84 employees reside in Montgomery County, and 51 of the 84 reside in Independence, which meets the agreement Labette signed to fill 50 percent of their positions with citizens of Montgomery County. Williams also reported 2018 was the single best year for the hospital in terms of profitability, adding the hospital garnered a 6.5 percent net profit margin. "This day and age hospitals are pleased if they can squeeze a 1.5 percent profit margin." Williams accredited this profit margin to "doing the right thing" together with Independence and thanked the city for their cooperation with Labette, "We've come a long way, 2015-2018."

The commission also accepted a donation agreement with Labette Health for three IV pumps. Four pumps were listed in total, and Director of Safety and Code Enforcement David Cowan clarified to the commission one pump was being donated to Cherryvale, but Independence would receive the other three.

City Manager Whitehead suggested the commission move their Feb. 20 work session meeting from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. as the hall was rented out for student testing. The work session is open to the public.

Commissioner Gary Hogsett said he was pleased with the January sales tax report. The first month of the YY2019 Sales Tax Revenue account has been released from the city of Independence's offices. The January report shows the month's sales tax revenue is up 5.6 percent from last year. January 2019 increased $9,137 from January 2018 with receipts totaling $172,377. January 2019 sales tax receipts are the highest for the month of January since 2009. 

According to the city manager's office, sales tax budgeted for FY2019 would project at $137,419 over the budgeted amount of $1,931,100 on a straight-line projection. 

It is important to note, "receipts" reported for any given month are from sales generated two months prior, so the January receipts shown were from sales in November 2018.

Hogsett also inquired if the commission would add time to the next agenda to discuss expanding the board to five commissioners. The board agreed. 

The next city commission meeting will be held Feb. 28 in the Veterans Room of Memorial Hall, 5:30 p.m.