Ron Mellick is running for one of three city commission positions expiring in 2019 on the Hays City Commission. In a brief biography and Q&A with The Hays Daily News, Mellick stated his position on issues before the commission.
Registered voters in Hays decide this fall on who will fill the three vacancies. There are five candidates. Party affiliation doesn’t matter for the city commission seats, which are nonpartisan positions. New commissioners take office in January 2020 and serve four-year terms.
Early voting starts Monday in the Ellis County Clerk’s office of the county administrative building at 718 Main. The election is Nov. 5.
Other city commission candidates are Michael Berges, Mason Ruder, Henry Schwaller IV and Ryan Rymer.
Schwaller's Q&A ran in Tuesday's Hays Daily News. Rymer's ran in Wednesday's paper.
Mellick was born and raised in Atwood. He graduated from Atwood High School and Colby Community College, and attended Fort Hays State University.
He has been a resident of Hays since 1973. He has been in the floor-covering business for 48 years, and he has been self-employed for 46 years.
Mellick was elected to the Hays City Commission in 2007 and served until 2015. He served as mayor from April 2009 until April 2010. He was appointed in July 2019 by the city commission to serve Commissioner Chris Dinkel’s unexpired term.
He and his wife, Mary Mellick, have four children and 12 grandchildren.
1. What's your opinion of the already approved Vine Street roundabouts?
North Vine Street was designed and built almost 60 years ago. It has served us well, but the intersections were not designed to handle today's volume of traffic. Each year as traffic increases, it only adds to the congestion at these intersections. Each year the ability to enter, exit, and make left turns only becomes more difficult. Many years ago, the I-70 Commerce Parkway exchange and Commerce Parkway were constructed; Hall street was widened from two to three lanes from 27th to 8th street, and 27th street from Fort to Hall was re-striped to three lanes. All of these projects had their opponents, but can you imagine the traffic nightmares we would be facing today without those changes made years ago? I support the roundabouts for better traffic flow for today and for the future as traffic volumes increase.
2. What's your opinion of the I-70 travel plaza development planned at Exit 157, likely for annexation into the city with economic development incentives?
I do support the I-70 Travel Plaza development, as long as the city's economic development incentives policy is followed. I believe the current policy sets a fair and level playing field for all potential economic development in our city, while still protecting the tax-paying citizens of Hays.
3. How will you attract retail, manufacturing or high-tech jobs to Hays that draw young people and afford them a living wage?
Attracting retail, manufacturing, and high-tech jobs to Hays is a collaboration of many entities. The city must continue to provide a safe, attractive and clean community, with quality of life amenities to help recruit all types of economic development. The city has hired Retail Strategies to recruit for us on the national retail level. Grow Hays is working to attract retail, manufacturing, and high-tech jobs on the national, state, and local level. They are using "Brief Space" to attract small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs to our community and county. FHSU and the W.R. and Yvonne Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship are working to infuse entrepreneurial skills and behavior throughout the campus and community, in order to encourage independent business start-ups.
4. Do you support an added 10-year, quarter-cent sales tax in Hays, and if so, how would you spend the revenue?
The quarter-cent sales tax question was proposed and put on the ballot by the Ellis County Commission. This is a proposed solution by the county commission to help solve the county's budget problems. This sales tax question should be judged only on its merits to solve that problem and not what the city could possibly spend its share on, if passed. The city does have aging infrastructure that could be repaired or replaced, if the sales tax were passed.