City council made a nice choice for its new Vice Mayor recently. The council chose Becky Tuttle to succeed Brandon Johnson, the District 1 representative and the vice mayor for the last year. Johnson will stay on the city council and continue to serve his district.
The first item on the agenda was the selection of the new vice mayor. Councilmember Bryan Frye nominated District 2 councilmember Becky Tuttle, who has been a councilmember since 2019. Mayor Brandon Whipple seconded the motion, which the council unanimously approved. The council swore Tuttle in after the vote.
City Council Also Hears from Health Advisors
In the public agenda, members heard from Sedgwick County health officer Dr. Garold Minns, Dr. Sam Antonios, chief clinical officer for Ascension Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals, and Dr. Lowell D. Ebersole, Wesley Healthcare, chief medical officer.
Dr. Minns said that the county reported 6,700 new COVID-19 cases last week, which doesn’t include at-home tests. Minns told the council it was the highest since the pandemic started. He said omicron, which is more contagious, coupled with holiday gatherings likely contributed to the high number of cases. He said the vaccine numbers have been stagnant.
Dr. Antonios said 140 patients are hospitalized with COVID in Via Christi. Dr. Ebersol said 160 are hospitalized with COVID in Wesley. Both hospital leaders also told members a number of staff members were out due to COVID.
City council members also vote 7-0 to approve more funding for the North Junction project. The estimated cost of the project is now $36,319,409. The initial estimate was $30,220,000. The city and county must put in a 25% local match. Wichita’s share would be $762,000 more. The city’s share after the bidding is $4,539,926.
The North Junction project will improve congestion in north Wichita at the interchange between I-135 and I-235.