Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:11
The Hillsboro City Council approved at its Feb. 19 meeting the final plat for an addition to the Carriage Hills subdivision.
The Carriage Hills South Addition is designed with 26 lots, including three for duplexes.
The council unanimously approved the plat upon the recommendation of the city’s Planning Commission, which had approved the project with three minor code-related adjustments to the plans.
Local developer Darrell Driggers, co-owner of Container Services Inc. in Hillsboro and a resident of Carriage Hills, called the addition his “retirement project,” but said dirt work should begin this spring.
“It’s exciting to see something new coming in,” Mayor Delores Dalke said of the project.
Councilor Marlene Fast added, “We wish you a lot of luck with this. I hope it just takes off.”
The council awarded the bid for upcoming improvement projects on Date, Cedar and Birch streets to Barkley Construction of Wichita.
Barkley’s bid of $391,000 was easily the lowest one submitted by the seven companies that participated. The next-lowest bid was $508,638 from Vogts Parga Construction of North Newton, while the highest bid of $760,928 was submitted by Smoky Hill Construction of Salina.
Darin Neufeld, city engineer, originally estimated the cost of the project at $537,025.
The Barkley bid was so much lower than the others, that council members asked if Neufeld knew much about the company.
Neufeld said Barkley had worked in Hillsboro a few years ago when the city put in sidewalk ramps at each intersection.
“They did a good job,” he said.
The council selected the middle of three project options because the city will have $382,000 available from a Community Development Block Grant of $400,000 once administration fees of $18,000 are deducted.
The lowest bid for the full project, which included street work and new curbs, gutters and driveway cut-ins on both blocks of all three streets, was $557,000 by Barkley.
The middle option will mean all of Date Street and only the “south block” of Cedar and Birch will see the entire package of upgrades.
Asked if the city had enough money to subsidize the full upgrade for all three streets, City Administrator Larry Paine said yes, but not in funds where it could legally be used for that purpose.
Paine reminded the council that public meetings will be offered, probably in early March, to inform people living in the targeted area to give feedback.
Residents also will be able to talk to Barkley representatives about using their services to do additional projects on their property, if desired.
Neufeld reported that Barkley officials said they could begin the project by April 1 or even sooner. But Neufeld said he preferred to start no earlier than April 1 to lessen the chance of hitting late-season snowstorms during construction.
Tax abatement review
The council approved a recommendation to the county clerk to continue the city’s tax-abatement agreement with three local companies that are using industrial revenue bonds.
Each year, companies that use IRBs are required to file a report with the city’s bond counsel on how they are meeting the employment and revenue objectives that enabled them to qualify for the bonds.
The three companies, Container Services Inc., Golden Heritage Foods and Flinthills Industries (doing business as Hillsboro Industries), are reaching those objectives, according to J.T. Klaus of Triplett, Woolf & Garretson, LLC.
“All three companies reported an increase in employment, which ranged from a net increase of adding one employee to adding eight new employees in the case of one company,” the report stated.
“The total net increase in payroll of all three companies was significant and certainly met the criteria originally established for granting abatement,” Klaus added. “All companies reported increases in sales and/or revenues.”
In other business, the council approved a bylaw revision for the Hillsboro Recreation Commission that authorizes the group to have its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. every second Sunday of the month in city hall.
In recent years, the commission had frequently changed meeting times in an attempt to enable more members to attend. But public entities are required to meet according to the time and day stipulated in their bylaws, Paine said.
A survey of current members indicated that Sunday evening was the best time to meet.
“That fits the commission now, but if it changes, will people decline participation because it’s on a Sunday?” Fast asked.
“Then we revise the bylaws again,” Paine replied.
Mayor Delores Dalke said other city boards should follow the lead of the rec commission.
“I wish every commission and board would sit down and say, when can we really meet so that everybody can be there,” she said. “Many meetings aren’t really a meeting because they don’t have a quorum.”
The council later approved the following city board appointments recommended by the mayor: the reappointment of Cynthia Fleming and June Shreve, and the initial appointment of Mervin Lare, to the Planning Commission; and the reappointment of Clint Seibel and JoAnn Knak to the Airport Board.