The council discussed, but decided not to pursue, changing the city’s snow-removal policy.
Mayor Delores Dalke reported that during her time at the National League of Cities meeting she learned that several cities were reducing their snow-removal efforts as a cost-saving measure, focusing on “critically major streets” rather than residental streets.
Dalke said she wasn’t advocating that Hillsboro should follow suit, but thought the council should discuss the issue.
Paine noted that the city spent $2,600 in salaries and overtime alone to clear the snowfall from the previous week.
Asked by Councilor Kevin Suderman if not removing snow from residential streets could harm the streets, Dale Dalke, street superintendent, said multiple thaws and refreezes could worsen existing cracks.
Councilor Byron McCarty said his concern was that emergency vehicles would have access to homes.
Paine said that although not clearing residential streets would save the city money, he said there could be a price to pay in public perception. Residents are used to having their streets cleared.
The council agreed to keep the city’s policy as it is, but monitor the impact of winter weather on the budget.
In other business the council:
• authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with the Kansas Power Pool to guarantee payment of electric charges to Westar under the new purchase-power agreement that will go into effect in January.
Paine described the resolution as a “housekeeping” detail in the unlikely event the KPP, a consortium of city governments, would dissolved.
• approved, following a public hearing, a budget amendment to adjust six line items in the 2009 budget. The changes were necessary in response to unforeseen expenses during the year that would otherwise result in a negative balance for the year, which is not allowed by state law. The changes do not affect the budget’s bottom line or the tax burden on residents.
• approved annual cereal malt beverage licenses for Casey’s General Store, Hillsboro Golf Course, Cooperative Grain & Supply (Ampride) and JTJ Inc. (Vogts Hometown Market).
• approved a routine resolution updating the legal description of the city to account for land that was annexed during 2009.
• approved a temporary loan of up to $10,000 from the city’s general fund to its industrial fund to address a temporary cash-flow shortfall.
Without the loan, the industrial fund would end the year with a negative balance resulting from the policy for compensating the city’s economic development director, which has been a shared expense of the city and Hillsboro Development Corp.
Paine said he expected the loan to be repayed shortly after the first of the year.