Grant funds will finance police dept. equipment

The Hillsboro Police Department found its Christmas stocking wasn’t as full as was hoped after hearing word that it did not receive the full grant award it had requested for additional law enforcement equipment.

Chief Dan Kinning told the city council at its Dec. 19 meeting that the department will receive only $4,738 of the $6,992 it had applied for from a federal-state block grant.

Kinning speculated the award was lower than requested because many police departments from across Kansas had applied for the funding and it was divided accordingly.

The money came to the state as a block grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“It wasn’t disappointing,” he said of the announcement. “I was just glad we got something. It was greatly needed. I know there were other departments that were cut back, too.”

Kinning said the money HPD was awarded will enable him to buy each of the items he had applied for, but not in the quantities requested.

The department applied for: five drug-testing kits and was given money for three; five PBT intoxilizers and received funds for three; five 35mm cameras and will have money for three.

The grant also approved the purchase of the one digital camera and all five Sig Sauer handguns Kinning had requested.

The handguns were underfunded, though.

“I bid them at $3,100, they gave me $2,000 and told me to go buy five. It’s just impossible,” Kinning said. “I’m going to have to find some money somewhere else to make up the difference.”

Mayor Delores Dalke and council members lauded Kinning’s initiative and encouraged him to approach civic groups and other private sources to fund the rest of the equipment he had applied for.

Office improvement

The council approved the purchase of a hardware and software package that should modernize the cash-management procedures at city hall.

The package, bid at $6,501 by Data Technologies, Inc., will provide the office with a day-to-day accounting of cash transactions, utility payments and receipting-an undertaking that currently requires a three-step manual procedure.

“This is a giant step forward,” Dalke said. “I think we have one of the most antiquated systems ever invented.”

Councilor Mike Padgett made the motion to purchase the package.

“I think it’s time we moved into the 20th century,” he said.

City Administrator Steve Garrett told the council he likely will ask them sometime in 2001 to consider more changes, including some structural renovations and new equipment, that will make the office more customer-friendly and efficient.

Legal opinion

Interim City Attorney Dan Baldwin told the council that after studying case law regarding the requirements for newspapers seeking to publish legal notices, he had concluded the Hillsboro Free Press Digest qualified for consideration.

Joel Klaassen, publisher of the the Free Press Digest and the Hillsboro Free Digest, had proposed last month that the Digest, with a circulation of 13 subscribers in Marion County, be considered the city’s official newspaper for publishing legal notices.

As part of the package, Klaassen said the notices would also be published without charge in the Free Press, which goes to every postal address in the county.

Hoch Publishing, publishers of the Hillsboro Star-Journal, the current official newspaper, had opposed the plan and questioned the legal status of the Digest.

Baldwin also said he had issues related to the “spirit of the law” that he wanted to discuss with the council in executive session.

The council later adjourned to discuss that issue and the matter of renewing the lease for the city-owned Dari-Ette property along West D. Jay L. McClure, Marion, has asked to renew the lease.

No public action was taken on either matter at the conclusion of the executive session.

Other business

In other matters, the council:

n approved a progress payment of $14,245 to Mid-States Energy Works toward the construction of the new electrical substation for Hillsboro. The total contract for the project is $382,360.

n agreed to pay Middlecreek Mining Corp. a final request of $54,973 toward water-improvements work in the Prairie Pointe housing development.

n agreed to pay BG Consultants $2,188.96 for work done from September through November for water-improvement projects in Prairie Pointe, but to ask for a more detailed accounting for bills presented for water improvement and construction observation.

n approved a final payment of $9,812 to Hett Construction for completion of the concrete work to replace the alley between the 100 block of North Ash and North Main.

n agreed to renew the planning and zoning consulting contract of Eric Strauss of Strauss and Associates, Lawrence, for the coming year.

For Strauss’s services, the firm will bill the city $81.20 per hour, the same rate charged the past two years.

The contract also includes mileage reimbursement-but not travel time-at the rate the city pays its own employees.

The Hillsboro Planning Commission met six times in 2000.

n accepted the bid of Emprise Bank for the city’s operating accounts for 2001. Emprise offered a fixed rate of 5.80 percent. Central National Bank offered a fixed rate of 5.54 and Hillsboro State Bank bid a rate of 3.25 percent for checking and 4.75 for money market accounts.

n received notice from the Kansas Department of Health & Environment that the amount of the city’s loan for the wastewater collection systems improvement project had been reduced by $553, from $443,000 to $442,447, to reflect the final cost of the project.

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