Council questions value of city billboard

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
The Hillsboro City Council expressed concerns and questions last Tuesday about a bill that the city has paid in the past for a promotional sign along U.S. Highway 56.


The issue arose after the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce sent the city a bill with a $20 increase per month for the sign rental.


The sign, located a quarter-mile east of the Hillsboro Animal Clinic, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Tabor College and the city.


The Chamber stated in the letter included with the invoice that in the past they have paid for the increase, but would no longer be able to absorb the escalating fee.


Mayor Delores Dalke said she thought the bill was presented at an odd time, because the city’s budget had just been approved for 2002.


Several council members voiced opposition to the increase.


Councilor Wendell Dirks said he wondered if the adverting value of the sign justified the fee.


“That’s a lot of money,” he said.


Councilor Leonard Coryea expressed similar concern about the sign’s benefits.


The council decided to wait to accept responsibility for the sign rental fee until the matter is further investigated.


In other business, the council:


–?approved a contract to renovate the alleyway street behind Grand and Washington Street.


Council members decided to move ahead with the project after discussing the matter in detail with the city engineer.


–?decided to wait to approve the housing rehabilitation and demolition plan until all pertinent information was included in the contract.


The city was awarded a $270,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing for 2001. The grant was developed for the purpose of rehabilitating houses within a targeted area.


Hillsboro has designated the four-block target area bounded by Main, Madison, Second and Third streets.


–?approved the following to city boards: Phyllis Meisinger to the Hillsboro Housing Authority, Teresa Freeman to the Hillsboro Historical Society and Scott Proffitt to the Hillsboro Tree Board.


–?approved a contract with APAC to resurface the airport runway.


–?heard from City Administrator Steve Garrett that the insurance numbers have been tallied for the electrical trucks lost in the July fire at the city shop.


Garrett said the numbers were lower than he had expected, but he would speak with the insurance company about the amount. He did not release a final figure.


City electrical superintendent Lloyd Anderson has completed the inventory of the city shop lost in the fire, according to Garrett.


Garrett also addressed the recent water leaks that have plagued the city. He thought leaks on Willow Drive will need to be repaired.

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