Council OKs buying two vehicles for city

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro City Council approved the purchase of two vehicles for city use during its Oct. 2 meeting. The council interrupted its business session for 10 minutes to personally inspect a pair of four-wheel-drive vehicles considered for use by Fire Chief Ben Steketee before deciding on a 1993 GMC Suburban with 127,260 miles.


The vehicle was offered through Irv Schroeder County Motors with a price tag of $11,995, including $350 in repairs and a modifications package costing $2,695 to equip the vehicle for emergency use.


The council voted to purchase the vehicle for the price offered, less the $350 specified for repairs.


The other vehicle, offered through Foth’s Service Center, was a 1989 Chevy Suburban with 95,000 miles for $10,345, including modifications and repairs.


Garrett said rural township boards will be contacted about contributing to the purchase since the vehicle is needed primarily for rural fires.


Later in the meeting, the council also approved the purchase of a used Hi-Ranger electrical truck from Burlington for $32,000. City Administrator Steven Garrett described the vehicle as “the best used truck we’ve found so far.”


The truck, with about 160,000 miles on it, will replace the Hi-Ranger lost in the July fire at the city shop that destroyed three vehicles from the electrical department.


“It will get us by for awhile,” said Lloyd Anderson, department supervisor. He said he hopes the city will also replace the digger truck lost in the fire.


Garrett said he is still evaluating what to do about the other vehicles that were lost. But with winter approaching, he said it was important that the city get its own Hi-Ranger after living off the generosity of area communities and businesses since the fire.


Garrett had announced earlier in the meeting the city and its insurance company, EMC Insurance, had reached a settlement about the money the city will receive for the lost vehicles.


EMC will pay the city $31,650 for the Hi-Ranger and $24,900 for the smaller bucket truck, Garrett said.


“I don’t like the ratio of what we’re getting to what we have to spend (to replace the trucks),” Garrett said. “But the prices are pretty much in line with the market value of the vehicles.”


Garrett said negotiating with the insurance company was tedious at times, but he was able to increase the company’s original offer by $4,000.


“These guys are not on my Christmas-card list, that’s for sure,” Garrett said.


He said the process of estimating the city’s loss in electrical supplies in the fire is still under way.


In another matter, the council reluctantly extended the contract of APAC-Kansas to complete the city’s sanitary sewer outfall line project by 45 days.


According to city engineering consultant RoseMary Saunders of Reiss & Goodness in Wichita, APAC said the project was about 40 percent complete, but the company was asking for a 90-day extension because of unanticipated delays in construction and receiving necessary equipment to be installed.


Saunders said APAC had no control over the arrival of the equipment, but other delays were open to question.


“I don’t even know why we put a completion date on those contracts,” said Councilor Wendell Dirks. “It’s a total waste of time.”


The original 90-day contract called for the completion of the project by Sept. 22. The 45-day extension will set the completion date at Nov. 5.


The council approved the extension by a 3-1 vote with Leonard Coryea dissenting. Earlier in the discussion, Coryea indicated he was against an extension.


In a related matter, the council reluctantly approved an invoice from APAC for $60,753.80 for work completed on the project. Also approved were three engineering statements on the same project, totalling $6,806.68.


In other business, the council:


— heard from Garrett the airport overlay project should begin this week and that the airport will be closed to air traffic until Nov. 1.


— approved Policy No. 54 outlining operating procedures for the Hillsboro Fire Department. The policy was reviewed at the previous meeting and a few changes were incorporated into the document.


— heard from Garrett the city has received 13 applications so far for the rehabilitation grant money available to homeowners in the designated target area along Hillsboro’s north edge. Some potential applicants are still to be contacted.


— heard from Garrett that, after a delay of several months, the City of Peabody is now a “billed customer” for water coming through the Hillsboro water-treatment plant.

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