ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The City of Hillsboro will be asked to contribute $65,725 toward new equipment at Hillsboro Community Medical Center over the next 12 months.
Michael Ryan, chief executive officer at HCMC, presented a 12-month capital acquisition plan to the Hillsboro City Council at its Oct. 16 meeting. The plan covers the 2002 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, 2002.
Nine of the 16 items on Ryan’s list were earmarked for city consideration, ranging from $895 for an upper-body exerciser for the physical therapy department to $15,000 for an EGD scope that would be compatible with the existing colonoscope.
HCMC, meanwhile, is projecting to spend $86,000 of its own funds for the remaining seven items, ranging from $500 for a new x-ray identification reader to $30,000 for remodeling.
The list was presented to the council on an information-only basis. The council would have had to meet as the Public Building Committee in order to take action on the request, but such a meeting had not been publicized in advance.
Council members were told HCMC’s requests were within funds allotted for such purchases.
Council members tabled a request that the city, acting in partnership with other towns in Marion County, contribute $1,000 a year toward the funding of a halftime position for the Communities in Schools program.
The grant money that supported Linda Ogden’s position as CIS director through the first two years will run out at the end of the month. Marion County school superintendents said through a written report that they feel the position needs to be continued for at least halftime with the hope that other grants and funding sources can be found.
A scaled-down position “would provide a skeleton of the services presently provided,” including directing the county CIS program, writing grants, serving as a school/community liaison and coordinating the Marion County Interagency, the Marion County Youth Team and county-wide parenting education.
The superintendents’ proposal stated that $25,000 would be needed annually to sustain the position. They recommended an equal income stream of $5,000 coming from the county, the cities, the school districts, the CIS Board of Directors and “other sources.”
The council was told Marion County commissioners have designated $6,000 annually toward CIS, $5,000 of which is earmarked for the director’s salary.
The cities’ portion would be based on population. The county’s three largest cities-Hillsboro, Marion and Peabody-would pay $1,000 each. Goessel and Florence would each pay $800. Durham, Lehigh, Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Ramona and Tampa would pay $200 each.
Council members did not question the value of CIS, which primarily arranges after-school activities for children, but several members did question why the city, as an entity, is being asked to help subsidize the program.
“They come to the city because we have deep pockets, I guess” said Steven Garrett, city administrator.
“At some point, our pockets aren’t going to be as deep,” countered Councilor Wendell Dirks.
Dirks then asked if children from the city get extra benefits from CIS over rural children because the city residents are being asked, in essence, to pay a double fee in addition to taxes that all area residents pay for school taxes.
“Why not fund it through the (school) districts and be fair about it?” he asked.
The council tabled the request and asked that Gordon Mohn, USD 410 superintendent, and Ogden be invited to the next meeting to provide more information.
Council members also questioned the rationale of spending $250 of city money for a scholarship for training potential emergency medical technicians since the EMT program is funded by the county. Specifically, council members wondered where the $250 ends up.
“We hand out a lot of money out of our jurisdiction every year,” Dirks said.
Even with that issue unsettled, the council agreed unanimously and quickly to approve the $250 scholarship for Susan G. Wadkins of Hillsboro, who has enrolled in the training course.
— Council members agreed to write a letter of support for the application of a $100,000 Kansas Community Block Grant for a micro-loan program for economic development in Marion County.
If approved, the money would be used for business development which will be dispersed over 12 to 18 months. Over time, the interest should sustain the program. Qualified businesses could receive up to $15,000 in low-interest loans for their businesses. A loan-review board of five to seven people would be appointed from the county.
— The council approved a change order that would reduce the contract price on the city sewer outfall line project by $15,059. Some of the work would not need to be done, Garrett said, and some will be completed by city crews instead of APAC-Kansas.
— The council approved a maintenance/inspection agreement with Utility Maintenance Contractors, LLC, of Wichita for the sanitary sewer system.
— The council was told the city will not have to pay an additional $20 a month for sign rental; an anonymous donor has agreed to pay the difference between the former monthly amount of $120 and the new amount of $140.
— The council adopted a new and expanded policy statement for reporting and investigating accidents involving city workers on the job. The new policy reflects the policy of the Kansas Municipality Insurance Trust.
Garrett reported the city received a safety award from KMIT recently and will receive a 1 percent reduction on its insurance premium because of following KMIT documentation procedures.
— The council formally appointed Garrett to the Marion County Economic Development Council. He had been elected chairman of the group at a recent meeting.
— Garrett said the city office now receives its Internet service through Prairie iNet. The service will cost around $600 a year but should eliminate the need for technical assistance that was being required to solve problems encountered through the city’s former supplier, the TEEN Network.
— The council agreed to apply for membership to the Kansas Municipal Electrical Agency, which provides a mutual aid agreement with other members when disasters strike.