Council OKs tree trimming work

The Hillsboro City Council agreed at its Jan. 22 meeting to hire a professional tree-trimming service as the next step in an effort to eliminate electrical outages caused by squirrels.

City Administrator Steven Garrett said one reason the city has trouble with squirrels causing electrical outages is that the animals have easy access to power lines and transformers because the city has fallen behind in trimming away branches.

He also said the city could be in a dilemma if it was struck by a wind or ice storm that could break limbs and cause damage to power lines.

The council agreed with Garrett’s recommendation to hire a Derby-based tree-trimming service for $75 an hour to take care of the backlog of trimming work that needed to be done. The council authorized Garrett to spend up to $12,000 to complete the project, which could take up to four weeks.

The work was to begin this week, Garrett said.

In other business, the council:

–appointed city employee Joe Alvarez to be its voting delegate at the Kansas Rural Water Association meeting and Garrett to be the alternate.

–agreed to pay an engineering statement for $3,000 from Reiss & Goodness Engineers in Wichita for work done on the water system improvement project.

–approved a slightly revised job description for the city’s recreation director. The new policy clarifies hiring and payment practices, Garrett said.

–heard the Schaeffler House is being considered for acceptance to the National Register of Historic Places and Register of Historic Kansas Places at their next meeting, Feb. 23.

Council members were told that if the house is accepted, it qualifies for grant money that will enable the city to replace the house’s worn slate roof. Garrett said the original slate was beginning to leak into the structure, but would be costly to replace without financial assistance.

–formed a committee of building inspector Kermit Dirksen, city attorney Dan Baldwin, Mayor Delores Dalke, Councilor Matt Hiebert and Garrett to review and prepare a revised draft of the city’s building code for the rest of the council to consider.

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