Feasibility isn’t city’s responsibility, council members told

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
City Administrator Steven Garrett told members of the Hillsboro City Council at its Dec. 2 meeting that it isn’t city government’s responsibility to determine whether Hillsboro needs the new housing development being proposed for the city’s north side.

Instead, Garrett said, the city’s job is to ensure that when such a development is proposed, that it be done according to city codes and requirements.

Garrett raised the issue as a way for city council members to respond to local citizens who may be asking them whether Hillsboro really needs the 135-home “Windover Hillsboro” project being proposed for city’s north edge.

Garrett said the development is being initiated by a private business that has determined the feasibility of the project based on its own research.

“We’re not in the business of determining if we need two grocery stores in town or if Ampride should sell diesel,” Garrett said to illustrate the kind of decisions that must be left to the private sector.

“If (the development) was something the city was doing, then we’d need to answer those questions,” he said.

Fire protection for Lehigh

Garrett gave the council its first look at a contract being offered to the city of Lehigh that would make the Hillsboro Fire Department responsible for Lehigh’s fire protection.

If the contract is approved by both parties, the Lehigh Fire Department would essentially become a substation of the Hillsboro department.

Under the contract, Hillsboro would provide Lehigh with fire-fighting personnel, record keeping, vehicle and equipment maintenance and “other reasonable services.”

In turn, the city of Lehigh would pay a flat fee-still to be negotiated-for those services, and would provide its fire station, fire-fighting apparatus and equipment to the city of Hillsboro, exclusively.

Asked about a stipulation that Hillsboro would cover the cost of training volunteers from Lehigh, Garrett said Lehigh volunteers would essentially be members of the HFD, and that the cost of training would be factored into the contract fee. Lehigh currently has two volunteers.

Mayor Dalke highlighted a stipulation that the city of Hillsboro would develop a plan to address Lehigh’s Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings with the intent of lowering insurance rates for home-owners there.

“If we’re going to work on theirs, we better be working on ours, too,” Dalke said, adding that a lack of progress in that area has cost Hillsboro homeowners “a lot of money” the past several years.

Garrett said the contract will be reviewed by the Lehigh City Council at its Dec. 8 meeting. If approved, it will be brought back to the Hillsboro City Council for ratification.

EMT-training scholarship

The council agreed to provide $335 in scholarship money to cover the cost of an eight-week training program for Susan Wadkins to become certified as an EMT-I (Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate).

Wadkins and JoAnn Knak, retiring director of Marion Country Emergency Medical Services, were on hand to make the request in light of the fact that not one local had applied for the scholarship to be trained as a first-level EMT.

With EMT-I certification, Wadkins would be qualified to administer additional treatments en route to a hospital, including starting an intravenous feed and dispensing appropriate medications in emergencies involving asthma, diabetes and heart attacks.

Knak said having Wadkins be certified as an EMT-I would be “a big plus” for the local crew, especially because she is one of only four or five crew members who are available for day-time runs.

Asked about the size of the local EMT unit, Knak said Hillsboro has around 15 volunteers; 18 to 20 volunteers would be preferred. A new series of classes to train entry-level EMT volunteers will begin Jan. 26.

Mayor Delores Dalke thanked Wadkins and Knak for their service to the community and added her affirmation for the work of the local unit.

“Based on experiences we’ve had, I’d have to say we have the best crew a small town possibly could have,” she said. “We’ve got really good people (trained) in Hillsboro.”

Snowstorm strategy

The council approved a revised strategy for clearing city streets in the event of major snowstorms. The policy seeks “to allow the opening of major streets that carry the largest volume of traffic or that serve vital facilities first.”

The priorities for the city crew will be as follows:

1. Proceed from the city shops on Adams to Grand.

2. Turn west on Grand, proceed to Washington, then north one block to First, then left to Main, then Main and Grand through the downtown business district.

3. Proceed to the police station on North Ash.

4. From the police station to the hospital on South Ash.

5. Blade D Street from west city limit to east city limit.

6. Proceed to Adams, north to First, one block east to Wilson, south to A Street past the elementary school.

7. From the elementary school, proceed to Hillsboro Heights and open streets.

8. The remaining side streets, Willow Glen and Carriage Hills will be bladed as time permits.

Other business

In other business, the council:

— accepted in principle a request from Parkside Homes Inc. that a 20-acre plot of ground it purchased be annexed to the city of Hillsboro. Garrett said a survey needs to be done before official action can be taken. Mayor Dalke suggested that Garrett check into possible flood-protection issues since the land extends to a creek.

— set a public hearing for 4 p.m., Dec. 16, for the purpose of receiving input from citizens about tax abatements proposed for Container Services Inc.

— approved a request from the city of Peabody that personnel at Hillsboro’s water-treatment plant assume responsibility for taking daily chlorine residual readings at Peabody’s pumphouse, which is located near the adjacent plant.

Morgan Marler, plant director, said personnel from Peabody have been making multiple trips to Hillsboro each day to take the readings; the new plan actually benefits both communities in the long run.

— heard from Megan Kilgore, executive director of the Hillsboro Management Board, about plans for a Christmas parade through downtown Hillsboro Dec. 13, and asked council members to participate.

Kilgore also reported the committee planning Hillsboro’s 120th birthday celebration during Memorial Day weekend in 2004 soon will be sending out a mailing to as many Hillsboro High School alumni as it has addresses for. An expanded all-school reunion is planned for that May weekend in addition to the Family/Folk Festival.

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