City council approves bylaws for new museums board

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro City Council approved at its Tuesday meeting a set of bylaws for the newly created Hillsboro Museums Advisory Board and confirmed the mayor’s appointment of six people to that board.

The new board essentially replaces the Hillsboro Historical Society board, which managed Heritage Park and the Schaeffler House for many years.

The change is part of the city council’s effort to restructure the way local museums are managed so the operation is more directly accountable to the council.

The purpose of the advisory board is three-fold:

— to advise the director of museums (currently Stan Harder) in the work of the museums;

— to assist the director and a proposed organization called Friends of the Hillsboro Museums in their work;

— to advocate for museum funding, promote the museums locally and beyond, and to support the museums to visitors and patrons.

City Administrator Steven Garrett said the new structure separates the advisory and management functions that previously had been exercised by the Hillsboro Historical Society.

“The old board had both functions, and sometimes they were in conflict,” he said.

Confirmed as members of the new board were Aleen Ratzlaff, Jonah Kliewer, Willis Ensz, Evan Yoder, Dale Honeck and Anna Loewen Raymond.

The by-laws state the board be composed of nine members, five of which must be members of the Friends of Hillsboro Museums. The appointments are to be for three years and staggered, with no limitation on the number of terms served.

The new structure should make it easier for Hillsboro Museums to be favorably considered for grants and other state funding, the council was told.

On another matter, Garrett reported that the prospect of Cottonwood Cheese Co. locating a plant in Hillsboro is encouraging.

He said a public hearing is scheduled for March 22 for the purpose of applying for a Community Development Block Grant that would fund the construction of a pre-treatment facility that was part of the city’s offer to Cottonwood Cheese Co.

“I think we’re moving forward to having this thing happen,” he said of the plant coming to Hillsboro. “I said before that if this were a game show, we are the contestant and they are the host-well, we’re winning.”

In other matters, the council:

— approved a zoning change for three lots owned by Ken Koslowsky and Tom Koslowsky at the corner of Birch and Second streets. Two of the lots were zoned “medium density residential” and the other “heavy industrial.” All three will be zoned “light industrial” now, which will enable the Koslowskys to build a mini-storage unit on the property.

Garrett reported no members of the general public had showed up at a public hearing on the issue, and no written comments had been received from the public. The Hillsboro Planning Commission had recommended the change.

— awarded the construction bid for Phase III of the Main Street renovation project to APAC-Kansas, Shears Division. The project includes the replacement of waterlines and an overlay of asphalt on Main Street from A Street south to D Street.

The winning low bid was $213,690. Ritchie Paving of Wichita submitted a bid of $259,220.

— heard from Garrett that Hillsboro residents recycled some 201 tons of materials through the city’s volunteer-run center in 2004. That compares to 189 tons in 2003. He said the increase likely was because the list of recyclables was broadened to include magazines in 2004.

“We’re being fairly consistent and successful in recycling,” he said. “Hopefully, other cities will see that it’s successful and will join us so we’re not the only ones in the county who are recycling.”

— heard from Bob Previtera, city engineer, that he expects to advertise for bids regarding the waterline-replacement project on Lincoln Street in April and to open those bids no later than May.

— heard from John Kullman of the IMA, the company insuring city assets, that the city will be getting much more coverage for only a slight increase in the cost of its premiums.

In a report about his review of the city’s insurance plan, Kullman said by shifting more of the city’s assets from “actual cash value” to “replacement value,” the city’s coverage improved markedly for only $405 more in its premiums-beyond an 8 percent inflationary increase that would have occurred regardless.

Kullman also said the review revealed that several properties were uninsured or underinsured.

Last year’s total premium was $59,946. Kullman projected this year’s premium to be $64,813.

— approved a change to the personnel policy for city staff that standardizes the amount of hours paid to all employees for non-working holidays to eight hours. Garrett said the clarification was needed because some employees work 12-hour shifts.

— heard from Garrett that core drilling will begin next week on the property identified by the city east of town for the construction of a wastewater lagoon system. The purchase of that land, about 80 acres currently owned by Vic and Myrna Jost, is dependent on the results of the drilling.

— heard from Garrett that bids will be let in mid-April on the $3.2 million water-plant upgrade project.

— authorized Mayor Dalke to sign a document indicating Hillsboro’s endorsement of Marion County continuing to be designated as an “enterprise zone” for the purpose of qualifying for state grants and funding.

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