Lehigh council awaiting word from KDHE regarding sewer ponds

The Lehigh City Council remains unexpectedly “on hold” regarding several action points following its regular meeting Monday.

The council came expecting to approve the purchase of two solar circulators as part of its plan to bring the city’s sewer ponds into regular compliance with Kansas Department of Health and Environment standards.

Instead, it was informed by Councilor Todd Jost that city engineer Jim Kohman had told them to hold off on any action because KDHE officials may consider inadequate their proposed plan for improving the ponds.

Jost said Kohman, who had drafted the preliminary engineering report on the ponds and suggested the circulators as an adequate solution to the problem, was surprised with the latest word from “higher-ups.”

The council should wait to make a decision until it receives official documentation from the state of its final evaluation, Jost said, which he hopes will be before the council’s next special meeting in two weeks.

While it waits, Jost said the council should focus on finding a grant writer for the project.

He said he would bring a short list of candidates to the next special meeting.

The council will also wait to approve the purchase of a new mower for its parks and grounds, as Councilor Fred Sheridan, responsible for researching mower prices, was unable to attend the meeting.

Guest Louis Coyle did show councilors a few of the mower brochures Sheridan had given Coyle to bring to the meeting in his absence.

In other business, the council:

  • heard Mayor Monty Root say that he would meet with Hillsboro city administrator Steve Garrett and Ben Steketee of the Hillsboro fire department to tie up any loose ends regarding their contract for shared fire services.

    Clearer communication would be key to a successful working relationship, Root said. And while they still want to remain “under the umbrella” of Hillsboro’s help for fire services, Root said Lehigh would like to help Hillsboro in return by doing more of the “legwork” itself to research necessary purchases.

    The council approved payment of the outstanding bill for Steketee’s trip to Manhattan to research fire trucks for the city of Lehigh.

  • heard Coyle say that he had received the five free Safety Equipment Distributors Association airpacks offered to the city by the Silver City, Okla., fire department.

    Coyle said the packs also came with 10 bottles and 10 masks at no charge to the city.

    The next step, Coyle said, is to have the packs hydrostatic-tested, which Root suggested should be done on a quarterly rotation to space out the cost of testing.

  • heard City Clerk Rose Funk announce that overlay of Main Street is scheduled to begin Nov. 21.
  • set the next special meeting for 7 p.m. Nov. 28.

Oct. 24 special meeting

    City Attorney John Klenda has been authorized to create several new city ordinances, following a special council meeting Oct. 24.

    The council reviewed samples of ordinances used by the city of Marion. The first ordinance the council approved would authorize the city to attach fees to landowner property taxes for delinquent tenant city bills.

    A second ordinance patterned after a Marion ordinance would limit burning debris within city limits.

    A third ordinance, either a new one or a modification of an old one, would define which livestock animals are allowed within city limits rather than which ones are prohibited.

    Councilor Mike Geiman suggested that dogs, domestic cats, rabbits and poultry be listed in the ordinance as allowed animals. For any of these animals that become a nuisance, other ordinances already exist outlining a plan of action.

    Draft copies of the new ordinances should be presented at the next regular meeting.

    In other business, the council:

    • authorized Councilor Fred Sheridan to purchase new fire gear in the amount of $906 from Weis Fire & Safety Equipment, following his report at the last regular meeting that his current gear was hazardously ill-fitting and wornout.

      A suggestion was made to buy one new set of gear each year until each individual in the fire department has new, up-to-date gear.

    • heard city engineer Jim Kohman recommend two different solar circulators, one from Pond Doctor and another from Solar Bee, as part of the city’s proposed solution for bringing its sewer ponds into regular compliance with Kansas Department of Health and Environment standards.

      The council will decide which circulator to purchase at its next regular meeting.

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