ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
by Don Ratzlaff
The Free Press
Hillsboro-area residents can expect the development of a new dental office in the downtown area over the next few months.
At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Hillsboro City Council authorized Mayor Delores Dalke to sign contracts formalizing the purchase and sale of property located at the corner of Washington Street and Grand Avenue. The property had been owned by the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church.
The city agreed to the church’s asking price of $48,000, less 3 percent Mayor Delores Dalke would have received had she accepted payment as the real estate broker involved. She declined the commission.
The purchase was made through the city’s Public Building Commission. Dalke said the north half of the property has since been sold to McPherson Dental Care LLC, which intends to construct a building and establish a practice in the general area where the Vogt’s IGA store was once located.
The city will retain ownership of the rest of property for the purpose of further economic development, according to Dalke.
“When we talked about it in an executive session, it just made sense to us to purchase the entire property and have it available for another project,” Dalke said Monday. “And we wanted, for their sake, to have some control over what was going to happen there.”
Brian Kynaston, a doctor of dentistry and full-partner with fellow dentist Jon Julian in McPherson Dental Care, told the Free Press that construction could begin within a week or two and that the office should be in operation by the first of April or first of May.
In other business, the council:
— agreed to change its policy regarding the distribution of funds to the Hillsboro Recreation Commission. After years of channeling the money directly to HRC, the city some time ago had decided to retain the money and pay HRC bills through the city office.
“Rec felt like we took their money away from them,” Dalke said.
At HRC’s request, as of Jan. 1 the city will go back to channeling the funds directly to HRC, which will pay its own expenses except salaries.
— authorized City Administrator Steve Garrett to look into the development of a policy regarding the assessment of a fine when multiple false fire alarms originate from the same source.
Dalke said volunteers are paid when they respond to an alarm whether a fire exists or not, and that the cost of multiple unnecessary runs is taxing the city budget.
— authorized the order of a new storm siren with dual tone and battery-backup for the city at a list price of $12,750 from Storm Sirens Inc. of Norman, Okla. The Rural Development Administration could reimburse up to 15 percent of the purchase price.
— approved a resolution naming Raymond F. Wiebe as “historian emeritus of the city.” Wiebe is the author of the 1985 history, “Hillsboro: The City on the Prairie.”
— reviewed a resolution outlining city fees established for 2007. Action on the resolution was deferred.
— selected IMA among four potential candidates as the city’s insurance broker by a 3-2 vote, with the mayor breaking the tie vote. The city switched to IMA several years ago and Mayor Dalke said the company has made “an importance difference” in the coverage the city has today.
Councilors Shelby Dirks and Matt Hiebert voted for the recommendation. Len Coryea and Byron McCarty voted against it because, they said, the council had a local provider among the candidates.
However, neither Coryea nor McCarty made a recommendation to hire the local business when they were given the chance.
— formally reinstated the original language in the job description for volunteer firefighters that requires volunteers to live within the fire district. At a previous meeting, the council had changed the residential requirement to be within five minutes of the fire station.
— formally accepted Rachel Pederson as a new member of the Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department.
— agreed to reimburse Hillsboro Community Medical Center for $25,711, the amount spent for a new network server and updated computer work stations at the hospital.
— approved a final payment of requisition of $507.54 to Burbach Aquatics for work don on the new aquatic center.
— approved an invoice of $9,500 from MKEC Engineering Consultants Inc. for work completed on the Mennonite Brethren church addition on the east side of town.
— approved a final payment of $5,500 to Utility Contractors Inc. for work completed at the water-treatment plant renovation project.
Dalke noted, with the final invoice, expenses exceed projected funding sources by $1,900-contrary to the assurance of the project engineer.