ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The precise cost of the Adams Street improvement project isn’t certain yet, but one thing is: the final number will be significantly higher than was originally anticipated.
That news was affirmed to the Hillsboro City Council at its Dec. 19 meeting by City Engineer Bob Previtera.
The original bid for the project, which is essentially a remake of the 300 and 400 blocks of Adams, was $373,000-and an application for state funding assistance was so tailored.
Previtera said the latest figure from the contractor, APAC Kansas, was $465,828. With making reductions already considered, the number could be as low as $437,176.
City Administrator Steve Garrett reported he had contacted the Kansas Department of Transportation to see if it had more money available for the project, but had not heard back from officials as of the meeting.
The city’s only other source for making up the difference would be its capital-improvement budget.
“We do have the money,” Mayor Delores Dalke said, “but it’s gone once we use it.”
That could keep the city from pursuing some of the other capital improvements members suggested on their “top 10 list” of city projects for 2007.
Individual lists submitted by the mayor and four councilors were compiled in composite form and presented at the meeting. But the discussion about setting priorities was deferred for a later work session.
The council gave its OK for the purchase of a used pumper truck from the McPherson Fire Department at price of $12,500. The purchase will actually be made by the rural township boards that are part of the Hillsboro fire district.
Ben Steketee said the truck is worth “much more” than the sale price. He added that the truck does fit into the fire station-but barely.
“It’s so tight, the men can’t get past it,” Steketee said. He added that because of the squeeze, one truck will need to be stored in the former AMPI building.
In a related issue, the council authorized Garrett to solicit for an architect to draw a play for expanding the present fire station.
Such a project, if approved, would qualify for financial assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But FEMA would not provide funds to build a new facility, Garrett said.
In other business, the council:
— approved a cost-of-living increase of 25 cents an hour for city employees, effective Jan. 1. Garrett said the increase would still leave budget room for merit increases for deserving staff.
— approved Resolution 2006-13, which is essentially a list of fees and charges the city will levy in 2007 for the various services it offers.
— allowed the mayor to break a 2-2 tie in order to approve paying a final invoice of $26,000 from EBH & Associates, which oversaw the water-plant renovation project.
The mayor and council members expressed irritation with the company’s management of available funds. During the project, the engineer recommended making additions because sufficient funds would be available to cover them. In the end, expenses exceed available money by several thousand dollars, which the city will have to cover out of its own budget.
Councilors Len Coryea and Byron McCarty voted against paying the invoice “to send a message” after councilors Matt Hiebert and Shelby Dirks voted in favor, assuring a tie vote that the mayor would decide.
— approved a 5-cent increase in the recycling fee charged to households, making the total charge $1.75 each month.
— approved the mayor’s reappoint of Jim Elliott and appointment of Christy Wulf as Hillsboro representatives on the Marion County Economic Development Council.
— approved cereal malt beverages licenses for 2007 on behalf of Alco, the Hillsboro Golf Association, Vogt’s Hometown Market, Ampride and Casey’s General Store.
— authorized Garrett to have an engineer create a plan for developing the city-owned property between the former AMPI building and U.S. Highway 56.
Dalke said she has been contacted by someone interested in developing a project in that area.