City to require code book for licensing

The Hillsboro City Council agreed at its Nov. 20 meeting to adopt the 2012 International Building Code and require each contractor applying for a license to work within the city to show evidence of owning the code books that apply to their particular areas of professional service.

The city currently has been operating until now by the 2006 Uniform Building Code. Code books generally are updated every three years but Hillsboro did not adopt the 2009 edition.

While adopting the current IBC would help with local insurance rates, it also will require some investment by contractors.

The books range in cost from around $65 to $170. Ben Steketee, the city’s building code inspector, said all contractors will need to buy at least two of the books to cover their areas of work.

Council members expressed concern that while larger contractors might be able to absorb the expense, but a one-person provider, perhaps working only part-time, also provides important services to residents and might be forced out of business by the additional expense.

The city office is required to acquire three copies of each code book, which the public can access at the city office or the public library.

Steketee acknowledged the dilemma for individual contractors, but said all contractors need ready access to a code book while on the job to make it more likely the job will be completed correctly the first time.

To lessen the financial impact, the council agreed to a proposal that the city waive its license fee of $50 if a contractor shows evidence of owning the appropriate books.

With annual licensing fees generating around $15,000 in revenue for the city—roughly the equivalent of one tax mill—the council discussed whether the waiver should apply each of the three years a code book is current, or only the year in which the newest code book is purchased.

Council members accepted a suggestion from City Admini­strator Larry Paine that the city initially waive the fee for one year only. The council could then review the situation next fall to see if it wanted to continue that policy or change it.

Street update

Engineer Darin Neufeld, representing the firm of Evans, Bierly & Hutchison, updated the council on plans for the Commu­n­ity Development Block Grant project involving the south ends of Birch, Cedar and Birch streets.

Depending on the street, the projects will involve a combination of replacing curbs and residential driveway entrances and resurfacing portions of the streets.

The city has been approved for $400,000 in CDBG funds, but that will not be enough money to fully upgrade each of the three streets, each would total 12 traditional-length city blocks in all.

Neufeld introduced a variety of options for the council to consider, including asphalt or concrete for street resurfacing. A decision is projected for the Dec. 4 meeting.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• presented service awards from the League of Kansas Municipalities marking milestone anniversaries of employment. Awards for 10 years of service were given to Randy Jantz and Todd Helmer of the electric department, and to Shelby Dirks and Byron McCarty as city council members.

Awards for 15 years went to Jessey Hiebert of the police department and Delores Dalke for her current run as mayor.

Joe Alvarez of the electrical department received an award for 25 years of service.

• set 4 p.m. Dec. 18 for a public hearing where citizens can comment on proposed amendments to the 2012 budget. The amendments address increases to the operating budget in order to account for additional expenditures.

“The amendments reflect that we cannot perfectly predict the actual expenditures 18 months away from the time we prepare a budget to the end of the fiscal year,” Paine said. “As in years past, none of the amendments will have an effect on property tax.”

• approved increasing the hangar fee at the municipal airport from $45 to $55 per month. The increase had been recommended by the Airport Board to bring Hillsboro more in line with other communities.

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