Hillsboro Budget hearing set for Aug. 5

The Hillsboro City Council, at its July 15 meeting, set 4 p.m. Aug. 5 as the time and date for a public hearing on the 2009 city budget.

To meet publication obligations in time to hold the hearing on that date, the council passed a budget that included a mill-levy increase for 2009 of just under 10 mills, from 40.984 to 50.025.

But City Administrator Larry Paine assured the council that he would be doing additional work in the meantime to reduce the mill levy for 2009 to a similar level as in 2008.

?I know it will not be 50,? Paine said. ?We can always come down (from the mill levy published in the newspaper)?and we will.?

In other matters, the council:

n heard from J. Robert Brookens, Marion, who introduced himself as a candidate for state representative from the 70th District.

n passed a policy encouraging city workers, particularly police officers and firefighters, to do formal stretching during the course of their duty. The policy request came from they city?s workers? compensation insurance provider. Police and fire departments are the top departments every year in frequency and amount of injury claims, Paine reported.

Council members noted the policy would be difficult to enforce.

?I see it more as a suggestion, and department heads will be held accountable for the suggestion,? Paine said.

n approved payments of $150,670 to APAC-Kansas for construction, and $21,122 to EBH & Associates for engineering related to the waste-water lagoon project east of town.

n heard Councilor Shane Marler, after reviewing invoices for engineering work, ask whether it would be a financial advantage to the city to employ its own engineer.

Mayor Delores Dalke said the idea has been discussed in years past. Thar council concluded the diversity of projects the city undertakes requires a broader range of expertise than one engineer could reasonably offer.

n passed resolutions, in session as the Public Building Commission and as the council, to exercise the city?s option to claim ownership of the buildings that currently house the operation of the Hillsboro Community Medical Center and its long-term care unit.

The legal move clears the way for the city to close the sale of the operational assets of HCMC to HMC/CAH Consolidated ?as soon as possible.?

J.T. Klause, the city?s bond attorney, said the city would be able to close on the transaction as early as Aug. 2, but the board for HCMC may or may not be ready by that date.

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