Hillsboro council advises against getting staff involved at lake

Members of the Hillsboro City Council agreed that while it’s appropriate to share staff expertise and resources with the county and communities within it, it’s not wise to become involved with the inspection of trailer homes at Marion County Lake.

The sentiment emerged during a work session following the council’s Feb. 7 regular meeting.

City Administrator Larry Paine called the work session to get the council’s feedback regarding an inquiry from Dan Holub, chair of the county’s Board of Com­missioners, about hiring the city’s building inspector at the county lake.

Paine said if the council thought pursuing the proposal had merit, the city and county could establish an interlocal agreement that would protect the city from any liability issues that might emerge during the project.

Paine said he didn’t have a strong feeling one way or the other about the request. He said he didn’t think the extra workload for the inspector would be “frequent or onerous,” but he did recognize the inspector has a sufficient workload within the city.

Paine said he has always promoted the idea of cities sharing resources and expertise when needed, and cited the fire department and law enforcement as examples.

Council members voiced support for the principle of sharing resources, but were leery about getting involved with property owners at the county lake because of recent issues they have had with the county commissioners.

Councilor Marlene Fast said she was afraid the city’s inspector might become the “fall guy” if disagreements arose during the inspection process.

“I think this is poison,” she said. “I don’t think we should walk away from this—I?think we should run.”

Councilor Byron McCarty said it was probably a good idea to have the trailers inspected, but he said it would be wise for the county to hire an inspector from another county.

“It can make people upset, I guarantee you,” McCarty said about the inspection process.

Mayor Delores Dalke said the city of Hillsboro doesn’t inspect rentals within its own city limits; she didn’t think it would be wise to get involved at the county lake.

Fast agreed.

“I want to be a good neighbor and we should help out when we can,” she said. “But I don’t want to get involved in the middle of politics.”

Regular meeting

During a brief regular meeting, the council:

• approved an ordinance to change the schedule for municipal court proceedings from the last Tuesday of the month to the last Monday of the month. The starting time will remain 4:30 p.m. Paine said the ordinance will take effect April 23.

• approved an ordinance that would increase court costs for municipal court from $60 per citation adjudicated to $80 per citation.

The change was recommended by the city’s new municipal court judge, Bradley Jantz of Newton, who said Hillsboro’s fees were lower than most communities in the area.

City attorney Dan Baldwin agreed with the judge’s assessment. “It’s quite a bit lower than some places,” he said.

• approved the mayor’s appointments to the city’s Con­ventions & Tourism Board: Brenda Coryea, Kathy Rector, Frances Walls and Sue Wadkins to a second three-year term; and Lola Unruh to a first term.

• heard Paine report the city had been approved for a $400,000 Community Develop­ment Block Grant with through the Kansas Department of Commerce. The money will be used to upgrade Birch and Cedar streets.

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