Hillsboro council considers long list of city projects

If you think your honey-do list at home looks intimidating and expensive, you should see the list the city council reviewed for Hills­boro during its Sept. 6 meeting.

City Administrator Larry Paine walked the council through a master list of 112 capital improvement projects “that need our attention over the next few years.”

His list of 38 street projects by itself would require $19 million to complete.

“Some of the things on my list are things we would like to do and will never, ever be done,” Paine said. “On the other hand, there are things we want to do and we’ll need to find a way to move heaven and earth to get that done.”

Once specific projects approved, Paine said funding sources would include the city’s CIP fund, but also state and federal grants and some bond issues.

Beyond the list of street projects, Paine identified 39 water-department projects with an estimated cost of $9.7 million.

Paine didn’t estimate cost for other departmental projects, but his list included 11 general projects, seven museum projects, five projects for recreation, four projects related to the sewer system and eight with the electric department.

Councilor Brent Driggers asked Paine if he had priortized any of the projects.

Paine replied, “No, I’m at the front end of that process. I’m doing my brain dump, so to speak, so I can figure things that need to be on the list. To my mind, something I might think is critical may not be critical for you folks. And something I might think is low end on the totem pole would be a higher priority for you.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Paine added. “You guys are supposed to say we think this needs to be a little higher.”

Paine did list a specific project that would replace segments of several streets on the north end of town: Wash­ing­ton Street, from First Street to Third Street; Lin­coln Street, from First to Third; Second Street, from Main to Jefferson; and Jeff­erson, from First to Third.

The cost of replacing all four segments was estimated to be $1.08 million, with the possibility of qualifying for a Community Development Block Grant that would pay up to $400,000 of the project with a 50/50 match by the city.

“These projects will require income surveys of the areas we want to target,” Paine said.

To qualify for a CDBG grant, 51 percent of the households in the targeted area must be of low to moderate income, based on house-to-house surveys that are yet to be completed.

No action was taken on the street project, or any other specific project. By statute, capital improvement projects must be referred to the city’s planning commission for review before formal approval by the council.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• approved a draft of a charter ordinance that gives the city the authority to change state-imposed court fees by simple ordinance. Previously, the city has had to use a charter ordinance to change the fees; a charter ordinance does not take effect until 60 days after legal publication.

• renewed a two-year liquor license for R&D Liquor in Hillsboro Heights. Paine said Police Chief Dan Kinning recommended approval after completing the required background checks.

• elected Paine and Mayor Delores Dalke to serve as voting delegates for the city at the League of Kansas Muncipa­lities conference in Overland Park, Oct. 8-10.