Hillsboro council OKs cutoff policy

The Hillsboro City Coun­cil approved a new utility-cutoff policy during a Nov. 22 special meeting.

Policy 88, which was introduced at the council’s previous meeting, addresses electric customers who are delinquent in their payments, but have health issues that require continuation of electric service.

City Administrator Larry Paine said the policy, initiated following a recent situation, was modeled after the one used by the Kansas Cor­poration Commission, even though the city is not subject to the KCC oversight.

The new policy includes the following four provisions:

(1) Any customer needing continuous access to electricity for medical purposes shall submit a signed release from a medical practitioner indicating the need as a medical necessity.

(2) Should at any time that customer’s account becomes delinquent, a notice of delinquency shall be sent by first-class mail to the customer of record at that address stating the intent to disconnect power service in 30 days if the customer takes no action to bring the account current. Following that 30-day period, the city shall disconnect the electrical power.

(3) It will be the responsibility of the city’s utility billing department to keep a list of customers that have medical necessity for electric power.

(4) It will be the responsibility of the customer to notify the utility department of their requirement for electrical power as a medical necessity.

The council authorized Mayor Delores Dalke to sign the policy; once signed, the policy will take effect.

Net-metering moratorium

The council approved Resolution 2016-16, which establishes a moratorium of at least six months regarding residence or business owners who wish to connect parallel generation units, such as wind or solar assist, and are part of the city’s electric utility distribution system.

In the interim, Kan­sas Municipal Utilities is working to develop a standardized policy that cities can use to address such requests.

The council had begun developing a “net-metering” policy independently in October, but because of myriad related issues that surfaced, decided to wait for KMU to develop and circulate a standardized version.

Budget amendments

Paine alerted the council he would be presenting routine budget amendments for at least five funds within the city budget. The amendments address financial adjustments that surfaced after the 2016 budget was approved in mid-2015.

The amendments cannot increase the city’s tax levy for that year.

The five funds identified were: Municipal Court, Capi­tal Improvements, HCMC Plant and Property Equip­ment Reserve, Aquatic Cen­ter Principal and Interest Fund and TIF District.

The amendments will be presented at a public hearing approved by the council for 4 p.m. Dec. 20 in the council meeting room.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• approved Ordinance 1275, which updates the McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility monthly recycling fee for 2017 from $2.34 to $2.35 per utility subscriber.

Paine said the past several years, the city has added a fuel adjustment of seven cents, but due to reduced fuel prices MASWU is dropped the additional fee for 2017.

• a proved a quit claim deed that transfers ownership of land formerly used as a railroad right of way in the industrial park from the city of Hillsboro to Country­side Feed LLC.

“The interest we have in the property is to be assured that the existing drainage from the highway (U.S. 56) can reach the existing drain­age easement on the lots south of this one,” Paine said. “The quit claim deed reserves an easement for drainage purposes and for Countryside to maintain that property.”

• approved a purchase order for the city water department to acquire $11,000 worth of chemicals for the balance of 2016 and all of 2017.

• was informed of the schedule to employ a new city library director following the retirement of Cath­leen Fish. Paine said he hopes to make an employment offer to a successor by mid-December with a start date of Jan. 1, 2017.

• was told by Paine that city department heads will be informed about a new functional analysis test that Paine described as “more stringent than a range-of-motion test.”

Paine said the intent of the new test is not to disqualify potential applicants for city employment, but to identify possible strategies the city could use to accommodate an applicant with physical restrictions.

• was informed by Paine that the sewer department had successfully cleared sludge from sewer lines leading to the treatment lagoons. He said sewage pumps are now operating at optimal levels again.

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