Council OKs study to evaluate sanitation options

? City asks for evaluation to determine best direction.

The Hillsboro City Coun?cil agreed at a special meeting Jan. 21 to spend $13,900 to hire a pro?fes??sional consultant to help the city evaluate the future of its sanitation program.

Jim Heinicke, former city manager of Newton, and his associate, Randy Jackson, both have experience with Newton?s sanitation and recycling programs, according to Paine.

The city?s proposal includes a review of:

? the city?s current collection process that includes routing, staffing and evaluating the equipment needed;

? disposal of trash and recycling, including how Hillsboro would interface with the Marion County recycling program;

? a financial review, including a rate analysis.

? a comparison of the city maintaining a sanitation and recycling service versus hiring a private collection company.

Councilor Shelby Dirks asked whether the city could do some of the legwork itself in an effort to reduce costs, but in the end the council approved the proposal by a 3-0 vote.

Engineering review

Paine reported the results of the city engineer?s review of the former Prime Time property at the corner of D and Washington streets.

The review had been requested during a public hearing regarding the future of the unused building as a ?dangerous property.?

Paine said engineer Darin Neufeld of EBH Engineers found significant roof damage, signs of leaks and rotted roof tressels. One area of the roof is being held up by a cooler that was left in the building.

Neufeld also confirmed that the gas tanks used when the business was active have not been removed, as some had supposed.

Neufeld added that officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said ?they don?t have much leverage when it comes to removal? and indicated it was up to the city to do ?the dirty work? of ordering their removal.

Action on the property will be taken at the Feb. 3 city council meeting, Paine said.

Water tower repairs

Paine updated the council on the status of the ?little? water tower that lost its roof during a windstorm last fall.

Prior to the storm, the city had been approved for a grant for general repairs through the State Historic Preservation Office.

In the wake of the storm, the city requested that the initial grant award be revised. The revised grant increased to $136,300, with the state providing $90,000 and the city the remaining $46,300. A later request from the city to include an emergency award increased the state?s share by $13,500.

The question before the council was whether the city should go ahead with repairs, or raze the tour and spend about the same amount to purchase a pump system that could generate the needed water pressure without the need for the second tower.

Morgan Marler, the city?s senior water treatment technician, said the damaged tower is still needed as a backup for summer-time water use. The cost of repairing the tower would be comparable to buying the pump system.

Marler said the cost of the electricity to run the pump system would actually be a greater expense to the city over the long run.

The council voted to authorize Paine to solicit bids to repair the tower.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? continued its discussion on developing a reserve-fund policy regarding city utilities. The council had set a 90-day funding target at its previous meeting; at this meeting, the council discussed possible strategies and a timeline for hitting the targets.

A few of the utilities already are fully funded for 90 days, but a few are a considerable distance away from the target. Some are funded with property tax, some with sales tax.

The council made no decisions, but expressed affirmation for the 90-day target and the possibility of being flexible regarding timelines for reaching it, according to variances in the funds.

? approved a resolution stating the city?s support of Vintage Construction?s proposal to build up to five twin homes in Hillsboro. The application will be submitted to the Kansas Housing Resources Corp. with the hope of being approved for project funding.

The city has provided a similar resolution each of the past three years.

? approved the purchase of 2.5 years worth of bentonite, material used at the water plant. The amount is worth $11,000, but buying in bulk should save the city $5,000, according to Marler.

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