Hillsboro council connects with interim administrator

The Hillsboro City Coun­cil met for the first time with Don Osenbaugh, interim city manager, at the March 6 meeting.

Osenbaugh, who lives in Derby, had been invited to attend the Feb. 20 meeting, but was advised not to because of dangerous winter weather.

“I have been around cities a long time, 35 to 38 years now in one form or another, including being a city manager in a small city,” Osen­baugh said.

“This is kind of second nature for me to be working with cities,” he added. “It’s really an honor to be asked by (Mayor Lou Thurston) and by Larry to do a little fill-in here while Larry is on the mend.”

Paine was hospitalized in late January after collapsing while on city business in Topeka.

“Larry’s a really good friend of mine, and we trust each other a lot,” Osen­baugh said. “Obviously, I’m honored to be here for him and I hope it’s very temporary.”

Osenbaugh does much of his work for Hillsboro from his home. He has agreed to work 15 hours a week at a $50 per-hour rate.

Rather than keeping track of mileage from his home, the $50-per-hour rate begins when he leaves his house and ends when he returns.

Asked about his work for Hillsboro, Osenbaugh said, “What I’m doing while I’m here is trying to work on a few things that we need to have the ball keep rolling, so that when Larry gets back, the ball will be a little further down the road than when he left.

“If I can do that, I’ll feel like I accomplished something.”

The big projects include engineering efforts for the city’s major waterline project later this year, and the project to separate the former city-owned hospital building into separate entities—one for Salem Home and the other for the Empower­HMS clinic for military veterans.

“As it turns out, not many of those things are at the stage where they require an outsider’s view of investigating, pushing or whatever,” Osenbaugh said. “If and when they do, then I’ll do a couple of things.”

So far, Osenbaugh characterized the interim workload as “only a few hours a week.”

“It’s trying to pick and choose things that Larry would be doing to bring before (the council) that he’s not here to do,” he said.

Later in the meeting, Thurston reported that Paine has returned home following his hospital recuperation from surgeries.

“I did get a chance to go over and visit with him a little bit,” Thurston said. “His spirits are good, but he’s moving a little slower than he was after the first surgery. He’s definitely improving every day. He’s looking forward to getting back to work.

“We’ll just have to see how that goes, and take it a step at a time,” he added.

Other business

In other business, the council:

◼ authorized Dale Dalke, street supervisor, to bid up to $6,000 to purchase a 2006 tack oil trailer that the Kansas Department of Transporta­tion plans to sell through a Purple Wave auction.

Dalke said tack oil is applied when patching asphalt.

He said the KDOT tack oil trailer has a Honda engine with a material pump, recirculation valve, two heaters and a flush tank. When the oil is recirculated, it also mixes the oil better to reduce chunks of oil that plug the tip.

Dalke said the new rig would be a considerable improvement from what the street crew has used to this point.

He added that a new tack oil trailer sells for around $13,000.

“Tack oil trailers are not very common and rarely do I see them for sale in good condition used,” Dalke said. “I have been looking for a trailer like this for quite a few years.”

◼ approved a request by Verlenia Hall, Hillsboro chamber office manager, to close off the 100 block of North Main Street from traffic starting at 4 p.m. to prepare for the third annual Community Block Party.

“Last year we served approximately 400 people 520 food items,” Hall said.

She said the fire department will begin cooking the hotdog and hamburgers to be ready to start serving at 5:30 p.m.

“We draw a lot of Tabor students,” Hall said. “We offer free hotdogs or free hamburger meals for all children and students with a valid Tabor ID card. The hotdog meal is a dollar and the hamburger meal $2.50.”

She said a variety of booths, games and activities are planned.

“It’s just a fun way of celebrating spring,” Hall said. “It’s been very popular the past few years.”

◼ agreed to renew the agreement with Joshua Boehm to serve as city attorney.

The agreement calls for the same rate of $150 per hour, billed monthly. Boehm said he will only perform work when requested by the city, which he defined as requested by the city administrator, mayor, city clerk or two council members.

“I don’t really do it with department heads unless Larry or Lou give a heads up,” Boehm added.

He said he would not accept a request for legal assistance from only one council member, but he would if two council members make the same request.

◼ the council approved a pay estimate of $75,928 from Hett Construction to cover the cost of concrete for one block of B Street between Jefferson and Madison.

Darin Neufeld, city engineer, said the concrete poured the next day on B Street between Madison and Adams will result in one more pay estimate.

Neufeld said he is pleased with Hett Construc­tion’s work so far. He said he is curious how the drainage component of the project will work, since the city hasn’t received significant rainfall since the project began.

“I’m kind of anxious to see a heavy rain through there to make sure everything’s going to work right,” he said. “Everything we’ve done on this project feeds into that.”

◼ approved a change order from Nowak Construc­tion for the sewer extension project that will service Russell Grove’s new housing development north of Third Street as well as the city’s water treatment plant, the new facility for Grace Com­munity Fellowship and the city shop.

Neufeld said the change order will require additional funding of $8,810, which includes $4,500 to repair a 12-inch waterline break that occurred during excavation. Neufeld estimated about 100,000 gallons of water escaped before the line was repaired.

With the change order increase, the cost of the project will be $108,110.

◼ recessed for a Public Building Commission meeting to pay an invoice from Elcon Services for $31,300 for work done to separate utilities at the former hospital facility.

Councilor Jonah Geh­ring, an owner of Elcon Services. abstained from the unanimous vote to pay the invoice.

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