Hillsboro gets good report on electrical system

The Hillsboro City Council met on Thursday, July 1 instead of their regular first Tuesday in July due to the 4th of July holiday. All members were present.

The meeting opened when City Administrator Matt Stiles explained to the council that The Kansas Power Pool staff performed the audit of the city’s electrical system. Stiles introduced staff members as Brooke Carroll, KPP Director of Administrative Services and James Ging, KPP Director of Engineering Services.

Ging explained that the city had a distribution assessment in 2014 so the staff determined no additional assistance was needed to update this report. He stated that the procedure involved interviewing Todd Helmer, Electric Director, to ask key questions about the system and to point out weaknesses or problem areas. The team then drove each circuit looking for any observable problems and to gauge the condition of system infrastructure and the apparent level of maintenance that

could be made through visual inspection.

After the drive-through assessment, the team made general comments about the condition of utility poles and appurtenances, conductors, tree hazards, capacitors, reclosers, transformer banks, and the substation; all from visual inspection from the ground.

No immediate hazards were noticed.

“Your system is in very, very good shape. You should be proud of that. We looked at all the poles and all the wires and transformers. We tried to find problems and it was very hard to find problems so kudos to your staff on that. My onnly suggestion is to continue to replace the copper conductors that you do have on the primary side just because copper conductors do have an age limit and become brittle and they are probably reaching that,” said Ging.

The KPP assessment team noted that, from their observations, the City of Hillsboro has maintained its electric distribution system and it is in great condition overall. The team was very impressed to find so much of the system rebuilt and the right of ways are in great shape both as far as vegetation and access. The report stated that the City of Hillsboro has done a great job and should be proud of their electric system.

While there was little found that needed to be repaired, there were a few issues.

“We did find a few tree hazards so we included a map with some of the tree issues we found that you could focus on in your next cycle,” said Ging.

He also mentioned a problem with the Central National Bank Transformer Pole. He showed the council pictures as well.

“Consider replacing the pole at this location. The ground line has begun to show visible rot as you can see on the right. On the left is a picture of the pole. This is a difficult pole to change considering the transformer bank and it is a double dead-end structure. We also tested the pole with the KPP Pole tester to confirm the condition of the pole,” said Ging.

Ging also recommended implementing a capital improvement plan.

“A capital improvement plan helps to determine where to focus improvement dollars and allow for

accurate budgeting. We identified a few locations that would be candidates for the plan. Although these are just our observations, Todd had a very good idea of where improvement dollars need to be focused,” said Ging.

Ordinance 1329 – Zoning Change

Stiles told the council that the old dentist office at 615 S. Main Street, which is located across from the old hospital on Ash, was bought by two men who plan to remodel it and rent it out as either a single family home or a duplex.

The building is currently zoned as General Commercial District/C-2 but needs to be zoned as Two-Family Dwelling District/R-2. Stiles explained that the Planning Commission held a public hearing on the matter on Thursday, June 24 and no one from the public protested the action. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to support the change and make that recommendation to the City Council.

The Council approved the zoning change.

Construction Agreement for County EMS

Stiles gave a little background to the council on the plans for a new EMS building in Hillsboro.

“Earlier this year the city worked with the county to locate the proposed EMS station on

city-owned property at the old AMPI lot— the space directly south of the current police department. The proposed agreement is a three party deal with the city, county and [Hillsboro] Land Bank. The city sold the lot to the county for $1 and will install city utilities: water, sewer, electrical. The city will provide grading for the project at the county’s discretion and will pay for the curb cut and apron from the curb to the back of the existing sidewalk,” said Stiles.

Stiles explained that the council needed to approve this agreement as the city.

Then the council, acting as the Land Bank Board will also have to approve the agreement since the Land Bank owns the property. The Land Bank will also be granting a common access easement and utility easements related to the project.

“Those easements will protect the city and land bank as the project moves forward and other

development happens on the property,” said Stiles.

Stiles explained that the county will also need to approve the agreement.

“Based on feedback from the [Marion County] Commission and county counselor, I believe they will agree with the terms,” said Stiles.

According to Stiles, city crews plan to do the installation of the city utilities and grading.

“It will likely be a contractor for the curb cut and concrete work. The revised estimate is roughly $25,000 in materials and labor, however that may change depending on availability of certain items. Hard costs for the project will be taken from the Capital Improvement Fund,” said Stiles.

“I know that we are spending money on this project, but again, I would just reiterate that it is an important infrastructure project for the City of Hillsboro in cooperation with the county and Travis Parmley and his EMS crew have really worked on the whole program and upgraded it significantly these last several years. The county has spent a lot of money on it and are going to spend a lot more money in Hillsboro, but it’s a critical piece of infrastructure and for me and for all of us, it’s important that it is in the right spot,” said Mayor Lou Thurston.

Councilmember David Loewen said, “This is something we worked on quite a while back trying to keep an ambulance in Hillsboro and I’m glad to see that we’ve got this plan. I’m very appreciative.”

The council approved the agreement.

The council then met as the Land Bank Committee.

Stiles explained that they needed to approve the proposed agreement which will transfer the EMS property from the Land Bank to Marion County for the construction of an EMS facility. The agreement also requires the granting of easements related to the project. Those easements include:

• An easement from the Land Bank to the City for the sewer service

• An easement from the Land Bank to the City for the water and electrical service

• A common access easement from the Land Bank to Marion County for the county to use

property on the north side of the property for accessing the EMS facility

Stiles also said that the common access easement allows for the continued and future use of the 36’ by 150’ of the property north of the EMS station, currently a public drive, to remain even when/if the surrounding property is developed.

Stiles explained that all of the easements had been discussed and worked out with the county previously and all were in agreement.

“They have been great to work with and have been completely understanding,” said Stiles.

The council took the following steps:

Approved the proposed development agreement.

Approved the granting of the proposed easement to the City of Hillsboro for the purpose of providing

wastewater service.

Approve the granting of the proposed easement to the City of Hillsboro for the purpose of providing

water and electrical service.

Approve the granting of the proposed common access easement related to the approved

development agreement to Marion County.

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