Interest rates lower than expected for city bonds

Christmas came a couple weeks early for the city of Hills?boro.

The Hillsboro City Council approved bond packages for two infrastructure projects totaling nearly $2 million at near-record low interest during its Dec. 6 meeting.

Greg Vahrenberg, the city?s financial adviser with Piper Jaffray, said he had locked in interest rates earlier that day at 2.76 percent for one bond package totaling $345,000, and 2.67 percent for a package of $1.6 million.

Vahrenberg said he and City Administrator Larry Paine had expected to purchase the bonds at a rate of 3.0 percent or slightly higher.

Paine said the percentage points difference would save the city just over $171,000 over the life of the bonds.

?To say that good fortune smiled on us would be an understatement,? Paine said.

The smaller bond package will be used to pay for improvements at Hillsboro Business Park. The larger package will help fund the reconstruction of North Adams and First streets.

 Water watch

The council approved a resolution to confirm that a ?water watch? exists for Marion Reservoir, as declared Nov. 23 by Gov. Sam Brownback through the Kansas Water Office.

?Our water conservation plan requires a resolution of the council to impose ?watch? procedures,? Paine said. ?The goal of this stage is to heighten awareness of the public on water conditions and to maintain the integrity of the water supply system.?

Components of the city?s plan, presented in increasing stringency, are:

n The city will make occasional news releases to the local media describing present conditions and indicating the water supply outlook for the upcoming season.

n Leaks will be repaired within 48 hours of detection, and the city will monitor its use of water and will curtail activities such as hydrant flushing and street cleaning.

n The public will be asked to voluntarily curtail unnecessary outdoor water arid use and to make efficient use of indoor water, i.e. washing full loads, taking short showers, don?t let faucets run, etc.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n approved the appointment of Johnny Gilkey as a new volunteer firefighter with the Hills?boro Fire Department. He will fill the void created by the resignation of Randy Welch, according to Chief Ben Steketee.

n gave informal approval of restaging the city?s fire trucks and emergency vehicles so that all would be under cover during winter. Key to the plan was using part of an additional bay at the city-owned former AMPI building.

Steketee said the primary impetus for the shuffle was to get the city?s rescue truck under roof during the winter. He said freezing precipitation tended to ice up the locks on the truck?s equipment bins.

?That makes it difficult to man it,? Steketee said.

n approved the appointment of Jon Wiebe to the Salem Home Board and Gary Tibbetts to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

n appointed Durham native Brad Jantz, now a practicing attorney from Newton, to serve as the city?s permanent municipal judge.

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