Loewen appointed to fill term on Hillsboro council

Membership of the Hillsboro City Council changed at the  July 1 meeting. In the left photo, East Ward representative Marlene Fast receives a plaque from Mayor Delores Dalke following her resignation after three years of service.The Hillsboro City Coun?cil took on a new look with a transition of membership during its July 1 meeting.

The council accepted the resignation of Marlene Fast and approved the appointment of David Loewen to fill the remainder of Fast?s two-year term as a representative from the East Ward.

Fast had served on the council since 2011. She received a plaque commemorating her service from Mayor Delores Dalke.

Most recently serving as director of alumni at Tabor College, Fast will be moving out of state for employment.

?I am super-appreciative of the time spent (on the council),? she said. ?It?s been a great ride.?

Loewen, a Hillsboro native, teaches in the education department at Tabor. He took the oath of office from City Clerk Jan Meisinger, then participated as a voting member the rest of the meeting.

David Loewen, Fast?s successor, takes the oath of office from City Clerk Jan Meisinger.Airport master plan

The council voted 4-0 to receive a master plan developed for the municipal airport by the Airport Board and city engineer Darin Neufeld of EBH & Associ?ates.

Neufeld said having a master plan in place will give the city direction when it considers the future of its airport.

In addition, the plan will be filed with the state, which should enhance the city?s chances of getting state funding for projects outlined in the plan because the projects already have been professionally reviewed.

?It?s not an exact document, but it is useful when asking for funds,? he said.

One of the key components of the master plan is to someday lengthen the runway to better accommodate the twin-turboprop aircraft commonly used for medical transport.

Neufeld said medical aircraft can land in good weather conditions on the current runway, which is 3,229 feet long. But lengthening the runway to 4,000 feet would be helpful to pilots flying under poor conditions.

In response to a question, Neufeld said the city currently has no ordinances that prohibit construction immediately north of D Street.?But he said the city needs such an ordinance because it could lose 300 to 400 feet of its runway if houses are allowed to be built right off of D Street.

Neufeld noted a recent state law that eventually will require all airports to have a ?non-precision approach runway system,? which means providing 24/7 GPS information for pilots looking to land under poor weather conditions.

One benefit for the broader community would be immediate and exact online local weather information, including rainfall totals, current temperature, wind speeds, etc.

Neufeld said because of the law, KDOT?Aviation has all but guaranteed that funding applications for the required equipment would be accepted with the state providing 90 percent of the funding and local government paying the remaining 10 percent.

Neufeld estimated the total cost of the GPS project to be $150,000, with the city responsible for $15,000.

Audit report

Following its presentation by Julie Wondra, a certified public accountant with Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, the council voted to receive the auditor?s report for 2013.

Wondra described the report as receiving a ?clean opinion,? meaning auditors did not find material mistakes in the city?s financial recordkeeping.

She reported the city?s total outstanding debt at $10.9 million, but noted that during 2013 the city paid $100,000 beyond its required payments toward debt reduction.

Wondra listed several items that could be improved in regard to staff evaluations and the operation of some city boards. She also encouraged the councilors to take advantage of more opportunities to be trained in their responsibilities.

Wondra ended her report by complimenting the office staff for its assistance during the auditing process.

?Jan (Meisinger) and Larry (Paine) did a great job,? she said. ?They were very helpful and got us the information we needed. We got great cooperation from them.?

Other business

In other business, the council:

? heard City Admini?strator Larry Paine suggest the council may want to consider, prior to next year?s Fourth of July, restricting certain types of fireworks within city limits. A resident had expressed concern about a ?magnificent show? of fireworks in her neighborhood that results in considerable debris afterward.

?I?m not against fireworks, but I think the thing we need to pay attention to is the impact of those fireworks on their neighborhood,? Paine said.

? received suggestions from Warren Dalke during the public-comments time regarding potential improvement projects. He mentioned the need to rework Commer?cial Street in the industrial park, to address curb and street issues on Grand Avenue in front of the high school, and to re-stripe D Street in preparation for the Marion County Fair later this month.

Mayor Dalke said the city hasn?t ignored these situations, but currently lacks funds to address them.

? heard Councilor Byron McCarty compliment the street department for the quality of work done in rebuilding the intersection at B and Madison streets.

? approved 4-0 a resolution stating that the governing body of Hillsboro officially recognizes the private company that will be managing the city?s flexible spending account for staff.

? designated 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, for a public hearing on the proposed city budget for 2015.

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