Hillsboro City Council discusses pedestrian safety

The City of Hillsboro Council met for the first time under the direction of City Administrator Matt Stiles on Tuesday, July 7.

The council discussed Ordinance 13-09 which applies to sidewalks in the downtown business district. The change allows businesses to use the space in the front of their business for displays. Available space is measured from 10 feet from the back of the curb. The back of the curb was chosen because it is a consistent measurement for all businesses. The 10 feet allows for unobstructed access for pedestrians, positioning of street lights and general travel. Based on the measurements of area, businesses should have between 5-6 feet for displays or seating.

There is no direct financial impact with this ordinance. However, allowing businesses to display on public sidewalks does expose the City to some potential liability. In Section 13 B, there is a requirement that the business shows the City as an additional insured party for $500,000. The Council can opt to amend that amount but would assume the additional liability.

Stiles recommended that the council approve Ordinance 13-09 and authorize the Mayor to sign.

The council also approved the KDHE reimbursement request for the final three items related to the water meter project. The change order added $20,095 to the overall project, but the costs still remained well under the original authorized project cost.

“I went and talked with the water crew and they were very complimentary of the contractor. They were very clean and nice to work with,” said Stiles.

Stiles went over the 2021 budget that he had worked on so far.

“We will need to set the 2021 budget public hearing for the August 4 City Council meeting. In the current draft the mill levy is projected to increase by 1.005 mills or 2.1% in 2021 and would not require a public vote. The total mill levy would be 47.274 if it were passed as it is. Once the notice of the budget hearing is published the mill levy cannot increase, but can be decreased. Normally I would advise that we wait to set the public hearing until after reviewing the first draft of the budget. However, to meet the mandatory publication deadlines we need to set the public hearing date at this meeting rather than the July 21st meeting,” said Stiles.

The council voted to set the meeting for 4 pm at August 4.

Stiles pointed out a pro of COVID-19 is that it has kept people focused on shopping local.

“If we can keep some of that going after COVID, that would be great,” said Stiles.

Mayor Lou Thurston publicly thanked County Commissioner Jonah Gehring for the work the commissioners did with the recycling.

“Please let the other commissioners know that I thought it was a great collaborative effort we did between the cities and the county on that. It is so nice to be able to work together,” said Thurston.

Toward the end of the meeting, Stiles addressed the tragic accident that happened a few weeks ago in Hillsboro.

After the tragic accident that killed Trevor Dayton Adams Wullenweber we began exploring ways to improve the safety of that intersection. We talked with EBH about options for the intersection but have not yet gotten definite answers back. Based on the initial conversation the intersection at Ash and D would not meet the KDOT standards for adding a signal. Normally it would require a traffic count over 10,000 per day and that intersection’s most recent traffic count was less than 4,000. There are other potential options including enhanced signage and better cross walks. Unfortunately, none of those improvements would have prevented that accident based on the highway patrol’s determination but the city can find reasonable ways to improve pedestrian safety there and across the community,” said Stiles.

In other business, the council:

n appointed City Administrator Matt Stiles as City Treasurer and Zoning Administrator.

n met in Public Housing Committee to approve the final invoice to Triplett Woolf Garretson in the amount of $106.

n appointed Lily Arthur to the Planning and Zoning board.

n discussed issues and need for replacement of upgrades to the doors at the airport hangar.

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