Hillsboro receives funds to treat contaminants from blue-green algae in water systems

Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles had some good news for the city council at their July 5 meeting when he told them that under the Federal Infrastructure bill passed last year, the state received more funding for treating emerging contaminants in water systems including Manganese.

“Our application for $1.1 million received top priority rating and is eligible for 100% loan forgiveness,” said Stiles.

He explained that the city applied to the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund (KPWSLF) for remediation of the Manganese in the water supply caused by the blue-green algae die off in Marion Reservoir.

Stiles told the council that to formally apply to the state, EBH Engineering had proposed a contract for engineering services in order to treat the issues in the water. The cost of the engineering was a $10,000 lump sum and not to exceed the figure of $22,500. He explained that the project is approved for 100% loan forgiveness. The engineering portion of the project are also eligible costs. The council voted to approve the proposed agreement with EBH for engineering services and submission of the project to the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund.

The City of Hillsboro had Lease-Purchase agreements put in place to finance a Case 580 Loader Backhoe and a Wachs Vac Trailer through Vintage Bank. Both had been purchased and received but the bank backed out after rejecting the city’s required documents. Marion National Bank provided a bid for five years at 3.8 percent interest.

The equipment had been purchased using city funds which will be replenished with the proceeds from the financing. The Case 580 Loader is financed at $115,00 with two payments per year totaling $25,475.06 per year. The Wachs Vac Trailer is financed at $89,570 with two payments per year totaling $19,840.72 per year.

Both financing ordinances were approved unanimously.

Stiles presented three reports from Doug Dick, Code Enforcement Officer, regarding three properties Dick has determined are dangerous structures. The three properties in question were 311 N. Lincoln, 405 S. Birch, and 310 N. Washington.

As part of the process, there must be a public hearing date. The hearing date must be set for a minimum of 30 days and the notice should be printed in the official newspaper for two consecutive weeks. If at the hearing the council determines the structure unfit they shall direct that the structure be repaired or removed to make it safe. There will be a resolution that will fix a reasonable time within which the structure’s issues must be addressed. If the owner does not act in that time frame, the city can then act. All the costs associated with the remediation are charged back to the owner or are applied to the property in the form of a tax lien.

All three of the properties have been set for a Sept. 6 meeting. The owners, according to title searches are:

• Resolution 2022-02 is for 311 N Lincoln owned by Evelyn Throop. Four years delinquent on

taxes totaling $1,538.98.

• Resolution 2022-03 is for 405 S Birch owned by Four Seasons Sporting Goods Inc. Taxes are

current.

• Resolution 2022-04 is for 310 N Washington owned by Dennis Gora. Case is currently in a bankruptcy proceeding. Four years delinquent on taxes totaling $1,167.92.

The council approved moving forward with the Sept. 6 meeting.

In other business, the council:

n learned that the Board of Zoning Appeals met on June 16 and ruled on one fencing variance request. They denied a request from Gary Hillard at 206 East 1st to put a fence in the front yard of his property. They referred to the Planning Commission to review the regulations for fencing. They also took up a review of the variance issued in 2016 to Tabor College for parking at the Fine Arts Center. That issue is being examined by the City Attorney and Stiles will be working with Tabor on finding a solution.

n were told that the heater at the Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center died in mid-June. The gas fired heater is massive and irrepairable. The city is waiting on a proposal for a replacement gas fired unit and is looking at options for a solar heating system. According to Stiles, the layout of the pool roof lends itself to solar and would likely be less expensive to install and operate compared to a gas fired unit. With the limited amount of time the heater is used it would be difficult to justify a large expense to replace the heater.

n learned that the county has begun paving the 13-mile road. The limits of the project stopped short of where the city’s concrete street picks up leaving an orphaned section of asphalt road. Superintendent Dale Dalke spoke with the County and a contractor and received a cost estimate to extend the paving up to the concrete for a cost of approximately $10,000. Because of the timing and cost, Stiles approved the project. The final cost will be presented to the council and will likely be paid from the Special Highway Fund.

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