Hillsboro council OKs abatements for two companies

The Hillsboro City Coun?cil voted during its Feb. 14 meeting to continue tax-abatement arrangements with two local companies.

Abatement was approved for Container Services Inc. and Hillsboro Industries Inc., both located in the industrial park east of the city.

J.T. Klaus, the city?s bond counsel, recommended continuing abatement after reviewing the two companies? sales and employment information, as required by the program.

On the same topic, City Administrator Larry Paine reported the city?s abatement arrangement with Golden Heritage Foods (now Bark?man Honey Co.) ended in 2013 when the company retired all of its bonds. All properties are now on the tax roll.

After discussing the city?s options, the council asked the accounting firm of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball to submit a two-year contract proposal for auditing the city?s books.

Paine had recommended at the council?s previous meeting that it approve a three-year extension to its contract with the business, which has an office in Hills?boro. Paine said city staff were pleased with the work ABBB had done.

The council had deferred action, though, when Councilor Shelby Dirks could not attend that meeting but asked to be part of the discussion.

At last Tuesday?s meeting, Dirks said he wanted to suggest that the city put the contract up for bids rather than simply extending it.

?It would help keep everybody honest and we could see where we?re at,? Dirks said.

Councilor Bob Watson said he liked the fact that ABBB had a local office, which has been a convenience for the city clerk.

Paine said the city receives some financial benefit from a longer contract because of efficiency factors. Approving the proposed three-year contract would have cost the city an average of $14,572 per year, compared to a one-year fee of $16,500.

Given the timing of the issue, the council agreed to extend the contract with ABBB for two years, then ask for bids.

ABBB will submit a two-year proposal for the council?s next meeting.

In other action, the council approved the appointment of Bill Bradford as a volunteer firefighter with the Hillsboro Fire Depart?ment. Bradford had been a volunteer with the Marion Fire Department prior to moving to Hillsboro.

Fire Chief Ben Steketee said Bradford had met the qualifying requirements and recommended his appointment.

The council met in executive session for attorney-client privilege. No action was taken when the public session resumed.

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