New bids project lower cost to restore AMPI building

The Hillsboro City Council heard encouraging news at a May 22 special meeting that the cost to repair the fire damage at the city-owned former AMPI building should be considerably less than first projected.

At its previous meeting, the council was informed that National Catastrophe Restora?tion Inc. of Wichita, which specializes in such projects, had submitted an initial bid of $440,000.

Mayor Delores Dalke told the council the NCRI bid was so high because the company included the entire
building in its review and thought it was intended for an insurance company.

In the meantime, the city has procured a bid of $190,000 from an area contractor and is waiting for another area bid to come in before making a decision.

Mosquito control

The abundance of rainfall this spring has led to an abundance of mosquitoes in town. The council voted to purchase a new fogger rig and appropriate chemicals in an effort to reduce the blood-sucking insects.

The cost of the applicator is around $9,000 and was expected to be delivered Tuesday, May 29. It can be hauled in the back of a pickup truck or all-terrain vehicle.

Dalke said the rig can cover up to 450 feet with one pass under normal weather conditions. Driving the east-west streets should enable complete coverage, she estimated.

Dalke said the fog should not be a health concern for residents under normal exposure because of the type of chemical it uses.

City employee Gary Andrews is a certified chemical applicator.

The city also will order pellets to be applied in areas of standing water. Dalke said the fogger will kill mature mosquitoes while the pellets should eliminate larvae before they have a chance to mature.

Dalke said she would expect city workers to make regular passes through the city during late spring, and continue with less frequency into the hotter and drier summer months.

Mosquito control

After discussing the deterioration of the concrete portion of West Grand, the council authorized the street department to use asphalt to patch holes and cracks even though it is not as aesthetically pleasing as using concrete.

Councilor Shelby Dirks said the 30-year-old street will require an entire asphalt overlay at a later time anyway, and the process of patching with asphalt will require less time and cost in the present.

?I?d rather have a smooth street, if it?s done so it looks OK,? he said.

Councilor Shane Marler agreed: ?It?s more important for people to drive on the streets than to look at them.?

John Unruh, former head of the city street department, has been hired as a consultant to help train current staff on the art of street repair.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n received a dividend check of $6,807 from EMC, the city?s insurance carrier. Across the state, EMC is providing its municipal customers with dividends totaling more than $2.14 million.

n after some discussion, voted 3-0 with Dirks abstaining to give Dalke permission to write a letter to the editor in support of the upcoming school bond election. Dalke said she asked for council consent because even if she wrote the letter as an individual, it would still be seen by many as a letter from the mayor.

Dirks expressed some ambivalence about the value of a letter with city connections endorsing a position regarding a school district-issue.

n authorized Dalke to sign a contract agreement with Larry Paine, currently of Concordia, to become Hillsboro?s new city administrator effective July 23.

n approved at a special meeting May 24 to extend the city?s contract with Westar Energy through Sept. 30. The contract was due to expire May 31, but the city?s new utility arrangement with the Kansas Power Pool was not far enough along to take over electrical supply by that date.

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