Steketee named city building inspector

Ben Steketee

Ben Steketee will be adding to his resume as a city servant. The Hillsboro Fire Chief was appointed by the city council at its Nov. 6 meeting as its new building inspector and code-enforcement officer.

He succeeds Martin Rhodes, who resigned earlier this year.

Steketee will continue in his role as fire chief for the city?s volunteer department when he begins the new full-time position Nov. 19.

?It?s my opinion that this is a wonderful choice and he?ll do a fine job,? Councilor Shane Marler said after City Admini?stra?tor Larry Paine announced the appointment.

Steketee has been working as a technician with Flaming Plumbing & Heating, based in Marion.

Mayor Delores Dalke said, ?I see (Steketee) as being one of the best candidates we could have found.?

Dalke said because of Steketee?s expertise in fire inspection, Hillsboro could receive a better rating from the Insurance Services Organiza?tion. As a result, owners of commercial properties in town could see lower premiums.

Paine said he also was pleased with the appointment, adding that he had two other quality candidates to chose from as well.

Business Park

The council authorized the mayor to sign engineering contracts to expedite work at the newly platted Hillsboro Business Park, assuming the contracts are endorsed by Paine and City Attorney Dan Baldwin.

Dalke said it would be helpful to keep the project moving forward because a business developer would like to begin con?struc?tion soon.

Albert Reimer, Hillsboro, said at the meeting that if the surveying could be completed and his lot graded, he could pour the concrete pad for his proposed building in November yet. That would enable him to erect the building during the winter months.

Vehicle upgrade

The Hillsboro Police Depart?ment will take ownership of a better vehicle than Chief Dan Kinning had bargained for, thanks to an unexpected offer from a Hillsboro car dealer.

The council had reviewed Kinning?s presentation of three bids to replace the 1999 Dodge Intrepid he has been driving as his on-duty vehicle.

Kinning recommended the purchase of a 2008 Magnum from Wright?s Chrysler-Dodge- Jeep in Hillsboro. He said the full-size station wagon was important because ?I am a person of size and would prefer a vehicle large enough to fit me, as I will be assigned to this vehicle for the next eight to 10 years.?

Kinning said the larger vehicle would also accommodate more emergency equipment than the Intrepid could.

?My current vehicle is not large enough and some items, such as haz-mat (hazardous materials) suits, get left in the office. I would prefer the opportunity to carry this equipment.?

After the council accepted Kinning?s recommendation, Doug Wright, owner of the local dealership who was present for, but did not participate in, the discussion, offered the city a 2006 Magnum RT for $1,000 less than the bid for the 2008 model.

Even though the vehicle is 2 years old, it was essentially a new vehicle since it was ?a leftover? from his lot, Wright said. The 2006 included the more powerful Hemi engine and would actually be ?more car for less money.?

Wright said he would sell the $33,000 car to the city for $19,875.

After the council recessed for five minutes so some members could inspect the substitute vehicle, the council approved its acquisition.

Other business

In other matters, the council:

  • heard from Paine that Mayor Dalke has written a letter to Rep. Jerry Moran asking the congressman to intervene on the city?s behalf to persuade Rural Development to release funding for the construction of a new waste-water treatment system for the city.

    Rural Development had indicated its acceptance of the project when it presented a symbolic check for more than $5.3 million to the city back in August 2006. Since then, the federally funded organization has not followed through on subsequent promises to move the project forward.

  • approved Ordinance No. 1158, which authorizes the issuance of $5.983 million in health-care refunding revenue bonds for Parkside Homes Inc. The action will restructure a previous bond agreement in order to reduce interest expense.

    Parkside?s bond attorney, Winton Hinkle, said the action will create ?a much more favorable position for Parkside.?

  • accepted a ?contents budget? for 2008 from Hillsboro Commun?ity Medical Center. The budget, said Mike Ryan, chief executive officer, was a ?concept list? of potential purchases the hospital may make over the next five years.

    If HCMC decides to move ahead with one of those purchase, Ryan said he will present the item to the city council for final authorization since city funds would be used to buy it.

  • approved the reappointment of Eileen Unruh and Jim Brennan to the HCMC Board of Directors.

presented Joe Alvarez with an appreciation certificate and gift in recognition of 20 years of service as a city employee.

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