Sales tax collection continues to climb in Hillsboro

The Hillsboro City Council heard in their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 1 that sales tax is continuing the strong upward trend from 2021.

“Sales tax collection in 2022 has started off 25% higher than January 2021. In total we received $75,552.83 in January for sales in December 2021,” said Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles.

Stiles gave the council an update on the proposed shipping container housing on 3rd Street.

The council heard public concerns about the project at the Jan. 18 council meeting. The project was referred back to the Planning Commission for further discussion.

“At the January 27th Planning Commission meeting the group revisited the issue. Additional public comment on the issue was allowed but was minimal and technically oriented. During the meeting the Planning Commission discussed many specific points that need resolution. The current proposed development is vague and so it was difficult for the commission to come to any firm recommendations on how to handle that type of construction. Ultimately there were more questions than answers regarding how to handle shipping container homes,” said Stiles.

He explained that the Planning Commission recommended issuing a 60-day moratorium on issuing building permits for the shipping container homes. During that 60 days the Planning Commission will research and evaluate potential language to regulate shipping container homes. The Commission wants to find a balance that allows the homes but addresses some of the issues raised with safety and aesthetics to ensure that surrounding property values are protected.

Stiles said. “It is important to note that the developer can continue developing his plans and pursuing his development. The city will assist with that process as needed, but will not issue a building permit for a shipping container until the moratorium is lifted.”

The council voted 3-0 to approve a 60-day moratorium on shipping container home building permits to allow the Planning Commission to develop recommendations for regulation of that type of housing. Councilman Byron McCarty was absent and did not vote. Councilman Blake Beye attended and voted via zoom.

“Morgan Marler, Mayor Thurston and I met with Jake Wessel from Senator Moran’s office on January 25. We discussed our issues with iron and manganese issues caused by the blue-green algae at the

Marion Reservoir. One of the potential mitigation solutions would be to add some aeration at the reservoir, however, the Army Corps of Engineers has been resistant to that idea. Wessel indicated that he would begin working with the Senator’s staff that deals with the Corps to see if we can make some progress,” said Stiles.

“Mayor Thurston, Council member Beye and myself attended the Leagues Day at the Capitol on Jan. 26. We met with Representative Owens and Senator Wilborn individually. During those meetings we had an opportunity to address the iron and manganese issues caused by the blue-green algae at the Marion Reservoir. We also discussed issues related to regional water provision and commercial electric

vehicle chargers,” said Stiles.

Stiles also said that Attorney General Derek Schmidt provided information on the opioid settlement that the city is participating in.

In other business:

n The council learned that there will be a formal presentation of PD collar brass for Hillsboro Police Chief Hiebert and Assistant Chief Brazil at the Feb. 15 city council meeting. New officer Peyton Heidebrecht will also be on hand for introduction to the Council.

n Stiles explained that last year the contract mowing was $24,190 for the season. Based on adding and

subtracting areas, Stiles estimates that the total would likely be close to $30,000 for 2022. Those costs are broken out and assigned to different areas responsible for their maintenance. The areas for the bids would be: Hillsboro Heights, AMPI, Downtown areas (City Hall, Recycling Center, area north of the post office), the old hospital & Willow Glenn lots, the museum & fairgrounds areas, the area around the swimming pool, Memorial Park and the airport. The council approved for the city staff to negotiate with previous mowers, then release bid opportunities for the remaining areas to be awarded at the March 1 meeting.

n The council learned that on June 15, the Bike Across Kansas event will be stopping in Hillsboro for an overnight stay. The BAK event attracts riders from around the nation and the world to bike from the western side of the state to the eastern side. This year’s route is 512 miles spread over 9 days. Each day’s ride is between 50 to 80 miles. The event has had up to 1,000 participants in the past, but event organizers are unsure how many there will be this year after COVID-19 canceled or shortened the last few events. We’re anticipating at least 500 riders.

“The Chamber is serving as the community coordinator and USD 410 will work to host the riders overnight. This will be a great opportunity for us to showcase our community,” said Stiles.

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