A look back, and forward for city

It’s hard for me to believe a year has gone by since I raised my hand and was sworn in as your Mayor. There has been a lot that has happened in that short year;

January – Larry Paine went on medical leave (this was a bit of a “gut check” for a new Mayor let me tell you). We approved $3.1 million in KDHE funding for Water line replacement.

February – We were able to hire Don Osenbaugh to fill in as an interim City Administrator during Larry’s absence (big sigh of relief). Began an automated Time & Attendance program for all City employees.

March – First house in new Groves Addition and sewer extension project for the addition is approved. Approved $20,000 in repairs to Schaeffler House from an 80/20 preservation grant that we received. Purchased a used Tack Oil Trailer (or as we jokingly refer to it as the “taco truck” – you have to ask Larry Paine about this) to improve our street repair capabilities.

April – Council approved maintaining our City operated Sanitation Department (as opposed to contracting it out). Welcomed Larry Paine back to duty!

May – Approved Marion County Fair Board’s request for a “Beer Garden” at the Demolition Derby. Accepted bids for the Basketball Court project for Memorial Park. Approved a new Dog Ordinance for Hillsboro (which had our largest citizen participation in a Council Mtg. for the year).

June – Approved our audit agreement with Adams, Brown, and Beran & Ball for 2018.

July – Accepted bids for D Street mill & overlay project. Bids came in significantly under the Engineer’s Estimate, $400,000 under in fact! Approved water line replacement bid, another $400,000 from the original Engineer’s Estimate (nice trend)!

August – Passed 2019 City Budget. Budget adjustments allowed us to lower the mill levy slightly). Remediation work completed on 311 Eisenhower house. Authorized GO Bonds for Groves Addition.

September – Purchased new Trash Truck for $316,000 that will operate with one crewmember and provide curbside recycling services. Purchased new Digger Truck for the electric department for $247,000. Sold a lot in Willow Glen.

October – Approved selling tax credits for Museum.

November – Approved rate adjustments for recycling and electricity. Repurchased lots 19, 20 and 21 from Dr. Michael Reeh for our Community Plaza / Splash Pad Project. Recognized the following City team members for their service:

Glenda Stoppel – 35 years

Mike Duerksen – 30 years

Tom Richards – 10 years

December – Amended the 2018 budget. Held a public hearing on 312 W. Grand property and declared it to be a dangerous property. 8 weeks was allowed to the property owner to complete repairs. Celebrated Ken Carlson’s many years of service to the City with a retirement party at City Hall.

Yes, it was a jam-packed year with ups and downs, but overall we saw major improvement projects started and completed. We held the line on the budget and overall seemed to survive a new Mayor without too much mayhem.

I can tell you 2018 has been a growth year for me. It was a time where I was able to learn a lot about how our city functions in a very short time. I have learned some lessons about service and how to interact better with people. I hope at least that you have found that I am approachable and transparent.

2019 – Looking Forward

There are many positive things for us to look forward to in 2019:

Completion of our water line improvements.

Continuation of our street improvement projects; Wilson and Grand Streets.

Curbside recycling

Community Plaza / Splash Pad Project – with the likely inclusion of a small footprint 25kW Solar Project (in cooperation with the Kansas Power Pool).

Hospital Hike/Bike Trail – from Ash Street to Industrial Road then north to the Hospital.

Continued development towards fiber optic capability to improve Hillsboro’s internet service.

New business development – Cooperative Grain & Supply’s new grain storage project (north of the City lagoon’s)

These opportunities (with more to come), will keep Hillsboro going and growing. I am anticipating a great 2019 and am honored to serve you and the community in this coming year. Let’s continue the progress as we “Grow Hillsboro Together”!