Mayor gives update on water usage

Wow, has it been hot and dry or what? With the current draught conditions I have been asked several times lately about Hillsboro’s water usage and more specifically the water that we have been providing to the wind farm project. As most of you know, Hillsboro’s source of water is Marion Reservoir. As some of you may not know, while the Corps of Engineers operates and manages the reservoir, the state of Kansas actually controls and sells us the water we take from the lake. I would like to assure you all that while the water levels at the reservoir are much lower than normal, we have not been asked nor have we been mandated to reduce our consumption at this point. That may or may not come in the future, and you will be certainly be hearing about it if we do.

A few water consumption facts: Hillsboro’s total water usage is around 700,000 gallons of water per day. Of that figure, 60,000 to 70,000 gallons goes to Peabody (yes, we supply our friends down there with their treated water) and 60,000 gallons per day is used at the Memorial Park, Golf Course and Sports Complex. We have been selling approximately 260,000 gallons per day to the wind farm construction project. We sell them this water at the same rate structure as all our residential customers, and while we are selling them millions of gallons of water, unfortunately the revenues will not add up to millions of dollars. That said, it is a nice “windfall” for our water department that will help us with some projects and help with our overall rate structure.

I want to assure you all that if it becomes necessary to go into some restricted water usage mode, we will notify you all immediately. In the meantime I would just say that we should always consider our water usage. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, don’t spend too much time in the shower and consider draught tolerant landscaping when possible.

Streets Update

We opened bids last Tuesday at our City Council meeting for the D Street Mill and Overlay Project and we were pleasantly surprised. The bids came in significantly lower than our Engineer’s Estimates. The city accepted the low bid on the project provided by Pearson Construction of $455,670 as compared to our Engineer’s Estimate of $866,550. To save you from doing the math, that is a savings of $410,880 over what we estimated we could have to spend. Even better, they plan to be able to complete the project before the first day of classes start at Tabor College.

The next project up will be East Grand Street (from Washington Street to Adams Streets). We hope that the bids will continue to come in as favorably as this project.

Community Update

I had the honor and privilege Sunday, on behalf of the City of Hillsboro, to help the Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church welcome its new lead pastor and his family to Hillsboro. Pastor Tom Byford, wife Nicole and their four children have moved to Hillsboro and will be leading the staff at Parkview. When you get the chance, please greet Pastor Tom and Nicole and add your welcome to Hillsboro. Insuring Hillsboro is a family-friendly place to live is critical to our future, and bringing families like the Byfords to Hillsboro is something we can all celebrate.

Parting Thoughts

I had a great time at last Tuesday’s “Come have a Bigloo with Big Lou at the Igloo” event. It was great to have so many people come out and share their thoughts, concerns and support for Hillsboro. Stay tuned—I hope to schedule other events like this where we can sit down and exchange ideas.

by Lou Thurston, Hillsboro Mayor.

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