by Don Ratzlaff
The Free Press
The Hillsboro City Council met in a special session June 22 to approve several routine items.
The meeting was moved from June 19 to June 22 to accommodate the schedules of the participants.
The agenda item generating the most conversation was a use agreement required by the Central Kansas Conservancy that allow the city of Hillsboro to build the hospital trail sidewalk with a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Years ago, the CKC received certain rights from the railroad to use the railroad right of way for trails that connect communities together, City Administrator Larry Paine said.
Asked why the city would need to pay a $500 annual fee to the CKC when the organization is otherwise uninvolved in the project, Paine said the CKC’s stake in the project is its general goal to add more trails in the state.
“They want to build trails, and we want to build a trail on their easement—so we will pay,” Paine said. “I don’t know that we have a lot of options, honestly. If we want to continue the (sidewalk) project, we have to have their approval. They have legal right of way.”
Paine advised the council to approve the agreement, but not in the “serious rough-draft form” in which the contract was submitted to the city.
“When we get a reasonable copy of a finished document, we would ask the mayor to sign it at that point on behalf of the city,” Paine said. “But we’re not going to sign it the way it is.”
In addition, the council directed Paine to ask the CKC about their interest in the sidewalk project.
Councilor Brent Driggers said, “If it’s in the CKC’s interest to add trails, then why does the city need to pay a fee for the right of way?”
The final decision was tabled until the city hears back from the CKC.
In other business, the council:
◼ approved a street construction design agreement with EBH & Associates for several projects set to begin in 2018.
The cost of the design portion of the project is $200,000, which is 5.045 percent of the $3,964,364 total cost of the projects.
◼ authorized Paine to sign an audit agreement with the accounting firm of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball for budget years 2018 ($16,870), 2019 ($17,900) and 2020 ($17,900).
◼ heard a report from the mayor about a recent meeting Mayor Lou Thurston, Paine and Anthony Roy, the city’s economic director, had with community leaders at Valley Center.
Thurston said Valley Center, like Hillsboro, is looking for ways to revitalize it’s downtown business district.