Littering ordinance aims to curb lawn clippings on city streets

The ordinance passed by the Hillsboro City Council at its Aug. 19 meeting officially prohibits littering, but the target is property owners who mow their lawns and blow the clippings onto city streets.

The wording of the ordinance does not mention grass clippings in so many words.

Rather, it states: ?No person shall, intentionally or reckless, throw, place, drop or deposit, or caused to be deposited, any object or substance into, upon or about:

?(1) Any public street highway, alley road, right-of-way, park, other public place, or any lake, stream, watercourse, or other body of water, except by direction of some public officer or employee authorized by law to direct or permit such acts; or

?(2) Any private property with the consent of the owner or occupant of such property.?

A violation of the ordinance will be considered an ?unclassified misdemeanor? punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and 30 days in jail.

?A couple of months ago, we talked about putting an ordinance in place that prohibits owners who mow their lawns from blowing grass into the street,? City Administrator Larry Paine said. ?The problem causes buildups in the gutter system and storm-drainage system.?

Paine said the clippings get into the drainage system, get wet and eventually compost, ultimately filling drainage ways and ditches with dirt.

?It creates a maintenance problem,? he said.

Mayor Delores Dalke said regardless of the grass issue, she liked having an anti-littering ordinance on the books.

?I?m tired of picking up other people?s empty bottles and trash along the streets,? she said.

The new ordinance goes into effect once it is published in the official city newspaper.

2009 budget approved

The council approved the city budget for 2009 after lowering the tax levy from just over 50 mills, as originally published last month, to 40.151 mills. Last year?s mill levy was 40.171. The levy has stayed roughly the same over the past 10 years or so.

The general operations line item in the approved budget showed the only noticeable reduction from the published version, from $1.919 million to $1.894 million.

The new budget does not include a revenue subsidy for the Hillsboro Senior Center, as had been requested.

Benefit district tabled

The council tabled a resolution that would create a benefit district on the west side of town in order to pay for adding curb-and gutter and hard-surfacing a two-block stretch of West B Street along the north edge of the West Winds housing development.

Dalke said she felt it wasn?t fair to move ahead with the resolution without first notifying affected homeowners on how much their individual assessment would be.

Initial figures indicated that assessments could range from $11,000 over 15 years for the smallest lot in the proposed benefit district to ?well over $22,000? for the largest lot.

Dalke added that the council should reconsider whether the the city should proceed with the project at all, given its cost.

?I think we need to look at the whole project, to see if it?s one of our most important projects. We need to ask, ?Is this the best use of our money???

The issue was tabled until the next regular meeting, scheduled for Sept. 2.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n agreed to pay $150,670 to APAC Kansas for work completed on the city?s wastewater lagoon project, and $21,121 to Evans, Bierly, Hutchi?son & Associates for engineering services.

n planned an all-council tour of the new lagoon system for 4 p.m. Aug. 26.

n approved a bid of $9,571 from Flaming?s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning to install a new heating and air-conditioning unit in an area of the former AMPI building that will be used to host welding classes through Butler Community College later this fall.

n heard an update from Bob Privitera, the city engineer, about the improvement project slated for the Hillsboro airport.

The project includes additional lighting, new tie-downs? three or four tie-downs for planes and a turnaround area at the south end of the runway.

The project will be funded with the help of a Kansas Department of Transportation grant that will cover 90 percent of the $169,000 projected cost for construction, with Hillsboro covering the remaining 10 percent plus engineering and inspection fees.

n decided it would not rent out about 10 acres of city-owned land just west of the airport for agricultural purposes.

n approved the mayor?s appointment of Sue Wadkins and Kelly Schlehuber to first terms on the Convention & Visitors Bureau board.

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