USD 410 may locate services in city facility

The Hillsboro Business Development Complex may have a new tenant in the not-too-distant future.

Gordon Mohn, Unified School District 410 superintendent, told the Hillsboro City Council at its March 20 meeting that the district is still interested in leasing about a third of the city-owned building, popularly known as the former AMPI building, as the new home for its transportation and maintenance services and central office.

Mohn said the district board had considered building a new facility for those purposes, but the proposed $850,000 price tag prompted board members to pursue a Plan B.

?We started out envisioning a Cadillac and now we?re looking at a Volkswagen or Chevy,? Mohn said.

The district would need to invest some money in the building to prepare it for use, but Mohn did not stipulate an amount.

Details of a proposed eight-year renewable contract still need to be negotiated, and both entities would need to formally approve the deal.

Mohn said the lease would be contingent on passage of the district?s $6.6 million bond issue scheduled for summer. But, he added, even if the bond election failed to pass, ?we still have a need? for such a facility.

The council agreed by consensus to work with the school to achieve a mutually agreeable contract.

If the project moves forward, the Hillsboro Police Department would relocate its headquarters from that building to the former post office, according to Mayor Delores Dalke.

New drive-through plan

Bob Watson, senior vice president of Emprise Bank in Hillsboro, presented an alternate plan for a new drive-through at the bank?s location at Main and Grand.

Like the original plan, which was presented last fall and turned down, the drive-through area would require the razing of the Emprise-owned building immediately north of the bank.

The primary difference would be that rather than have customers enter the drive-through from the alley and exit onto Main Street, the traffic flow would move in the opposite direction.

Even though the new plan would not meet all the bank?s objectives for customer service, ?it would better than what we have now,? Watson said.

He projected the new plan would require only four parking spaces on Main rather than the seven, which was a key reason given for rejecting the earlier plan.

Watson said Emprise would cover the cost of having the city?s traffic engineer review the plan. The council commissioned that letters be sent to all parties that had raised concerns about the original plan so they could participate in the discussion of the new one if they wanted to.

City to links with KPP

Bill Birnel, representing Westar Energy, made the case for signing a new contract with his company to be the city?s sole provider of electricity once the current contract expires at the end of May.

He explained how Westar has worked to lower the cost of its energy from what had been previously projected. Under the most recently proposed formula, Birnel projected Hillsboro would be paying $51.67 per megawatt hour compared to the $50.20 spent in 2006.

He also said Westar was asking its customers to commit to a 20-year contract to help the company pay for investments it would be making to build additional power-generating facilities.

Birnel said the company?s pricing formula would be reviewed each year.

Later in the meeting, Scott Shreve, the city?s energy consultant through EMG Consultants, said it was appropriate for the council to hear Westar?s offer, but cautioned it about committing to a 20-year contract?especially when sources within the industry are saying Westar is projecting an annual 7 percent increase in its demand charge.

If that would occur, Westar?s first-year quote of $11.62 per kilowatt hour would double within 10 years.

Shreve said he affirmed the decision the council made at its previous meeting to link with the Kansas Power Pool, a consortium of area municipalities working for more economical energy sources.

The council responded by approving Resolution 2007-03, which formalizes the city?s participation in the KPP.

Lobbying for campsites

At the request of Warren Kreutziger, representing the Marion Lake Association, the council promised to write letters to U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts in support of a congressional add that would allocate federal funding for the development of 100 additional campsites at Marion Reservoir?s Cottonwood Point Cove.

Kreutziger said the campsites currently available at Cottonwood Point are full and booked well in advance. Having additional sites available would generate significantly more tourism dollars for the county.

Other business

In other matters, the council:

n approved Resolution 2007-04 designating 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, for a public hearing regarding a request from Container Services Inc. for tax abatement on the purchase of new equipment.

n agreed to purchase a 2006 street sweeper from Sellers Tractor Co. Inc. in Salina for a net amount of $124,763, which includes a $24,000 trade-in deduction for the city current machine.

The new machine should arrive within 90 days. Sellers will provide operational and maintenance training for city staff.

In a related decision, the council accepted the bid from Bank of the West to finance the purchase at a 4.49 percent fixed rate. Central National Bank bid 5.6 percent and Key Bank bid 4.59 percent.

n deferred action on replacing the three sets of glass double-doors at city hall until soliciting a second bid.

n renewed the liquor license of American Legion Post 366.

n heard from city engineer Bob Previtera that surveying work has begun on the property located north of the Hillsboro Business Development Complex.

n approved a request from Pam Gordon, director of field services for the North Central-Flint Hills Area on Aging to declare March ?National Nutrition Month.?

n heard from the mayor that Stultz Plumbing Service of Hillsboro had begun replacing the 21 residential hydrants damaged by the deficient backflow protectors installed by city crews last fall.

Stultz Plumbing will be paid $90 per hydrant. The city is hoping to have the repair funds reimbursed by the company that provided the backflow protectors.

n approved a request that the no-smoking policy passed in 1987 be enforced at all city-owned buildings.

n approved appointments recommended by the mayor to a variety of civic boards: Peggy Goertzen, June Glasgow, Hank Wiebe, Pat Nuss and Stan Harder to Convention & Visitors Bureau; Ryan Kleiner to the Hillsboro Recreation Commission; Martin Rhodes to the Hillsboro Community Medical Center board; Lynn Hagaman, Jonah Kliewer and Martin Rhodes to the Hillsboro Tree Board; Edith Darting to the Airport Board; Kevin Suderman and Craig Roble to the Community Planning & Development Board; Carolyn Penner and Brenda Kimberly to the Library Board.

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