Hillsboro City Council plans to meet with an attorney from Baron and Budd, a Dallas-based law firm litigating with the manufacturer of atrazine, regarding the city’s membership in a class-action lawsuit. The meeting will most likely be in late March.
City Administrator Larry Paine said Tuesday the meeting would be valuable because council members never heard directly from the firm before the decision to join the lawsuit. Paine presented the information that he received from the firm, and the council acted on that information.
Council member Bob Watson said he would like a meeting, and he also would like to hear from someone without a stake in the lawsuit, perhaps an expert from Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the University of Kansas, or Kansas State University. Mayor Delores Dalke said it would be good to start from square one.
Council member Kevin Suderman said he didn’t think the council needed to hear any more from Kansas Corn Growers Association on the matter.
Dalke told council members that they need to remember their duty on the council is to represent and protect Hillsboro residents, rather than let personal or business interests interfere.
“Delores, I take offense at that,” Suderman said.
Suderman is employed by Cooperative Grain and Supply.
Dalke reiterated her point about representing residents.
Work is underway at future site of Midway Motors
Bob Previtera of Reiss & Goodness Engineers presented estimates for infrastructure at Hillsboro Business Park, which includes the future site of Midway Motors.
He presented four estimates for street work. The first was for a limited distance of asphalt to serve Midway Motors. The estimate, including engineering and legal services, was $148,000. If the street was made of more durable reinforced concrete, the cost would increase to $166,000, he estimated.
As an alternative, the city could extend the street to a planned storm sewer system. Doing so would make the business park more attractive for businesses, he said. Paving the longer street with asphalt would cost an estimated $194,000. Constructing it with reinforced concrete would cost $228,000.
In either case, sewer and water lines would cost an estimated $85,000. Previtera said the city will likely be in a good bargaining position, because contractors will be doing similar work on Ash Street.
Council members indicated support for the extended street constructed with concrete. The improvements will primarily be funded with tax increment financing, meaning most of the cost would not be part of the general tax burden, Paine said.
Paine expects grading at the Midway Motors site to be completed by March.
In other business:
- The city building will be the sole polling place for city elections April 6. Marion County Clerk Carol Maggard requested the single precinct because Hillsboro City Council elections are uncontested.
- Hillsboro State Bank will hold a $15,000 certificate of deposit for the city at an interest rate of 1.45 percent for one year. Other banks bid 1.2 percent.
- Paine met with council members in closed session for 15 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
- The council will consider allowing political activities, such as candidate fundraisers, at the city building and Scout House. Political events are currently limited to informative meetings. Watson said he was OK with a change, as long as all political parties are given the same opportunities.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is 4 p.m. March 2.