Council discusses spray planes at airport

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council had a lengthy discussion with employees from AG Aircraft about allowing sprayer planes to use the airport.

Currently an ordinance bans aerial sprayers from using the airport after a previous spraying company tore up the runway.

“We’re not saying that is something your company would do,” mayor Delores Dalke said, “Once we repeal the ordinance any old buddy can come in and out of here again and you’ve got the good guys and the bad guys will ruin it for them.”

Members of the airport board said they are open to allowing companies like AG Aircraft to use the airport on a trial basis.

Dalke suggested a permit similar to ones needed by contractors to be required for any spray company looking to utilize the airport. Because of the urgency of spraying operations, the permits would likely be approved by the administrator and mayor.

Paine said the permits would keep the spraying companies responsible for any damage done to the airport and allow the city to enforce a specific set of guidelines including having insurance to cover any spills.

The company currently uses Marion airport as its Marion County base.

“If you have any concerns you could just check out the Marion airport,” Mike Klieber of AG Services said. “That runway is short, so it’s not ideal, but it’s better than a long ferry to local fields from Moundridge. This would be the ideal location for us.

“We’ve never had a problem but if you have doubts I urge you to contact their city administrators and check up on us.”

A core drilling of the runway by EBH Engineering showed the runway could hold planes weighing up to 12,500 lbs., which is the heaviest AG Aircraft planes weigh.

In order to keep from tearing up the runway, a roadway for trucks loading the planes will be constructed around the runway.

The council agreed to pursue the matter by drafting an ordinance and permit requirements to be considered at the next meeting.

Resident questions fencing ordinance

Problems with rabbits burrowing into his garden led Martin Fent to purchase an above ground electric fence, only to discover such fences are not permitted within city limits.

Fent said he planned to mark the fence with signs alerting neighbors the fence is electric, and would be in an already enclosed area.

Paine said he didn’t remember such an ordinance but would look into the issue and get back to Fent.

In other business:

  • The council approved an amended water contract with Peabody that allows yearly changes to be made to the contract, says Peabody must be informed by June of any rate increases, and raises the rate from $1.48 to $1.85 per 1,000 gallons, with a surcharge of $2 per 1,000 gallons over 50,000,000.
  • The council agreed to seek bids for a new rescue truck for the fire department. The truck will cost around $50,000.
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