Dirks questions Paine's motives
Hillsboro City Council member Shelby Dirks questioned City Administrator Larry Paine’s motives Tuesday regarding an agreement among the city, Hillsboro Development Corporation, and Hillsboro Ventures Inc., to pay for an economic development director.
The council approved the agreement to pay 86.83 percent of the salary, which was an increase of the city’s portion, during a meeting Aug. 17. Dirks was not in attendance at that meeting.
Dirks said he was suspicious of the decision to place the agreement on the agenda of a meeting when Paine knew Dirks would be unable to attend. Dirks thought the city should put the agreement on a citywide ballot in November.
At the Aug. 17 meeting, Mayor Delores Dalke told the council of Dirks’ preference for an election.
Dirks also said he didn’t think revenue from electricity bills should pay for the position. Between $30,000 and $40,000 of the city’s portion will be paid with a transfer from the electric fund in 2011.
He said he was unhappy that the city increased the cost of electric service essentially to pay for the economic development director. In the second half of 2009, the city raised the monthly fee for an electric meter from $5 to $9.
“You don’t rob Peter to pay Paul,” Dirks said, quoting an old adage. He compared the increased fee to robbing electricity customers.
Dirks also said he was displeased he wasn’t included in the decision, even though he was involved in negotiations with HDC and HVI, taking time away from his personal and professional business. He thought the city hadn’t exhausted its negotiating options.
Dirks made his comments at the end of the meeting and made a motion to adjourn immediately after he concluded his statement.
Paine declined to comment on Dirks’ remarks after the meeting.
In other business:
- Payment of $9,413 to Evans, Bierly, Hutchison & Associates of Great Bend was approved for engineering on a project to reduce odor from wastewater treatment lagoons. Dirks and council member Byron McCarty said they thought the lagoons were supposed to have aerators to reduce the effects of anaerobic bacteria that cause the stench.
- Payment of $117,268 to Vogts-Parga Construction, L.L.C. of North Newton was approved for work at Hillsboro Business Park.
- R&D Liquor’s liquor license was renewed for one year.
- Payment of $1,774 was approved for William Morris Associates of Augusta for preparatory work to move the historic Bartle House into town.
- A 2002 Chevrolet three-quarter-ton pickup truck was purchased from federal surplus for $11,500. The truck has 29,000 miles on it. It replaces a Street Department truck that was totaled in an accident earlier this summer. The city received $3,900 from insurance for the totaled truck.
- Specifications for a Police Department patrol car were approved. The city plans to purchase a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, Dodge Charger, or Chevrolet Impala to replace a 2000 Chevrolet Impala. Bids are due Monday. Full specifications are available from the city.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be Sept. 21.
Last modified Sept. 9, 2010