Hillsboro City Council
City council members discussed strategic planning for the city and started planning for ways to operate while while dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak in Kansas.
Mayor Lou Thurston suggested the city organize its nine strategic goals under four platforms, saying he wanted to “pull it in a little tighter.”
The priorities earlier set by the city are population growth, housing, communications and technology, fiscal responsibility, amenities such as a hike and bike trail and community plaza projects, an emergency services center, removal of blight, updating the master plan, and collaborating to provide work force for Hillsboro and regional businesses.
City administrator Larry Paine, who earlier talked with county commissioners about a Hillsboro ambulance station the county hopes to build, said the city will provide a site for the ambulance building, and the concept for the building will include what Emergency Medical Services needs for its purposes and what the city will need for its police department.
Paine told council members they need to make decisions “very, very soon” to deal with the COVID-19 virus pandemic. In the meantime, he will make decisions that need to be made as the need arises.
“Yesterday, (city clerk) Jan (Meisinger) and I made an executive decision to lock the door,” Paine said. “I’m looking out for my employees.”
Paine said when he returned from a recent trip to Ohio, he was shocked to see the level of panic in Kansas.
Sales tax is the most important part of the city’s general fund, Paine said. Tax revenues could go up or down in the current scenario.
Decisions will also have to be made on when to send employees home, he said. He plans to cover their absences with sick leave.
Paine also said a governor’s executive order that utilities cannot be disconnected for non-payment affects not only utilities subject to Kansas Corporation Commission regulations but municipal utilities as well.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, people need to think about both themselves and others.
“I think we need to say to people, ‘If you’re sick, don’t come in here,’” Paine said.