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Hillsboro to buy sewer truck

Mayor voices opposition

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council voted Tuesday to buy a sewer cleaning truck from Sellers Equipment of Salina.

City Administrator Larry Paine was authorized to negotiate a lease purchase agreement.

The company asked $30,000 April 21 for the 1992 Vac-Con truck and $4,000 for necessary nozzles. They said they would hold the truck until the council’s Tuesday meeting. A comparable new truck costs about $250,000.

The city currently has a contract to clean one-third of the sewers each year for $15,000.

Mayor Delores Dalke said the city had problems cleaning sewers before contracting the job. There were constantly clogged pipes. The city doesn’t have the manpower to operate it or the money to hire someone to operate it.

“I’m totally opposed to it,” Dalke said.

Dalke also questioned how much it would cost to maintain the aging truck.

The council approved the purchase by a three to one vote. Councilmen Byron McCarty, Kevin Suderman, and Bob Watson voted in favor. Council President Shelby Dirks voted against.

In other business:

  • Dirks was re-elected council president. McCarty volunteered to serve on the Surface Water Advisory Board, and Watson will be the council’s alternate to Kansas Municipal Energy Agency. Watson was re-elected Public Building Commission chairman.
  • Municipal Judge Keith Collett, City Treasurer Paine, and City Attorney Dan Baldwin were reappointed to their positions.
  • The council denied Communities in Schools of Marion County’s request for funding because the city didn’t have money available in the budget. Linda Ogden requested funding because school districts are cutting money for mental health services with the state budget crisis. Dalke abstained from discussion because she serves on the board.
  • Paine will pursue about $805,000 of supplementary projects for the wastewater treatment plant project.
  • Total funds for the project were $5.3 million, and the city will spend $3.8 million on the new plant, leaving about $682,000 of loan and $750,000 of grant funds committed to the project remaining for other projects. The city can not move the money to the general fund as it must be used for the project.
  • The city will buy safety equipment for employees working in trenches at a cost of $5,478 from Circle D, United Rentals, and USA Bluebook. Dirks abstained because of a business interest.
  • Hillsboro First Mennonite Church’s request for cost sharing for concrete was denied. The city has a program to share the cost of concrete for residential sidewalks, and the church requested an exemption because of its nonprofit status. The council denied the request because it could lead to a flood of requests from other nonprofits, including large entities as Tabor College.
  • The council gave conditional approval of the plat for the new hospital. Engineer Bob Previtera said the owners need to receive paperwork for an easement for Embarq before the plat can be finalized.

Last modified May 7, 2009

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