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Hillsboro will close portion of D Street for fair

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council approved a request by Marion County Fair Board Monday to close D Street between Birch and Floral streets during the fair to allow a larger carnival.

“It’s a very large-scale carnival,” fair board member Joe Alvarez said. “We’ve never had anything like that before.”

Alvarez had worked with Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee to make sure emergency services could still access every location they might need to access, including all businesses and residences, during the closure.

The fair will be July 27 through 30, and the section of D Street will be closed July 25 through 31, to allow for setup and dismantling of the carnival rides.

“I think it’s exciting,” Mayor Delores Dalke said.

The carnival provider is Wagner’s Carnival LLC of Aransas Pass, Texas.

Study indicates economic growth

Hillsboro Development Corp. Executive Director Clint Seibel and Tabor College business students Joshua Elliott and Rob Moore presented data on five economic indicators gathered by Elliott and Moore.

They studied capital investment, real estate appraised values, sales tax revenues, and school enrollment for the past five years, as well as population for the past 50 years.

Capital investment, derived from building permits, totaled $31 million 2006 through 2010, they determined.

Residential property appraised values increased by 10.5 percent and commercial property appraised values increased by 29 percent over a five-year period. Combined, the increase was 13 percent, they found. Additionally, sales tax revenue has increased 16 percent since 2006.

Hillsboro’s population has grown slowly since 1960, averaging an increase of 11 residents per year, based on U.S. Census data. However, any growth is a positive sign, especially considering many other small towns have lost population, Seibel said.

The students said they were surprised by how young the population in and around Hillsboro is. A 2010 study showed that among people within a 15-minute drive time from Hillsboro, there were more people younger than 45 compared with people 45 or older.

Tabor College’s enrollment has increased 14 percent since 2006, to 557 in 2010. However, enrollment in USD 410 schools has steadily decreased in that same period, from 669 in 2006-07 to 554 in 2010-11.

Paine’s evaluation favorable

The council met with Administrator Larry Paine in closed session for 25 minutes to discuss his annual evaluation. On return to open session, Dalke said the results of the evaluation generally were somewhere in the range of “above average” to “superior.”

In other business:

  • The council approved a new charter ordinance which would allow the city to increase transient guest tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, which the council had previously discussed. There will be a 61-day protest period, after which the council may approve a resolution actually increasing the tax. The probable effective date is Aug. 1.
  • New council member Marlene Fast, re-elected council member Bob Watson, and Dalke were sworn in. Watson was elected chairman of the public building commission, and council member Byron McCarty was elected council president.
  • Former council member Kevin Suderman received a plaque thanking him for two years of service on the council.
  • The council approved a contract with Christy Davis to apply for the city’s small water tower to be placed on the historic register. Davis will be paid $3,500. If the water tower is approved as a historic structure, it will be eligible for grants to maintain and update it.
  • Midwest Public Risk will continue to provide health insurance for city employees. The total cost of premiums — which includes the city’s share and employees’ shares — rose from $224,000 to $240,000 in the past year. The closest comparable Blue Cross Blue Shield policies would have cost $261,000.
  • The city will rent fire-resistant uniforms for electric department workers.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 4 p.m. May 3.

Last modified April 21, 2011

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