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Water tower needs repaired or retired

Staff writer

The cost to decommission and demolish the smaller of Hillsboro’s two water towers would be about the same as rehabilitating it, Senior Water Treatment Technician Morgan Marler told Hillsboro City Council on Tuesday.

Demolishing the tower near Cooperative Grain and Supply would cost between $25,000 and $40,000 plus another $40,000 for a new backup system, she said. Repairing the tower would cost about $75,000, and repairs would keep the tower fully functional for about 25 years with proper maintenance.

Scuba divers inspected the tower in October. The interior of the tower has suffered corrosion since repairs were made in 1985. There are also safety concerns with ladders to the top of the tower, Marler said.

Mayor Delores Dalke said it would make sense to repair the tower, with prices being so close. However, the 2011 budget doesn’t include funds for repair or demolition.

Council member Kevin Suderman said the safety issues must be addressed, and Marler said she thought the Water Department could afford that in 2011.

The water tower was built in 1927 as part of the city’s original water works system. It can store 80,000 gallons of water. The larger water tower has a capacity of 500,000 gallons, and the water treatment plant produces about 400,000 gallons per day.

Despite its relatively small size, the tower has been indispensable as a backup, Marler said.

Cooperation agreement approved

The council approved an interlocal cooperation agreement with the City of Marion for a zebra mussel mitigation project. The cities share a water intake at Marion Reservoir.

The agreement allows the cities to jointly negotiate with engineering firm Evans, Bierly, Hutchinson, and Associates P.A. to design, test, and possibly implement and create design specifications for an ozone dispersal system to reduce and prevent problems with zebra mussels at the shared water intake.

The invasive mussels reproduce so much that they can clog water intake structures.

The council set a maximum project cost of $150,000. Anything greater than that would require additional council approval. The cities’ cost will be split based on the amount of potable water the cities have produced since 2006. That results in Hillsboro paying approximately 55 percent.

In other business:

  • City Administrator Larry Paine, Hillsboro Development Corporation Executive Director Clint Seibel, and bond counsel J.T. Klaus and Andrew Kovar of Triplett, Woolf & Garretson LLC of Wichita met in closed session with the council for 40 minutes to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Council member Bob Watson requested that Paine, Klaus, and Kovar meet with Marion County Commission to discuss the city’s tax increment financing district. Hillsboro Business Park, including Midway Motors’ new location, was inadvertently left out of the district.
  • The council approved increasing recycling fees from $1.90 to $1.95 per month for 2011. McPherson Area Solid Utility increases the city’s recycling fee 5 cents per household each year.
  • Vermeer Great Plains of Goddard will sell the city a trencher to be used in the street, electric, and sewer departments for $48,570. The city will receive a $2,000 trade-in credit for the old trencher.
  • Sales tax received in 2010 was $584,615. That was an increase of 3.3 percent from 2009.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 4 p.m. Jan. 18.

Last modified Jan. 5, 2011

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