Council prioritizes projects
With a past bond issue paid, the City of Hillsboro can complete about $1.2 million worth of street projects without increasing property taxes. However, to do all of the projects would cost the city between $6 and $7 million.
That leaves the city council in the position of having to prioritize which projects are done first. City Administrator Larry Paine had council members complete a survey — prioritizing each potential project as high, medium, or low importance. By converting responses into a point score, he generated a ranked list to start discussion.
Engineering firm EBH & Associates provided estimated project costs.
The top 10 projects on that list and their estimated costs were, in order:
- Cedar Street between D Street and Grand Avenue — $299,690.
- A Street between Main and Washington streets — $132,020 to $159,620, depending on whether surfaced with concrete or asphalt.
- Industrial Road between the former railroad right of way and U.S. 56 — $454,518.
- Second Street between Main and Washington streets — $78,938.
- Adams Street between B Street and railroad — $354,430.
- Adams Street between railroad and Third Street — $131,330 to $277,035.
- Adams Street between Third Street and U.S. 56 — $582,820 to $623,875.
- First Street between Ash and Main streets — $87,609 to $112,689.
- Birch Street between D Street and Grand Avenue — $243,398.
- Date Street between D Street and Grand Avenue — $565,225.
Mayor Delores Dalke said she preferred to focus on streets that act as arteries for traffic, rather than smaller projects such as A Street. Council member Bob Watson said he thought A Street between Main and Washington streets is in bad enough shape that it needs fixed, either now or in the near future.
Watson said the relocation of Hillsboro Community Hospital to the intersection of Industrial Road and U.S. 56 should be taken into consideration in the decision.
Dalke and council member Kevin Suderman said they were surprised Cedar Street topped the list, because Date Street is in worse condition.
Some residential streets, including Birch, Cedar, and Date, might be eligible for matching grant funds, Paine said.
Another bond issue will be paid in 2013, Paine said.
No economic development referendum for now
Council members decided to wait until the 2012 budget is reviewed in the summer before making any further decisions to call a referendum regarding economic development.
Council member Shelby Dirks had wanted a referendum proposing to use about five mills of property taxes pay the city’s share of a partnership with Hillsboro Development Corporation and Hillsboro Ventures Inc. for economic development. The city currently pays its share from the Electric Department fund.
Council member Byron McCarty said he agreed with Dirks that the program shouldn’t be part of the Electric Department budget.
Paine said he wouldn’t advise having a referendum if the council didn’t intend for the measure to be a success and plan to make it successful. Dirks agreed.
Watson said he was puzzled why the city should put it to an election. The council has the power to make that decision, like they make so many other budgetary decisions, he said.
Although using the money from the electric department seems counterintuitive, it might be more fair than property tax money, Suderman said. Using property taxes for the program would put the burden of economic development strictly on property owners, whereas electric funds come from all city residents.
Dalke said her understanding was that Dirks had wanted an election before the city entered the partnership with HDC/HVI. Dirks said that was an accurate assessment.
“It’s definitely after the fact,” he said.
In other business:
- Hillsboro Tree Board member Paul Janzen was recognized for volunteering on the board for 30 years. He was appointed in 1981; the board was created in 1972.
- The council approved revisions to an agreement with the City of Marion to work together to mitigate problems with zebra mussels at the intake pipe the cities share from Marion Reservoir that is used for drinking water for both cities.
- A new floodplain ordinance was approved at Hillsboro Planning Commission’s recommendation. The new floodplain maps include floodplains in a portion of Hillsboro Heights near a water retention pond and areas south and east of Parkside Homes. No structures are currently in the affected areas.
- Lenna Knoll was appointed to Hillsboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
- Dalke said a group of volunteers will soon have a proposal for the city regarding the city’s museums.
- The city finished 2010 with $584,615 of sales tax receipts, an increase of about $13,000 from 2009.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be March 15.