Company to pay for hospital, city bonds

Another step in making way for a new hospital was taken July 15 by Hillsboro City Council with the calling for the early redemption of revenue bonds by Oct. 1, with the anticipated payment from the company that is building a new hospital.

Bond counselor J.T. Klaus told the council that HMC/CAH Consolidated, Inc. could purchase Hillsboro Community Medical Center anytime after Aug. 2, with the city leasing the building to the company.

The company can pay the city for the existing hospital business through the state treasurer. Klaus said the company wants to erect a sign at the location for the new hospital along U.S.-56 that indicates a new hospital is being built but he recommended they wait until the Kansas Attorney General approves the deal.

The city council recessed from its regular meeting and entered into a Public Building Commission meeting. During the PBC meeting, the commission approved the resolution for the calling of the bonds.

Later in the meeting city administrator Larry Paine said he met with JE Dunn, construction contractor. It was determined that the city will be able to provide sewer and water. Electrical is a problem, Paine said, because part of that area is served by Westar Energy. He was confident that the issue will be resolved.

In other business:

— Even though the final touches have not been made to the city's 2009 budget, city administrator Larry Paine suggested and the council agreed to approve a legal notice with the mill levy not to exceed 50 mills. The 2008 mill levy was 40 mills.

The legal notice requirement, which will be published in the city's official newspaper, the Hillsboro Star-Journal, can set an upper limit for the budget. Paine said the amount always can be lower, which it will be. He continued that the council has four to six weeks to discuss and approve a proposed budget by Aug. 25.

"Let's start the process and then adjust it," Paine said.

— The council approved payments of $171,791 for improvements at the city's new wastewater treatment plant which included payments to engineer Evans, Bierly, Hutchison & Associates for $4,750 for construction staking, $10,880 for construction inspector, meals, motel, and mileage, $5,941 for engineering services, and $150,670 to APAC.

Councilman Shelby Dirks questioned the amount requested for the construction inspector which included $1,276 for a motel and if the inspector stayed in Hillsboro. The inspector was paid $47 per hour and worked 176 hours. Meals were $416 and mileage was $915 for 1,868 miles at 49 cents per mile.

Previously councilman Shane Marler had asked Paine the cost to hire an engineer to oversee projects.

Mayor Delores Dalke said the projects are too varied with sewer lagoon specifications being different from designing a street.

Paine said he sees it as an economic development project by recruiting an engineer to have an office in Hillsboro, serving the community with the city being a customer.

— Paine reported that wastewater issues involving Golden Heritage Foods of Hillsboro were resolved. Certain waste products from the company could cause problems with the new lagoon system if not resolved.

— In an effort to comply with a request by KMIT (Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust), the city's worker's compensation insurance provider, the council approved a policy to help reduce the number of claims typically made by police and fire personnel. A physical fitness-type stretching policy was adopted in an effort to reduce the frequency and severity of worker's comp injuries.

— With Paine being out of the office for two weeks to attend training, Clint Seibel will serve as acting city administrator.

The next regular council meeting is at 4 p.m. Aug. 5.