Uncertainty of expenses makes city council table car purchase

A decision regarding the purchase of a new police car was tabled Jan. 22 until Hillsboro City Council had an idea of the impact the city's utility rates would have on the budget.

Councilman Shelby Dirks said he wanted to know where the city was financially before approving a new car purchase. Councilman Shane Marler agreed but said he didn't want to "short" the police department of a necessary vehicle.

Mayor Delores Dalke said she was concerned that the police vehicle replacement fund only had a balance of $13,500, and she wanted to know where the remaining funds would be drawn.

She also noted that she was surprised that insurance for police department vehicles came out of a fund other than within the police department's budget. City administrator Larry Paine said all city vehicles were paid from that particular fund.

The council had approved a new vehicle purchase in December when a 2007 Dodge Magnum was purchased.

In other business:

— Hillsboro Boy Scout Troop 129 requested and received an extension to the city's ordinance which will allow the discharging of fireworks through July 5.

The current city ordinance allows the sale of fireworks from June 25 through July 5 but discharging is only allowed July 1 through July 4.

The scouts asked for the extension because July 5 is on a Saturday and the troop is hoping the extra day to discharge fireworks will increase their sales.

— The council discussed options regarding a new telephone system for city departments and employees. The current telephone system is outdated. If the system should break down and require parts for repair, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to locate those parts.

A decision also will need to be made as to whether the system should be hard-wired or wireless.

Dalke asked if callers could be transferred to a department after hours. Paine said callers would have to call a direct number to reach a specific department after hours.

The current telephone numbers would be maintained.

Dirks asked how much the new system would cost and how the city would pay for it. Paine said the total cost could be $43,000, which includes $24,000 for the system that the city needs and $18,000 for extra features.

The city's capital fund would be used to pay for the purchase, Paine said.

— The council approved the sale of Lot 12, Block 5, Hillsboro Heights Addition, to Gib Suderman for $11,750. The lot is located west of the storage units.

Dalke will negotiate and sign the contract as an independent broker and on behalf of the city with no compensation for her services.

— An interest payment of $8,079 was approved for Kansas Department of Transportation for engineering on Adams Street. The city was charged and required to pay interest on the project until the bond payments begin.

— A power supply agreement between Kansas Power Pool, Westar Energy, and the city was approved.

— Work sessions were planned for the council to discuss utility rates and the strategic plan.

The council will have a session to discuss utility rates following the Feb. 6 meeting.

The city's strategic plan will be discussed at 4 p.m. Feb. 25 and 27. All sessions will be held in the council room at the civic building.

— A 10-minute executive session was held to discuss personnel with Paine and city attorney Dan Baldwin in attendance. The meeting reconvened with no decisions.

The next regular meeting will be at 4 p.m. Feb. 6 instead of Tuesday at the civic building.