Hillsboro Plans Spring Clean-Up Days

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Hillsboro's City Council had a varied purpose meeting Tuesday night, April 9, as visitors were welcomed, lifeguards and concession stand workers for the pool were hired, and money was spent.

Eleven lifeguards from last year's crew will return, headed by Garrett Stritzel. Others who will be strictly lifeguards are Aliese Greenwood, Jordan Gregg, Shaw Riggs, Hayden Pfeiffer, Trevor Hartman, and Joe Mattson. 

Obtaining food handler's license (so they can work in the concession stand as well as working shifts as lifeguards) will be Phoebe Wilson, Macey Eddington, Griffin Wright, and Chloe Beck.

Supervising those in the concession stand while working full-time there will be Maia Moranville. Hired on a contingency basis – to fill in when staffing is an issue because of vacations, sports camps, etc. – are Ella Pfeifer and Kourtney Janssen.

Spring clean-up days in Hillsboro will be from Tuesday, May 7, through Saturday, May 11. Dumpsters will be available at the Street Department's maintenance shed on City Lake Road; they are to be used by city residents for disposal of mattresses, chairs and couches. The residents have to haul the items to the site, but help will be available there, and there is no charge to the residents. Tires, paint, batteries, and electrical items will not be taken; that list of non-acceptable materials will be published in the Journal-News closer to the date.

The county's e-waste day at Hillsboro's recycling center will also be on Saturday, May 11; more information will be forthcoming about that too. 

Current Streets Commissioner Don Downs anticipates the Hillsboro Area Hospital Junior Board and representatives from Imagine Hillsboro combining on May 11 to do street clean-up along Main Street and Berry Street in anticipation of American Made Days, sponsored by Atlas 46 and to be held the next Saturday, May 18. More information on that gala will also be forthcoming; the council approved closure of Berry Street to accommodate the planned parade, music, race/walk, and car shows.

Vandalia Correctional Center Stephanie Waggoner came to the council to thank them for reaching out to the  prisoners to help clear brush from creek sides and the North Marina. 

Ms. Waggoner began her career with corrections in 1996 and became warden at Vandalia two years ago. She said the work crew is a source of pride and joy to her.

"The days of lock'em up and throw away the keys are gone," she said. "The prison system has changed the last two years because the prisoners need a sense of self-worth if they are to contribute to society upon release. They take pride in their ability to work."

According to her, last year the inmates from Vandalia logged 29,270 hours of working. The list of communities who request their services grows each year.

Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan received approval to pay March bills totalling $439,371.33. Expenditures for purchases to be made in April with bills payable in May included $2,600 for a web design proposal from a Carlyle firm, Serpentine Web Solutions. City Clerk Cory Davidson said it is a four-year contract with a firm recommended by CTI, and that many communities use the company's web services. "They can build what we want as we can afford it, and they are user-friendly." The acceptance vote was 4-0.

Approved by the same tally was the purchase of new but historic decorative street signs for Broad and Seward Streets in the Red Rooster area for $2,690; resurfacing the parking areas along Main and Broad Streets for $16,968; and resurfacing the north parking lot on Broad Street. Two bids were received on that project; the winner was Delaurant Construction ($46,979), while Litchfield Bituminous' bid $51,155.

Two members of the public spoke to the council. The first was Kaylie Ripley, who with her husband and father own a rental house on Lake View Drive. Their renter called her on Jan. 2 of this year to say there was sewer backup in the basement. Two local plumbers struggled with the problem, but with limited success because the block isn't in the house but out in the main under the street. The house hasn't been livable for over three months.

Mayor Sullivan assured her the council and city workers had discussed the issue often, and Ms. Ripley said she knew all the workers she'd had contact with had been friendly and considerate. Her family is desperate for a solution though.

Part of the basement of a neighboring abandoned house has collapsed, and the theory is part of the refuse from that has caused the problem. However, because that house is on private property, the city can't even investigate without permission from the absentee owner who has yet to respond to letters and calls. Both City Attorney Kit Hantla and the mayor said they've considered a new sewer line to replace the older, blocked one, but that requires easements that the city doesn't yet have.

The mayor said, "Every time we think of a different option to help you, another problem raises its head. We are trying."

Ms. Ripley was appreciative of the council's efforts, past and future; and the mayor said her appearance would bring urgency to those efforts.

Chris Sherer, odd man out to the council members in the recent election, came to congratulate the winners. "I think the voters see the community headed in a good direction," he said. "The vote was an affirmation of that. Thank you for your service."

Mayor Sullivan thanked Sherer for his comments and for running for a council office. "Our door is open to your thoughts and ideas," he said.

The commissioners' and mayor's reports were relatively short. Commissioner Robbins, given by Michael Murphy because Robbins is struggling with a voice issue, thanked the Vandalia Correctional crew for the work at the North Access Area to Glenn Shoals over the past weeks. He said the mandated repairs to the fuel delivery systems at the South Marina have been completed, and the mower deck is on the tractor rather than snow handling equipment. Robbins has also talked to H.U.S.D. #3 powers-that-be and the Hillsboro Sports Association about issues and expenses at the sports complex.

Public Safety Commissioner Murphy said a homeowner had demolished an "unsightly" structure on Virginia Street and he anticipates another in that area going down in a week or so. He had praise for rehab work occurring on a recent purchase on North Street.

Finance Commissioner Duncan reminded her fellow officials that budget proposals for 2019-2020 would soon be due.

Downs said the Street Department has been picking up bagged (in paper only) leaves left by the curbside. He asked those with limbs, etc., to be picked up to not put them into ditches but just at the edge of the property instead. At Murphy's suggestion he reminded citizens that it is against ordinance to blow grass clippings into the street because they too cause problems in the storm water system.

Commissioner Downs also offered kudos to Rusty Kirby because of his actions when an accident occurred in front of his house on School Street on Sunday, April 7. "Rusty calmed the accident victims; he used his past EMT experience to defuse a bad scene."

Mayor Sullivan was a bit late for the meeting because he had been with the Altas 46 group at the county board meeting; Ms. Duncan began the council session as mayor pro tem. The mayor reported briefly about the needs for county unity as Altas 46's Brian Carver has a vision of making Montgomery County into a center for American Made products; read Mary Herschelman's account of the county board meeting for more details.

The city council next meets on Tuesday, April 23, in city hall at 7:30 p.m.; the public is welcome to attend.

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