Trick or Treaters are on their own this Halloween as far as the Hillsboro City Council is concerned. At their latest meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, the council, with the concurrence of City Attorney Kit Hantla, decided not to set official days nor hours for the annual door to door visitations because of the Covid 19 pandemic. Hantla pointed out that the city can’t prohibit what happens on private property, so occupants of houses can pass out treats if they wish, but public bodies ought not encourage activities that could lead to harm to citizens when national and state restrictions are in place.
Councilman Don Downs said those who don’t want Halloween - masked visitors should not turn on their porch lights, and Councilman Mike Murphy said the police will be out and about to discourage any who view tricks as an appropriate response.
Dates were set for the annual city-wide cleanup opportunity. Councilman Dan Robbins said dumpsters will be available for the use of city residents from Tuesday, Nov. 3 through Saturday, Nov. 7, at the equipment shed at the entrance to City Lake Park. (Electrical items such as televisions and computer monitors can be recycled this Saturday, Oct. 17, at the County Highway Building parking lot just south of town at the intersection of Rts. 127 and 185). Because of the pandemic the attendant at the city site will not be as hands on when helping townsfolk pitch material into the dumpsters as he has been in years past, so Robbins anticipates the dumpsters will have lower sides.
Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan presented bills to be paid totalling $393,107.18. She mentioned that $1,200 of that was for hauling rock used to stabilize the shore line at Lake Glenn Shoals. That bill is to be paid from the Lake Improvement Fund, but she wondered if it ought not be the responsibility of the home owners in the same way that sidewalks are handled on residential streets.
She theorized that if the city buys the rock, the homeowner should pay the hauling bill.
Approved on a separate motion was a proposal from Hurst-Rosche, Inc., who said the company would complete a mandated Preliminary Environmental Site Assessment required for the enhancement of Main Street project; that assessment will cost $4,000. Related to that project is another requirement - a Public Hearing. That has tentatively been scheduled for this coming Monday, Oct. 19, as part of the Historical Preservation Committee meeting. That committee meets at 6:30 p.m.
As HR representative Scott Hunt finished his report, Utilities Commissioner Downs asked about a four inch cast iron forced sewer main underneath the spillway of the older lake -- a spillway to be subject to a repair project over the next four or five years. Hunt said he and Parks Superintendent Jim May could discuss that issue.
In her role as mayor pro tem Duncan discussed the need for an equipment use agreement to govern circumstances that can arise when local business people borrow the city’s man lift. The council is considering charging a $200 deposit to cover any needed repairs if the man lift isn’t returned in its original condition. Attorney Hantla will work with City Clerk Cory Davidson to write an agreement to be presented at the next meeting (Oct. 27, 7 p.m., in city hall).
In the absence of planner Jonathan Weyer, Duncan gave highlights of his report. The strategic plan is on the city’s website for the public to read prior to the required Public Hearing/comment report -- that meeting will proceed the council meeting on the 27th. The city marketing website is still in process.
Robbins as Street Commissioner said his crew repaired a water main on Vandalia Road. A small pin hole leak was detected in the northbound lane of Rt. 127 in front of Butler’s Laundromat; it had caused the water in the highway over the last months. They also poured sidewalk on Oak Street among other chores.
The Parks Department performed erosion-prevention in Central Park; turned off the water at the former scout camp; and planted trees at Glenn Shoals north access area, the dog park, and Challacombe Park. Administratively, Superintendent May renewed his underground storage tank operator’s certification (for the Marina fuel system). Work also continues on lake lot lease revisions.
Public Safety Commissioner Murphy had his usual list of “Don’t”: don’t leave trash cans/dumpsters on the sidewalks/boulevard; don’t blow leaves into the street; don’t blow grass clippings into the street; don’t complain on Facebook about city matters. He asked citizens to be watchful, to call police about suspicious activity, and to keep yards and properties tidy, with no evidence of accumulated tires. He reminded citizens that raked leaves should be placed in paper bags if city workers are to collect them, and not to take any plastic bags of leaves to city park. Murphy thanked Tony Marcolini for helping the current owner of the Corner Block Building secure parts of the corner that had been falling off.
Utility Commissioner Downs said the fire hydrant flushing process has been completed by Woodard & Curran, who also used that process to flow test each hydrant while monitoring chlorine residuals.
Downs also thanked Vogel Plumbing and Bondurant Plumbing for their help with a sewer backup at the intersection of Rountree and Summer Streets. During road construction this summer either a stake was driven through the clay tile or it was dislodged by compaction of the roadway; the section of pipe didn’t appear on the city map of mains.
Downs also asked that those who post yard sale signs remove them when their sales are over; left up, they are both unsightly and misleading. Secondly, he reiterated Murphy’s pleas to not blow or rake or burn leaves on the street. He pointed out that wet leaves and motorcycles together can be dangerous. Too, there are groups willing to rake leaves for those unable to take care of their own, including a pair of young men wanting to raise money for a traveling baseball team and the Hillsboro Area Hospital Junior Board, who have scheduled a raking event for Nov. 7.
The council next meets Tuesday evening, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in city hall.