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Hoisington City Council approves next steps in CDBG application
Surveys nearing completion
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A CDBG grant could pay up to half the estimated price tag of $1,142,910 needed for EPA-required renovations to the City of Hoisington wastewater lagoons and pump station, located southeast of the city. The Hoisington City Council Monday night approved a resolution allowing Mayor Clayton Williamson to certify the Citys legal authority to apply for the grant. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Background on project

• Community Development Block Grants are part of a federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development funded but state administered program. The grants are awarded to smaller cities a like Hoisington to be used to develop and preserve decent affordable housing, to provide services to the community’s most vulnerable. Dollars awarded can go toward, among other things, the construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities.
• The grant requires that 51-percent of the city’s population fall into the category of low to moderate income in order to receive a waiver for census data. Results of the 2010 Census showed only 35-percent of the population fit that category, but, according to Mitchell, the city was of the opinion the data collected wasn’t good, and the city asked for and received permission to conduct the surveys rather than be considered on the faulty data.
• This marks the second time in recent years the city has applied for this CDBG grant. The first attempt was in 2015. The administrator, Ranson Financial Concultants, Inc., Wichita, failed to adequately train surveyors, which led to mistakes that resulted in several of the surveys being thrown out. By February 2016, it appeared the grant was secured. But it wasn’t long before the city received bad news. At a June, 2016 meeting, Mitchell informed the council Ranson had misjudged the severity of the government’s decision to throw out several surveys that had been altered for the 2016 grant. After consultation with the grant committee and the EPA, it was determined it would be in the city’s best interest to sit out a grant cycle and reapply in 2017. Mitchell then contacted the EPA and asked for an extension on the date of compliance for the city’s lagoons.
• The city began the process again for the 2017 and after soliciting bids, hired the North Central Regional Planning Commission November as the new administrator. With guidance, new surveyors were trained and survey collection began again in earnest.

HOISINGTON -- Mayor Clayton Williamson opened Monday night’s Hoisington City Council meeting with a hearing about the proposed CDBG Wastewater Application, which could pay for up to half the cost of bringing the city into compliance with EPA regulations and requirements for the city’s sewage lagoons and pump station. An administrative order currently exists on the lagoons, which requires the city to make changes to the treatment process and also to remove some sludge from the lagoons. .
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell provided a brief overview of the proposed project, which has an estimated price tag of $1,142,910. The city is hoping for up to $600,000 to be awarded.
The lagoon renovations will consist of removing approximately 14 million gallons of sludge, and building a new concrete intake structure with, two new concrete transfer structures, one discharge structure modification, and 12,465 square yards of new 4-inch concrete liner which will go along the lagoon cells, plus 9, 150 cubic yards of excavation for a new wetland holding cell north of the road. Pump station modifications will include new pumps, 641 linear feet of 6-inch wetland force main, and mobilization expenses. Total estimated project costs will be about $1,143, 910.
Nicole McDaniels, representing the North Central Regional Planning Commission, arrived late, but was on hand to answer questions for the council. With none, she gave a brief overview of what more the city needed to provide in the way of documentation in order for the application to be submitted by the Sept. 22 deadline. Some of the documents were approved by the council that night and prepared by Williamson and City Clerk Donita Crutcher. But the city is running up to the deadline in securing the required number of surveys needed to show the population of the city falls into the correct income category to qualify. As of Tuesday morning, Mitchell informed the Tribune, an additional 30 surveys are needed.
“We anticipate having the remainder completed within the next week,” Mitchell said. “Our staff has been working very hard.”
McDaniels assured the council that the surveys “have been triple checked” by her office, and as soon as all have been completed, the document will be sent out. She reminded the council that the surveys were for individuals, not households. She offered the example that a family of four could represent four of the needed surveys. Mitchell once again requested for anyone who resides in the city who has not yet been surveyed to contact the city and talk with staff there.

Lease action
In August, the city received a reminder that it’s lease with a Hoisington property owner had expired earlier in the year, and that it was time to renegotiate. Since 2012, the city has leased the property belonging to Cheryl Popp, and has stored various pieces of equipment there, and police have used it as a shooting range. The proposed lease would be for $2,400 per year, double the previous amount of $1,200 a year. Mitchell told the council that in researching what the city’s next move should be, he determined the city could purchase its own land at a comparable price, and not be subjected to rent increases in the future. He reported that all the city’s personal property had been removed from the land, and asked the council’s approval to inform Popp the city would not be renewing the lease. Council members inquired about a structure located on the property that belongs to the city. Mitchell indicated that the structure would not withstand being taken apart and reassembled, so the city is opting to leave it in place. The council approved the request. Mitchell noted there may be a partial year’s rent due.

Other items of discussion and actions taken include:
• Approved a resolution certifying the city’s legal authority to apply for funding and authorizing the Mayor to sign and submit the application on the city’s behalf;
• Approved a resolution verifying that the city of Hoisington will provide for the operations and maintenance of any CDBG funded project
• Approved the proposed administration agreement between the City of Hoisington and the North Central Regional Planning Commission for the proposed CDBG project. If the city is awarded funding, it agrees to pay $20,000 to NCRPC for the administration of this grant and would pay $2,000 for the environmental review/assessment associated with the project.
• Approved a contract for professional services between the City of Hoisington and Power Plant Compliance, LLC, to provide necessary services to test and reaffirm compliance with RICE NESHAP standards.
• Approved the Roto-Mix sale documents.
• Discussed a potential Eagle Scout project and a potential Girl Scout project.
• Approved a request from Kansas Brick and Tile Co. to provide a new water service connection to their plant south of the city.

The meeting was then adjourned. The next meeting of the Hoisington City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25.