BY RAY STRUNK
Special to the Tribune
HOISINGTON — The city council approved the purchase of an additional police vehicle.
One of the city’s four patrol vehicles recently blew an engine and is down for maintenance, leaving the department shorthanded.
“We are looking to get to a vehicle for every officer,” said Hoisington City Manager, Jonathan Mitchell.
The department currently employs six full-time officers with only three vehicles in rotation and one in the shop.
Initially, the city was deciding between the purchase of one new SUV or two used Sedans.
“The theory is that the more vehicles you put in rotation, the less miles you put on each,” said Mitchell.
The used vehicles would already have over 60,000 miles logged.The average life of a police vehicle is 100,000 miles.
Additionally, the city would encounter problems equipping both vehicles. It would cost nearly $20,000 to equip them both.
Police Chief Kenton Doze appeared in front of the council to discuss the needs of the department.
“Right now I would go with the [SUV],” commented Doze. “... It sits higher and gives us more visibility. … the very back has a lot of space.” It is all-wheel drive and will match the rest of the department’s fleet.
The City received a quote on the SUV from Rusty Eck Ford in Wichita. The base price of the vehicle sits at $25,364.
Doze recommended Rusty Eck’s “Ready For The Road” package that equips the vehicle with lights and sirens.
The fully-equipped vehicle is priced at $29,724.
“We feel like that’s a good price,” commented Mitchell.
Council member Karen Vanbrimmer motioned to approve the purchase of the 2017 Ford Police Interceptor SUV at a cost of no more than $30,000. The motion carried.
In other business:
The city council is moving forward with upgrades to the city’s water treatment facility. City officials are looking for a cost-effective way to solve water softening deficiencies.
“Cheap is good,” commented Hoisington City Manager, Jonathan Mitchell.
The city invested nearly $1 million into the treatment facility in 2009. As part of the upgrade, the city moved to a different type of lime to soften the water. Mitchell says that the lime isn’t working as intended and the water supply hasn’t been softened since late 2016.
To solve the problem, the city is looking to move to a high density lime system from Merrick Industries.
Public works officials Paul Zecha and Gary Smith toured a facility in Oklahoma that uses the high density system.
Zecha appeared in front of the council on Feb. 13.
“It was pretty eye opening,” he said of the facility tour.
Both Zecha and Smith were impressed with the system and optimistic about installing a similar one in Hoisington.
Nathan Teeters, a representative of Merrick Industries, explained the difference between the high-density system and the one that is currently being used in Hoisington.
He said that the current system uses pebble lime, which requires a chemical reaction to be converted into a useable form. Although this system is less expensive, it requires a high level of maintenance to prevent softening deficiencies.
The high-density system doesn’t require nearly the amount of maintenance.
“Our system is guaranteed to be dust-tight and water-tight,” commented Teeters.
The total installed price for the system is estimated to be just over $140,000.
Council member Carrol Nather suggested that the city hold off on the upgrade until a structural engineer assesses the site.
The engineer will determine whether or not the treatment silo is viable for future use. Depending on the results of the analysis the city may have to purchase a new silo. This would nearly double the expected expenses of the upgrade.