The city’s project of major waterline replacements is taking a toll on some Great Bend streets. Interim City Administrator George Kolb suggested the city might want to entirely reconstruct Stone Street from 10th to 12th St. His suggestion was presented at Monday’s city council meeting, but council members voted to table it for now.
“Stone Street is really rough,” Kolb said, adding there may be worse streets, but that two-block stretch gets a lot of use because of its proximity to the Great Bend Recreation Center and the City offices.
The city’s on-call engineering firm, Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, estimated the reconstruction of this stretch of Stone Street could cost as much as $945,000.
“I don’t believe it’s going to cost that much,” Kolb said. He asked the engineering firm to consider possible added costs the city might encounter, such as sewer line replacements.
“I believe it’s a very high estimate,” Kolb said.
Even so, Councilwoman Vicki Berryman balked at the cost. “So we’re spending a million dollars for two blocks? That is ridiculous,” she said.
This project would be paid from last year’s quarter-cent sales tax fund that is designated for residential streets and the half-cent sales tax infrastructure fund that is used for streets and fire equipment, Kolb said. A benefit of a total reconstruction is that other utility companies could make their own upgrades while the street is torn up.
Great Bend Regional Hospital bonds
In other business Monday, the council approved a resolution authorizing the redemption and payment of its taxable Industrial Revenue Bonds, Series 2013A and Series 2013B (Great Bend Regional Hospital Project). City Attorney Robert Suelter explained that the city won’t receive any money from this transaction.
“Several years ago we issued industrial revenue bonds,” Suelter said. The bonds were issued in 2013. The $1.8 million principal was used to construct a medical office building near the hospital and leased to GBRH Properties. Rent on the property goes toward bond payments.
In April, the University of Kansas Health System announced it will acquire Great Bend Regional Hospital and its affiliated clinics.
Suelter explained that KU Health will pay off the bonds early. “This terminates the lease and gives them the bill of sale.”
Bondholders will be paid the principal plus interest to the date of closing. The city won’t recover any of the money because the bonds were sold to private investors, Suelter said. “We didn’t put anything into it.”
However, the transaction could be a positive for the city, he said.
“If they want to, now they can expand the hospital.”
The council also:
• Approved the generally accepted accounting principles waiver for reporting the city’s financial statements. This is done each year and allows the city to use the regulatory basis of accounting under the Kansas Municipal Audit and Accounting Guide, City Clerk/Finance Director Shawna Schafer said.
• Approved abatements at 1215 Jefferson, accumulation of refuse, owned by B&B Investments; and 3118 Lakin, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Terry Thoren. Two additional properties were on the list, but City Sanitarian Austin LaViolette said a motor vehicle nuisance has been taken care of and he is still working with the owners of a property with an accumulation of refuse.