A resolution that is expected to save the city $699,000 by refinancing loans was approved, and several projects around the city were discussed, during Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
Mike Burns, managing director for Robert W. Baird & Co., said the USDA loans were from a 2005 project to improve the city water station, with another loan of about $250,000 thrown in for construction of a new bridge connecting Shaffer Park and Liberty Park.
He said he has been working with auditor Alex Butler, mayor Justin Harsha and safety and service director Brianne Abbott for the past few months, and that with lower interest rates, and because the city received a better bond rating, it should realize annual savings of about $27,800.
“The auditor, mayor and safety and service director really hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Burns said. “… “This is a very detailed, long, drawn-out process. I like to try to take as much of the work on as I can, on your behalf, but a lot of it falls downhill to the auditor, mayor and safety director. They did an outstanding job.”
During her report to council, Abbott said a Marriott Hotel project has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the project developers are securing funds and trying to provide the city infrastructure cost estimates related to the TIF (tax increment funding) agreement it has with the developers.
“They’re still moving forward so we’re still excited about that project,” Abbott said.
She noted that White’s Cake Box is in the process of moving from its current location on East Main Street to an old BP station lot on West Main Street, and that the Revolving Loan Fund committee has approved a Community Development Block Grant for the project.
Abbott said a new restaurant called The Porch is planning to move into the Ole Depot location on North West Street, and in a related matter council approved the transfer of a liquor license from Tipton Enterprises, which formerly owned the location, to Earl Boyd. She said a building on the lot is being renovated.
Council continues to work on updating zoning codes, Abbott reported, adding that on the day after each council meeting the city administration meets with the city’s department heads “to ensure effective communication and to make sure things are running smoothly within all departments and committees within the city.”
Unfortunately, she noted, there has been some vandalism to the new fountain in front of the Highland County Courthouse. “If it continues the city will seek prosecution,” Abbott said. “We hate to have to do that, but at the same time, it’s such a beautiful addition to the city. We don’t want to see it vandalized.”
A parks committee is being formed, Abbott said, with the next meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 at the old firehouse at the corner of North High Street and Gov. Trimble Place. She encouraged anyone interested to attend the meeting. The committee’s focus, at least for the time being, will be on revitalizing and cleaning up the city park on Railroad Street.
She said works continues on the Walnut Street storm sewer project, Sunesis Construction has been awarded a bid for the Harry Sauner Road improvement project, and the city is planning improvements for a Springlake project. She also said progress continues with a couple vacant lots in the 100 block of West Main Street where buildings were recently taken down, but that it may be a month or two before any progress is visible.
In his report, Harsha said Rick Tipton has been hired for the newly created position of parks and recreation maintenance employee.
“Rick Tipton was the obvious choice there. He is doing a lot of planting out at the park, and he’s kind of our eyes and ears. We’ve needed something like that for quite some time, and he’s really working hard out there,” Harsha said.
Abbott said works continues where buildings were recently tore down in the 100 block of West Main Street.
It was also noted that Jon Salyer has resigned as code enforcement officer, with Lauren Walker, an administrative receptionist with the city, taking his place.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.