A 72-inch culvert pipe that displaced during a June storm at the Hillsboro Plaza and continued vandalism at Liberty Park were discussed at Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
The culvert has never been repaired.
During mayor Justin Harsha’s report at the meeting he said the city needs to decide whether it can help with the repairs because the owner of the North High Street property asked the city to front the costs of the repairs and assess his taxes.
“My understanding was that the owner is hoping to be able to put this on his taxes over a 10-year period, but if that happens, the city has to front (the cost of repairs) first. He was also asking us to donate some money to the project,” Hillsboro City Council President Tom Eichinger said. “Is that also correct?”
Harsha said that was correct.
Hillsboro Public Works Superintendent Shawn Adkins said in June that water underneath the pipe that was installed in the 1970s floated it upward, making the bottom of the pipe fold in on itself. He said he has seen that kind of thing happen with smaller pipes, but not with one that big.
The pipe’s failure has caused a large sinkhole at the main entrance to the shopping center.
At Monday’s meeting, Eichinger placed the issue with council’s finance committee to consider further.
In a separate matter, Harsha and Rick Tipton, who handles maintenance at Liberty Park, said vandalism in the park’s restrooms continues to be an ongoing occurrence.
“This morning, I had to use five-gallon buckets of water to clean the floors. It was a mess,” Tipton said.
The most recent episode, Harsha and Tipton said, included heavy damage to the restrooms’ partitions, toilets, toilet paper dispensers and soap dispensers that were dislocated and stomped on.
Tipton said he regularly sees people using the bathrooms to bathe, and that most of the damage seems to occur when youth soccer and football practices and games are taking place at the park.
Some council members suggested placing surveillance cameras around the bathrooms, but Harsha and Adkins said they would be difficult to monitor.
“We’re putting some signs up to indicate the bathrooms are closed because they’re not repairable at this time. It’s a bad situation out there,” Harsha said.
Tipton said people also steal toilet paper from the restrooms, including one day when he had to replace 17 rolls.
“The total picture is not good. I don’t know why … some people want to ruin something for everyone,” Harsha added.
Charging stations for electric vehicles and a new utility vehicle for the police department were also discussed at the meeting.
A resolution that was approved for the charging stations says the city has the opportunity to purchase two electric car charging stations from ABM Electrical Power Solutions for 181,275 and has secured a grant for a reimbursement for part of the cost. That figure includes $150,00o for the charging stations and a warranty for $31,275.
Harsha said the grant is through AEP for the charging stations. The mayor said AEP will reimburse the city the $150,000 for the charging stations, but the city will have to pay for the stations up front before being reimbursed.
Adkins said the money should be returned to the city fairly quick.
A proposal for a new ATV for the police department at a cost of $35,000 was also approved by council. Funds for the vehicle will come from money that was already allocated by the city for a new roof on the police department building. Originally, Hillsboro Police Chief Eric Daniels said, the city’s insurance company was not going to pay for the roof needed on the police department building, but then the insurance company changed its stance and decided to pay for the roof.
Council decided to use to the funds that had been set aside for the roof for the new ATV.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.