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City to seek bids on building electrical system

The Oskaloosa Independent of Oskaloosa, Kansas

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Oskaloosa City Council

Strongly urged to do so by Mayor Eric Hull, the Oskaloosa City Council last Thursday evening voted unanimously to solicit bids on the construction of an outdoor electrical system on the inner portion of the courthouse square to ensure that there will be a reliable source of "juice," if you will, for next year's Old Settlers Festival.

In pitching the proposal, Hull told council members John Norman, Amy Robbins, Eric LeRoux and Ken Newell that the annual three-day celebration usually generates about $65,000 in income for the operator of the carnival and other vendors a figure that basically matches the estimate made by Light Works Inc., Weston, Mo., on the cost of the project. Earlier this year, the city hired the design and engineering company to design a system that would enable the city, with the cooperation of Jefferson County, to meet the electrical needs of current and future festival vendors, not to mention the OSF Committee itself.

The design produced by Light-Works relies on a series of risers equipped with electrical outlets to bring power to vendors. Most of the risers would be located along the west side of Delaware Street.

In a related matter, the mayor reported that the new light poles that will be replacing the existing poles around the courthouse square are to be delivered toward the end of the month, at which time the project can begin. Topeka-based Westar Energy plans to remove 24 poles and replace them with only 12, but the new poles will be both taller and equipped with LED lights capable of more effectively illuminating the streets. LED stands But Westar's new poles will lack an electrical outlet, which is why the city needs to find another way to provide power to vendors as well as the main stage during the annual OSF or for other events held downtown in the future.

On a 4-0 vote, the council authorized the expenditure of $12,762 to cover an unforeseen cost associated with two bores recently done under US-59 by Daniels Excavating LLC, McLouth, so new water mains could be inserted through the openings to meet a request made to the city by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Hull told the council that the city was incurring the additional expense as a result of what he termed "unfortunate circumstances." What he was referring to was the fact that Daniels Excavating was ultimately forced to buy more piping than was originally calculated and spend more time on the project than it had planned on spending because the bore immediately south of Warren Street missed the existing water distribution system by approximately 30 feet, thus necessitating a second bore, which took place immediately north of Warren. And the presence of other utilities at that location made that bore that much more difficult.

Aaron Norris with McAfee Henderson Solutions Inc., Oskaloosa, the company designated as the city engineer, initially told the council that "everything went fairly good" in delivering his report, but he later acknowledged that the project "was a lot longer project than what we had planned on for sure."

The other bore was done further to the north, on the outskirts of the community.

Following a relatively short discussion that involved the mayor, the council and City Attorney Lee Hendricks, the council unanimously approved Resolution No. 15-09, a resolution giving Wayne Mathena until Thursday, Oct. 15 to remove "a junked motor vehicle" from the property at 403 Cherokee. Mathena is the listed owner of the property, according to the resolution.

A copy of the resolution appears elsewhere in this issue of the paper.

Later, the mayor informed City Clerk Patty Hamm that the city was ready to approve Mathena's application for a permit to erect a fence on his property.

Copies of the Police Department's September Activity Report were made available to the council for its inspection by Chief of Police Paul Bolinger. The report revealed that the part-time police chief and his fellow officers had handled a total of 68 calls during the month, including one involving a possible drunk pedestrian, four pertaining to suspicious vehicles, one regarding a suspicious person in the vicinity of a school, one pertaining to a fight, three regarding a noise disturbance, and two complaining about peddlers.

According to the report, officers issued seven warnings and handed out two citations.

Bolinger informed the council that the tires on both the department's car and its truck would need to be replaced in the near future.

The mayor advised the council that the painting and sandblasting done to the interior of the old water tower had been completed. The contractor was Central Tank Coatings Inc., Elgin, Iowa.

The mayor delivered a report on the recently-completed street improvement project, commenting, "The street project went very well I think." He later complimented the contractor, Hamm Inc., Perry, for having done "a real good job."

According to the mayor, nearly 4 million pounds of asphalt were applied to Liberty and Union streets and at other locations as well during the course of the project.

Discussed at some length was the overabundance of feral cats within the community and how best to humanely dispose of them. The mayor informed the council that animal control officer Jared Bammes has been instructed to not trap another cat. According to the mayor, Bammes has been hauling some cats to a piece of property in the Valley Falls area he owns and giving other cats to friends.

There was a brief discussion about the condition of Jefferson Street, east of US-59. That stretch of the street is heavily used by both county-owned vehicles and vehicles belonging to KDOT since both entities maintain a shop nearby.

There was a brief discussion about the options available to the city in trying to prevent the renter of the house located at 614 Liberty from parking in what is technically the alley between the house and the business on the other side of the alley. But there is no off-street parking in front of the house, which is apparently why the renter keeps parking where he does day after day.

The city clerk informed the council that she had received a complaint from an elderly man about the lack of any marking at the west end of the parking lot due south of City Hall. The sidewalk narrows at that point, so the man was concerned he might step the wrong way sometime and take a tumble.

Robbins apprised the council of plans by Jess Chapman and others to hold an event known as Trunk or Treat in the 300 block of Washington Street on Halloween, which falls on a Saturday this year. The police chief then let it be known that he wanted to be made aware of any additional information he needed to know as it becomes available.

"They (Chapman and her friends) don't want to let the tradition die out totally," Robbins related.

"It's nice we have citizens who are stepping up," Norman commented. "Fantastic!"

The council unanimously approved the adoption of Ordinance No. 15-11-101, an ordinance incorporating the latest version of the Uniform Public Offense Code for Kansas Cities into the city's code book.

On a separate 4-0 vote, the council OK the adoption of Ordinance No. 15-14-101, an ordinance incorporating the most recent version of the Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas Cities into the code book.

Councilman Vince Newman was unable to attend the meeting, which adjourned shortly before 8:30.

Copyright 2015 The Oskaloosa Independent, Oskaloosa, Kansas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 8, 2015

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