King Engineering to oversee industrial park street project

The Holton City Commission on Monday decided to “keep it local” in choosing an engineering firm to oversee the street rehabilitation project at the city’s industrial park.

King Engineering of Holton was awarded the contract for work on the industrial park roads, which have deteriorated in recent years due to heavy truck traffic, commissioners noted. King Engineering, partnering with CES Group P.A. Engineers and Surveyors of Marysville, had bid $19,396 for the project, according to Holton City Manager Bret Bauer.

The local engineering firm, led by Bruce Rinkes, was one of two finalists for the industrial park project to present their proposals for the project at the commission’s Feb. 17 meeting. The other finalist firm was Earles Engineering of Salina, whose representative, Pete Earles, had worked on the original industrial park road layout in the 1990s; the firm had bid $24,540 for the project, it was reported.

“We’re looking forward to working with you,” Commissioner Tim Morris told Rinkes, who was present at Monday’s meeting.

Roads in the industrial park had been heavily deteriorated in recent years due to heavy trucks that utilize those roads, commissioners noted, and it was recommended in December by Holton Street Superintendent Rex Cameron to redo the roads with concrete. Both King and Earles agreed with Cameron’s recommendation at the Feb. 17 meeting.

It had been discussed last year whether city street crews could go out and do the work, but Cameron and Bauer said it would be better to have the job contracted out so that city crews could concentrate on the annual street repair program.

The city’s industrial park is located north of the city limits on U.S. Highway 75 and includes, at Cameron’s estimation, about three-quarters of a mile worth of streets. The commission has reportedly earmarked $1 million in this year’s budget for road improvements in the park, noting an intent to pay for the improvements with existing cash rather than issuing debt to do it and pay interest on that debt later.

In other business on Monday, commissioners:

* Heard a question from Holton resident Willy Wilson on why some city parking lots are allowed while others cannot be installed without a hard surface. Assistant City Manager Kerwin McKee said a lot of the city’s gravel parking lots were already in place prior to the establishment of zoning regulations.

* Approved minutes from the commission’s Feb. 17 meeting, along with budget appropriations made since that meeting.

* Approved a bid of $9,294.75 from Holton Tire and Service for the purchase of a Grasshopper mower for Holton’s Parks and Recreation department. Other bids of $6,825 from Holton Tire and Service and $8,499 from Holton Farm and Home, but Bauer noted those were for mowers with “mid-mount” decks that were harder to maintain than the “front-mount” deck that was eventually chosen by the commission (see related story).

* Heard an update from Parks and Recreation Director Mike Reichle on activities in his department, including work at Holton’s municipal swimming pool (see related story).

* Approved a five-percent wage increase for the city’s part-time employees (see related story).

* Approved renewal of the retail liquor sales license for Southside Liquor Store.

* Approved the reappointment of Bauer for two years as the city’s Director 1 position on the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency board of directors.

* Heard comments from Commissioner Dan Brenner about a recently-passed Kansas Senate bill that would enable grocery and convenience stores in Kansas to sell liquor. Brenner, former owner of a liquor store in Holton, said he was opposed to passage of the bill as it has the potential to close “mom-and-pop” liquor stores in Holton and throughout the state.

* Heard comments from Commissioner Erich Campbell about the Feb. 23 Holton Planning Commission meeting, in which city planners recommended the addition of microbreweries as an allowed use under the city’s C-2 (commercial) zoning. 

* Met in executive session for 55 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel matters. Bauer, McKee and Holton City Clerk Teresa Riley joined the commission in the closed session.

* Following the executive session, commissioners directed Bauer not to place discussion of zoning regulations on the agenda for the Monday, March 16 commission meeting as previously suggested by Holton City Attorney Dennis White. White had met with commissioners to discuss a “blueprint for growth” at their Feb. 17 meeting, and at that time, commissioners suggested the discussion be continued to the March 16 meeting.

* Adjourned the meeting at approximately 8:30 p.m. All commissioners were present, including Mayor Robert Dieckmann, Brenner, Campbell, Morris and Twila White.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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