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In addition to patron’s calls for action, a report located elsewhere in this issue, Parker city leaders approved a seasonal snow plowing and salt treatment agreement with Higgins Services LLC, 219 E. Main St.

The action was approved on a 3-0 vote, with Kandice Higgins abstaining and Jerry Summers not present, which is in effect until the city purchases a city truck with snow plow attachment.

Until then, the contract will pay Higgins Services $275 for each salt treatment. Snow plowing costs per event when needed will be $400 for up to 2 inches, $550 for 2-4 inches, $700 for 4-6 inches, $850 for 6-8 inches, $1,000 for 8-10 inches, and an additional $200 for every additional 2 inches.

Pertaining to purchase of a city truck, the council’s 4-0 vote raises an approved ceiling amount to $22,000. Jason Webber, council president, indicated research of prices ranging from $20,000-$25,000 for the city’s need with a recommended dump bed for hauling items such as gravel.

Webber broached a possible lease/purchase agreement--”it’s not a great option but maybe needed in this situation.” He said the previous $7,500 budget limit would “buy us a junk truck that would be in the shop a lot.” Mayor Ashley Balthazor said Federal 2021 American Rescue Plan Act funds received by the city could possibly be used.

Kathy Harrison, city treasurer, also pointed to the city’s Dec. 31 capital outlay balance of $323,835.41 as a source for truck funding.

On a 4-0 vote, the council approved its 2023 events calendar. Events include the Easter egg hunt at 1 p.m. April 1 at Heritage Park, the pet clinic at 9 a.m. May 6 at the city barn, the city wide garage sale June 3, and the city wide clean-up June 10.

Events later in the year are Parker Days scheduled for the evening of Sept. 15 and all day Sept. 16 at Heritage Park, Night Out Against Crime at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at the senior center, Safe Halloween at 6 p.m. Oct. 31 at Heritage Park, judging for the Christmas lighting contest Dec. 8, and Santa Comes to Parker at 5 p.m. Dec. 9 at Parker Elementary School.

During her treasurer’s report, Harrison noted December general fund revenue of $5,107.84 and expenses of $13,888.99, capital outlay revenue of $2,691.80, water fund revenue of $5,977.48, and sewer fund revenue of $2,621.90 and expenses of $339.96. Neither the street nor park/lake fund showed any December activity.

The council approved bill payments totaling $17,583.60.

Another 4-0 action accepts an offer from Wayne Burk to deed empty lots across North Short Street east of Heritage Park for parking. Carrie Sewell, city clerk, said Burk indicated minimal taxes and “some brush at the south end.”

Tabled until at least the 7 p.m. Feb. 9 monthly meeting will be bids received for renovations to the city-owned building at Main and Center streets to be used as a future city hall. Two open bids were received, one from Rockin’ H Construction, Pleasanton, of $30,000 for all requested work, and the other from San Juan LLC, Topeka, for partial services at $10,459.

Observed Councilman Gary Earley, “$30,000 is a lot of money.”

Webber said a council workshop is necessary to look collectively at the building and wondered “if we would be better off to add office space to our current building” at 314 W. Main St.

In business pertaining to codes, Craig Haley, codes officer and police chief, said he will report at next month’s meeting on a property he deems a hazard to the community. He said Burton Harding, city attorney, has asked about its “urgency.” Haley indicated a cost to the city for such items as plywood.

Haley said codes enforcement progress “is being made.” Webber pointed to the “paperwork nightmare” for such processes.

Also to be addressed next month is a request from Julie Hurlock for a zoning change at 412 W. Kimball for the back half of the property to be commercial rather than the current residential to allow for a mechanic shop. 

Though Hurlock urged a quick decision because of possible available commercial buildings outside Linn County, Balthazor said a public hearing must first be conducted before a zoning change.

Another item expected to be revisited at next month’s meeting will be materials for repairing South Street at its intersection with Center (County Road 1077).

Chad Page, contracted water/sewer operator, said a “couple loads of cold patch” would help. When Webber asked if the area could be cut out and filled with concrete, Page said the suggestion is “good. That would be more expensive but would last longer.”

In other business before the council:

--Page reported “a couple of” burned-out electrical items caused by age at the wastewater lift station which will require “pulling the pumps out” He reported that the city “got through” the pre-Christmas cold snap “surprisingly without any water meter breaks.”

--Albert Kerr, representing the United Methodist Church, alerted the council that Bascom Ratliffe, Parker United 


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