Peabody Mayor Ed Slocombe and city council members were in receipt Monday night of a letter of “no further action” from Kansas Department of Health and Environment, ending the probe for mercury and cadmium deposits at the former sewer plant site.
Council members reviewed five bids for completion of the plant demolition that was halted when mercury first was discovered.
The project was awarded to Butterfield Construction of McPherson, contingent upon assurance the job would be completed by March 31. The company’s bid was $14,500.
Interim city clerk Stephanie Ax introduced the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which could provide funds for street improvements for Walnut Street, Central Street, and 60th Street, both east and west. The region in which Peabody is situated will receive $4 million for such projects. The council instructed Ax to make application for funds to cover the entire local project.
Council members also reviewed an update on the proposed closing of Seventh Street at the Union Pacific crossing and the installation of signals at both Seventh and Eighth streets as soon as workers are available.
Ax noted that Union Pacific had not yet addressed the insurance claim the city filed with their carrier after their equipment damaged several areas of Plum Street.
In other business:
- Dale Clark of Knudson and Monroe presented council members with the annual audit. Clark found the city’s finances in compliance with standard accounting practices.
- The council tabled until a future meeting the final review of amendments to the Standard Traffic Ordinance, a decision on hiring seasonal help, the purchase of a computer for the city shop, a review of policy regarding debt forgiveness for residential water leaks, and cell phone policy review to become compliant with Internal Revenue Service rules on city- issued cell phones.
- Approval was given to a mutual aid agreement between Peabody and Harvey County fire departments, to an expenditure of $1,425 for an annual warranty with Microcom on the water tower and pump house, registration fees for Darren Pickens and Ronnie Harms for the annual water conference March 24-26 in Wichita at a cost of $125 each, and the calibration of the mosquito fogging unit to comply with new government regulations.
- Harms reported he and Hillsboro water plant staff has been looking at new ways of getting water to Peabody and a new system of flushing the lines to keep from wasting water and money. Harms warned, however, that flushing would need to continue until the city has a new distribution system. He also urged the council to begin setting money aside for upgrades to the water system.
- Council members entered an executive session to discuss personnel but took no action on return to open meeting.
- Federal mandates now require pools and spas to have a cover over all drains after the 2002 death of a 7-year-old who became trapped in the suction of a spa drain. A grid to cover the city pool drain will be installed at a cost of about $200. Other pool repairs and upgrades will cost about $12,000 this summer.
- An expenditure of $37,048 for additional materials and supplies for the city shop was approved.