Kansas utilities had a busy month


KANSAS – Public utility workers in Kansas had a busy September keeping things running.

“One of the most important things happened twice when we had telemetry failure at the water tower,” village employee Andrew Henn said at the Wednesday, Oct. 2, village meeting.

Henn explained the automated system failed twice to send an alert the tower was low on water. Henn said on one occasion only about two hours worth of water remained in the tower when the problem was discovered.

The system is setup to send a radio signal from the tower to the water treatment plant to pump water into the tower when the level drops.

“The manufacturer’s representative couldn’t find a problem with the system. Everything tested as working,” said Henn.

A couple of suggestions were made after completing the tests. The company representative said redirecting the antennae on the tower might help and noted the radio in use is at least 20 years old and may be nearing the end of its life.

Repairs to the water softener at the water plant hit a stumbling block when it was discovered the correct parts were not immediately available.

“We had to bypass the softener until we could get the parts,” said Henn.

As a result, hard water was in the Kansas distribution system for a few days. Henn plans to flush hydrants to rid the hard water in the pipes when the water softener is back in use.

Henn did have some good news for the village board. He said as the oil and chip sealing project for 2019 was concluding it became evident the village had some extra road oil so more was done than originally planned. The extra oil was applied near the grain elevator where semi-trucks take a toll on the streets.

There was some discussion regarding Henn’s effective resignation date. He previously gave notice so the village had ample time to hire someone to assume the water superintendent duties.

Henn originally planned to submit his formal resignation in November, but has since learned he cannot be added to his wife’s health insurance policy until January. Normally, when a person leaves a job there is an option to continue with the employer provided health insurance by paying the premiums. In Henn’s case, he has nearly four week of unused vacation time.

“Should I use it, or cash it in?” Henn asked, seeking guidance from the board.

The consensus among the trustees was for Henn to submit his resignation in November with an effective date of Jan. 1 and to use his built up vacation during December, which would keep him on as an employee and entitled to the village health insurance coverage.

Police chief Jeff Goodwin had a short report for the meeting.

He informed the trustees the property at 502 North Front Street is out of foreclosure and a Colorado-based company is attempting to sell the ground.

“I contacted them about the weeds, and they said they would take care of it but nothing has happened,” said Goodwin.

Acting on the advice of the village attorney, Goodwin had village workers mow the property and the village will likely mow it again once more before the growing season is over. He said the attorney will attach a lien to the property for the mowing expenses the village incurred.

In other police related matters, the department:

-Issued nine written warnings.

-Issued 14 verbal warnings.

-Made two criminal arrests.

-Resolved three complaints.

-Assisted the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department five times and the Coles County Sheriff’s Department once.

The final action of the evening was setting trick or treat hours as 6-8 p.m. Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31.