The Abilene Commission and city staff met for the first time in May for a study session containing four agenda items.

The first item involved discussion about a new application for reapplying Abilene Library Board appointments. The topic was presented when Trevor Witt, city vice-mayor, asked the commission to postpone the reappointment of Sheila Biggs during the April 25 city meeting. During the session, Witt suggested city staff create a new application for reapplicants.

“I like this initial form of an appointment, that’s good information. If it’s a reappointment, I’d like to see (questions) ‘how’s it going,’ ‘what have you learned’ ‘what are your goals in this next term that you want to serve in.’ Just to show attentiveness and give the commission a little more awareness to who’s on that board,” Witt said.

All the commissioners agreed with Witt’s suggestion. City staff will create and bring the application to the city meeting next week. As for Bigg’s appointment, the commission decide Biggs should fill out the new reappointment application for continuity.

The agenda reads Biggs was originally appointed in May of 2015 to serve for the rest of Tim Shafer’s term. She was also reappointed in 2018.

The second item involved a proposal to change the 2022 City Wastewater Treatment Plant Capital Improvements Plan. According to the item document, the city wants to rebuild the number one influent pump this year and delay the rebuilding of the number two pump until early 2023. The plan originally was to replace both pumps this year. The delay is due to prices increasing faster than the staff anticipated when creating the improvements plan. Witt asked Lon Schrader, Public Works Department director, what the electricity cost of the current pumps compared to a new pump would be and what the lifetime expectancy of rebuilding the pump would be. Schrader said the amount of electricity consumed is “comparable,” and the rebuilt pump would last around 10 years. Bids were included in the item document. There was a bid from JCI, the makers of the pump, proposing between $26,500-$36,171. The city also received a bid from Fluid Equipment for a new HOMA pump of $44,983. The plan’s budget for rebuilding the pump was for $45,000.

The third item concerned a new ordinance that would allow alcohol to be sold on public streets and sidewalks. Ron Marsh, city manager, said state statutes dictate the city must pass an ordinance to allow the sale in such locations. What prompted the ordinance were applications for permits from the Arts Council of Dickinson County for the Arts and Ales event. Marsh said the ordinance will be on the agenda for next week’s city meeting.

The item for the proposed water meter ordinance affecting multi-family facilities then returned to the commission’s attention. Comments were made by James Stout Jr. about his thoughts on the ordinance.

The Abilene Commission will meet again May 9 for its regular meeting.


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