The Abilene City Commission met yesterday for a study session. Among nine discussion items, the commission and city staff talked about city-sanctioned committee issues and heard a couple presentations.
Several people were considered for the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. Trevor Witt, representing the city of Abilene; Greg Brown, representing USD 435; Cassy Wilson, representing businesses; Kent Campbell, representing the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation; Matt Mead, representing the Abilene Planning Committee; Kellee Timbrook, representing the Recreation Commission; Grant Waite, representing youth in Abilene; and Nicole Hall, representing the community in general.
Andrea Taylor, chair of the Sports Complex Task Force, proposed to the city commission three bids for a feasibility and economic impact study. TAG, the Sports Facilities Company and Wichita State University submitted bids. The task force recommends WSU for an amount not exceeding $30,000. Their proposal was for $24,500 plus traveling expenses. Taylor said organizations around the Abilene area have partnered with the university on similar projects and given positive reviews.
Ryan Evans, representative of SunSmart Technologies, then presented an investment grade proposal for the city to install solar power. Evans suggested eight locations for the project: city hall, the Abilene Fire Department, the Abilene Public Library, the Abilene Municipal Airport, one of the city’s wells, the Abilene Senior Center, the water treatment plant and the Abilene Community Center.
“How I see this project overall is, it’s an opportunity to save the city at least $25,000 a year.” said Trevor Witt, city mayor. “In practical terms how I think about that, that’s half of a full-time position. Knowing electricity is always going to get more expensive, this is a chance for us to make an investment now that saves money over the course of 25 years.”
After discussion, the commission decided city staff should open a request for proposal from other solar power companies before deciding.
The commission considered Eric Anderson for the Planning Commission. The term began in January and would continue until January 2026.
The commission considered the purchases of two police vehicles for the Abilene Police Department and a utility tractor for the Public Works Department. The 2023 budget includes $83,000 for the police vehicle purchases. City staff recommended purchasing vehicles from Valor Automotive that submitted a bid for $71,989.50 for two 2023 Dodge Durango Pursuits. The city will save $22,000 by trading in the two vehicles the police department is replacing.
For the utility tractor, the city budgeted $40,000 for the purchase. City staff recommended the bid from Praireland Partners for $43,564.96 for a John Deere.
The commission also considered bids for the water main and service replacement project. The project’s goal is to replace 1,600 to 1,700 feet of the water main. Lon Schrader, public works director, said he recommends the bid from Core and Main of Wichita for $75,974.50.
In his city manager report, Marsh said city staff chose Brenden Alvarez for the facility maintenance position. Alvarez is currently with the Public Works Department.
The Abilene City Commission will next meet for a regular meeting Feb. 27 at 4 p.m.
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