Parsons will take on $1.43 million of debt for street improvements if city commissioners approve a bond issuance on Monday. 

The commissioners will consider an ordinance authorizing the city to issue general obligation bonds to pay for main trafficway improvements. They also will consider a resolution that will authorize the offering of bonds of about $3.9 million. That amount includes the $1,920,000 still to be repaid on the issuance of bonds in 2013 that also were used for street improvements. The city staff and the bond counsel have recommended refinancing those bonds along with the issuance of the new bonds, bringing the total to $3.9 million.

The bonds will be repaid with revenue from the city’s share of the state fuel tax. The 2013 bonds were to be paid off in 2028, but payments are expected to be extended to at least 2031.

The new debt will be used to pay the city’s share of street projects that will be funded largely by grants from the Kansas Department of Transportation.  

Projects to be funded include the resurfacing of U.S. 59 from South 21st Street to Commerce Drive near Labette Health. That project will cost $1,346,823. The city had estimated the work would cost $1 million. The city’s share will be $507,000. The project will replace the asphalt with concrete after new underdrains are added. A geology study found two rock formations under the street, making proper drainage impossible without the added infrastructure.  

The city also received a KDOT grant to replace the bridge decks over Labette Creek on North 21st and Little Labette Creek on South 21st.  KDOT will fund $529,110 of the project, and the city’s share will be $411,370. KDOT recently initiated a program to offer cities help with bridges for the first time. 

Another KDOT project will resurface North 16th Street from Clark Avenue to the Labette Creek Bridge. The state will pay $300,000, with the city picking up $50,000 of the construction. That project hasn’t been bid out yet. 

The city staff thought that a project underway on 16th Street from Clark to Broadway Avenue wouldn’t be totally funded by KDOT as originally planned. The contract amount is $1,918,290, and KDOT at one time said it would pay for only $1.5 million. After discussion with the agency, KDOT agreed to pay the full cost of construction.


Mask ordinance 

Also on Monday, city commissioners will discuss an extension of the face mask ordinance. 

To try to slow the local spread of the coronavirus, commissioners approved an ordinance on July 6 that requires people to wear masks while inside buildings accessible to the public and outside when social distancing is not possible.

Under the ordinance, businesses and organizations must post signs at entrances warning that masks are required, and businesses must require workers to wear masks if they work in a space accessible by the public. Individuals must wear masks in businesses and other facilities open to the public. Despite the possibility of warnings and fines, the ordinance has not been enforced against individuals and has been very lightly enforced against businesses. City officials have said all but a few businesses in town comply with the ordinance. 

The original ordinance expired on Oct. 1, but the commissioners approved another ordinance to extend the mandate to Dec. 7. That ordinance also changed the law to allow the commissioners to approve further extensions by resolution.  

With the United States facing a second wave of the coronavirus and concerns that family gatherings over the holidays will cause the number of new COVID-19 cases to skyrocket, the commissioners will most likely extend the ordinance again. 

Mayor Jeff Perez said during a Thursday work session that he hopes there will be unanimous support from the commissioners for the extension. The commissioners likely will vote on the extension during a Dec. 3 work session or in the Dec. 7 regular meeting.

The commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the commission room at the Parsons Municipal Building. 

In other business, the commissioners will consider: 

— Approving payment of $8,425 to BG Consultants Inc. for engineering services on improvements to two pump stations on the Labette Creek levee. 

— Approving payment of $3,462 for engineering services on a wastewater treatment plant peak-flow pump station. 

— Approving payment of $25,210.26 to Heck & Wicker Construction Inc. for work completed on a 16th Street (U.S. 59) project from Clark Avenue to Broadway Avenue. The work includes a stormwater drainage system upgrade, new concrete surfacing, new sidewalks and a widening of the intersection of 16th and Main Street to allow for left-turn lanes. 

— Approving payment of $51,494.24 to Greg Hinman Construction Inc. for concrete resurfacing of the 1400 block of Morgan Avenue. 

— Authorizing an agreement for audit services for 2020 with Jarred, Gilmore, Phillips for $15,900, which includes $1,900 for a single audit. The single audit is required because of the amount of money the city received in federal funding this year. 

— Approving the use of Marvel Park and the closure of the low-water bridge at the park from noon to 10 p.m. Dec. 3 for a Parsons Chamber of Commerce “reverse parade.” Floats and marching bands will be set up in the park but remain stationary while spectators drive through the park. 

— Approving a bid of $54,440 for a 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUV and $51,160 for a 2020 Ram 1500 Special Service Pickup from Superior Emergency Response Vehicles, Andover. Both vehicles are for the police department. 

— Appointing a city commissioner to an advisory committee to help create an updated city comprehensive plan and zoning regulations. Two members of the Parsons Planning Commission will join the committee along with six people from the public chosen by the planners. 

— Installing two additional decorative light posts and lights at a cost of $5,200 in the southeast area of Forest Park and adding light fixtures to existing poles. A Parsons resident requested additional lighting in that area, and city staff agreed it is dark there at night.

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