Financial Upswing Noted for Holly Community


Holly Depot

Holly Depot


The town of Holly is experiencing a spurt in prosperity with increases in revenues from three areas.  Marsha Willhite, Town Administrator, informed the Trustees at their monthly meeting, Wednesday, November 6, that an increase in revenue from dirt deposits at the town landfill are higher than expected when the 2013 budget had been drafted.  Dirt deposits from oil drilling operations in Kiowa County have amounted to $90,000 to date this year, compared to the budgeted $25,000 expected from normal year round landfill deposits.  The trustees passed a resolution for the sale of the AT & T Lease for the cell phone repeater tower to Unison Site Management.  Negotiations were initiated back in February.  The tower is located on West Cheyenne Street in Holly, and had been rented for monthly fees under a contract agreement.  The resolution approves a contract with Unison for the lease conversion for $50,400 instead of monthly rent payments from AT & T.  In addition, an extra 250 square feet of land adjacent to the existing ground space has been included in the agreement and rent collected from any future tenants in that space will be divided with 60% of fees going to the Town of Holly and 40% to Unison.  The third new revenue source will be from increased seasonal electric power sales for a series of wells and pivot irrigation systems being installed near Holly by GP Irrigated Farms.  Willhite told the Trustees that the increased pumping, from March to September, will double the size of the electric system.  No specific dollar value was attached to the future increases.  The Trustees discussed negotiations in executive session at the conclusion of the regular meeting.  

The Trustees were given a brief overview of some of the upgrades to the electric system for the well pumping by Stacey DeJong from Reliable Power Consultants.  An additional 53 power poles and above-ground lines will be run east of the airport runway to the wells.  DeJong said that once the contractors involved in the expansion have submitted their estimates, including a review of transformer quotes for an upgrade to 14.4 voltage out of the south substation, she’ll be able to provide workable figures for the Trustees to review. 

Willhite discussed some landfill issues with the Trustees including the state mandated compliance update which is still in review.  As the Trustees are working on the 2014 budget, Willhite suggested about $5,000 be set aside for surveyor fees as a contingency.  The current costs on the compliance upgrades are from $4,000 to $5,000 under the 2013 budget.  The Trustees discussed the purchase of a pre-built records and ewaste storage and maintenance shop to be used by the town’s landfill attendant.  The compliance upgrades stipulate that landfill records must be stored on site and electronic or ewaste which cannot be dumped in the landfill should be stored for later removal.  A 10 by 20 foot shed from a Lamar firm retails at $4,000.  A five year contract on basic electric power includes an $860 hookup fee. 

The Trustees continued their discussion on a four day work week for municipal employees and a resolution vote for the change will be held at their December 4 monthly meeting.  The change will have a zero impact on payroll, and only minor scheduling changes for the holiday season or employees who are on stand-by status will come into play.  Willhite said the four day work week will help eliminate the need for employees to take time off during the middle of the week for various personal issues that develop through the year, as they can plan around their free day on Friday.  The town office will alter its hours of operation to 7am to 6pm and will not close for lunch, but will stagger employees break periods. 

Reimbursements on building permits was discussed again, with the main issue being what would be a fair portion of a fee to keep for administrative costs.  The basic permit applications also need to be revamped once some guidelines have been established.  An across the board flat percentage won’t work when the cost of a project is compared from a new high school, for example, to a new garage.  Mayor Brad Simon suggested that the town clerk set a schedule based on small-medium or large former projects and provide some ideas from that.  Administrator Willhite said that the criterion to be considered is the dollar value of a project and not the square footage or its size.   

The proposed zoning ordinance for the Town of Holly was recommended to be taken off the monthly Trustee’s agenda until sufficient information is available for a complete discussion.  The town’s employee health plan with Rocky Mountain insurers was renewed for another year, noting an 8% increase and the Trustees approved the 2014 insurance agreement with CIRSA for coverage for the town’s boiler and machinery as well as occupational accidental death and dismemberment for employees.  Administrator Willhite also noted that roof and wall work on the town’s theater and library is nearly complete.  The meeting was attended by the Prowers County Commissioners as well as Lance Benninghoff, PCDI executive director.

By Russ Baldwin

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