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Vet, water meter deals on city agenda

By Corene Brisendine

City commissioners will consider issues related to a veterinary medicine contract and water meters during a special meeting Tuesday.

The veterinary medicine issue relates to a proposed modification to a lease agreement with the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The college’s Veterinary Clinic Outreach, Inc., a non-profit affiliate, has requested the city allow it to remodel portions of the former administrative building where the current animal clinic is housed in order to create a modern clinic facility for both routine and emergent care of the animals at Sunset Zoo. Outreach would be responsible for all costs associated with the remodel, an amount that is expected to exceed $200,000.

Beyond that, the veterinary medicine college has asked the city to modify the annual service contract, which expires in March, by extending the contract for 15 years with an automatic 3 percent inflation increase per year. The current lease agreement contracts veterinary services at $18,175 for 2013. The services are paid through Sunset Zoo operating budget funds. The remodel is tied to the modification in the service agreement.

Commissioners will also consider borrowing money to replace 6,318 manually read and malfunctioning water meters with new ones in order to increase efficiency. On Feb. 28,2012, commissioners tabled a proposal to borrow slightly more than $3 million through the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund to replace the meters. Since then, the project has been determined to qualify for a 40 percent forgiveness because it is considered 100 percent “green.” That forgiveness brings the cost down to about $1.72 million.

In addition to more accurate water readings, the project would allow the water department to reduce the four-person water-meter reading staff to two. Commissioners can approve the first reading of the ordinance, decline it, or table it for consideration at a later date.

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Commission room at City Hall.

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