Two street topics dominated the Rose Hill City Council meeting Tuesday.

Two topics related to streets dominated the Rose Hill City Council meeting Tuesday.

The council approved the purchase of a loader/backhoe, which can be used to make street repairs, and reviewed a report on the condition of several streets, which will be scheduled for repair next year.

The city’s loader/backhoe is used every day, according to Public Works Director Kirk Hayden.

“Water and streets are constantly in demand for the use of the loader,” his report stated.

The 14-year-old machine’s lifespan and reliability are questionable, however, and a new loader will enable the city to continue to respond to emergencies. Hayden recommended buying a loader and keeping the old unit, which will give the department the ability to do more than one project at a time.

Public Works had budgeted for a new loader, planning to finance the purchase through a municipal lease. Hayden presented three options, a Caterpillar, the most expensive option, a new John Deere and a demonstrator model John Deere. The council voted to purchase the used John Deere for $81,371, if it is still available or the 2014 John Deere model if the demonstrator has already been sold. Rose Hill State Bank will handle the municipal lease/purchase financing.

Also during the meeting, Ben Mabry from the city’s engineering firm, Professional Engineering Consultants, shared a report with the council on test bores from several streets to determine the condition of the pavement and road base.

Mabry explained the area’s clay soil expands and contracts with varying weather conditions, and this movement results in damage to the street surface. The bore measurements will help determine the extent of street repair necessary. Some streets may need to be completely rebuilt while others may be sufficiently repaired with a surface treatment or spot repair.

Test bores were taken from Main, Osage, Young, West and Morris streets, with varying results. Some of the tests revealed no base existed, along with inconsistent amounts of asphalt. Some of the difference was explained by streets being extended years after the first portion had been built. The city now has a standard for all streets concerning the width of road base and asphalt or surface, so all streets are built the same way.

The council will discuss the report in more detail at a retreat in February or March 2014 as it prepares its budget for the next fiscal year.

In other action, the council heard a report from Harold Beedles, the steering committee chair for a strategic plan update. The committee held its first meeting two weeks ago, and members are energized to work with Wichita State University in conducting focus groups.

“I’m excited to see this process grow,” Beedles said. “I think it’s going to be fun.”

Focus groups will include the faith community, the Chamber and businesses, city employees, and citizens via a gathering at the Senior Center.

The full committee meets again after the first of the year, with a final report due to the council in May 2014.