As the first order of business, the Pratt City Commission presented service awards to a dozen employees Monday evening.

10 years: Rodney Tritt, animal control; and Lewis Mayes Jr., parks department

15 years: LuAnn Kramer, city clerk and utility billing; James Ferbert, police officer; Darrell Hohensee, power plant operator; Jimmie Koontz, line distribution; and Greg Denny, wastewater plant

20 years: Gary Myers, chief of police

25 years: Bruce Pinkall, recreation director; and Kelvin Clay, water superintendent

30 years: Roy Sinclair, street foreman; and Kelly Hemphill, director of electric utilities

"The city has a lot of dedicated employees (80-plus) and that experience is invaluable," Mayor Jeff Taylor said.

Commissioner Gary Skaggs noted that an organization is only as good as its employees and having employees stay that long speaks well for the city.

"It shows we've got a good system going," Commissioner Bill Hlavachick said.

Commissioners Karen Detwiler and Lucus Kumberg also added their thanks.

An emergency repair of a drainage box under West First Street is about half completed, public works director Russ Rambat reported.

The situation was serious enough he, with the approval of City Manager Dave Howard, bypassed the usual bidding process and went with the lowest of two quotes.

Bryant and Bryant of Halstead, which recently finished work on the North Main project, had a crew idle, and quoted $37,424, to remove the top of the box installed in the 1960s, and replace it with steel reinforced concrete.

Klaver Construction of Kingman proposed doing the job for $43,093.

Rambat said when he was under the street inspecting the box, concrete was falling on his head.

"I worried we'd have 18 wheels down there."

The contractor plans to move to the south side of the street on Tuesday. Rambat predicted the new drainage structure will serve "as long as we're all around."

Asked if the Kansas Department of Transportation would share the expense, Howard explained that the failure was to the culvert, not the highway.

Taylor also said that, although the usual bidding process was not followed, commissioners were informed about the project and its emergency nature by email.

Commissioners approved purchasing a 1997 motorgrader from Pratt County for $61,400. The 1997 grader is in good shape and has been well maintained, Rambat explained, but it has reached the hours of use that the county generally trades units off.

"In their world, that's a lot of hours (25,000), but it's pretty reasonable in our world," he said.

The city will keep the 1978 grader it currently owns. Adding another unit that is approximately one-third larger and with about 50 more horsepower will prove valuable in keeping streets open in the event of another series of snowstorms like last winter, Rambat said.

In other business, commissioners:

• approved a resolution declaring a building at 412 S. Main unsafe and dangerous, and giving the owner until Dec. 1 to begin removal or repair. City Attorney Ken Van Blaricum reported that the owner plans to begin repairs within the next two or three weeks.

• approved a contract with Pratt Area Humane Society stating the city will continue paying PAHS $2,500 per month and giving a $6,000 per year utility credit and the Society will provide shelter for stray animals picked up within the city. Board member Jim Nixon said the support of the city and county has allowed them to use donations, fund-raisers and grants for repairs required by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

• approved a contract to lease a building to the Cedric H. Shaw Post 86, American Legion for $20 per month. The contract is similar to the existing contract.