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Tapping tool needed by city water department of Pratt

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Replacement tool for city water main maintenance approved by Pratt city commissioners.

Pratt City Commissioners unanimously approved purchase of a new tapping machine for the water department and also approved bids for a planned 2020 mill and overlay project at their regular meeting Monday, July 22.

Mayor Gary Schmidt presided with Commissioners Zach Deeds, Don Peters and Doug Meyer present for the 5 p.m. meeting at City Hall Council Chambers.

Water Superintendent Kelvin Clay told commissioners that the city’s tapping machine, which allows city crews to tap into water mains under pressure so that water delivery to city residents is not interrupted, has tapped its last main after 80 years of service.

“It’s completely broke,” Clay said. ”We’ve got two jobs in need of the tool, maybe three. We’re using a loaner right now.”

Clay described the tapping machine as one of the primary tools in the city water department’s arsenal to keep water flowing through pipes to homes and businesses when new water lines are being installed or existing ones repaired.

“It’s the first tool off the shelf and the last one we put away when we’re installing water lines,” Clay said.

Commenting on the age of the retired tapping machine, Mayor Schmidt said, “I think we got our money’s worth.”

Commissioners accepted the low of two bids submitted by Salina Supply Company in the amount of $21.359.64. The second bid was for $22,336.88 from Municipal Supply Co. Inc., Hastings, NE.

Clay said the new machine is compatible with accessories used by the old machine and told commissioners that funds for the purchase would come from the water department’s Emergency Unpredictable Event Fund.

Public Works Director Russ Rambat presented plans for the 2020 Mill and Overlay Project for sections of four city streets, with commissioners approving award of the bid to APAC-Kansas, Inc., Hutchinson, in the amount of $146,590.68.

Streets approved for the overlay work are North Main Street, from the railroad crossing north to Coddington Street, which marks the north city limit; Howard Street, from U.S. 54 south to Third Street; East Third Street, from Oak to Thompson; and South Pine Street, from U.S 54 to Sixth Street.

The street overlay project is scheduled to be completed by mid-October, according to Rambat, who said residents and businesses affected would be notified in advance.

“There won’t be too much interference with traffic flow,” Rambat said.

In recommending the award of the bid, Rambat told commissioners that APAC has successfully done previous projects for the city.

In the third and final item of business, commissioners approved Resolution 07020-City Coronavirus Relief Fund Resolution, drafted by City Attorney Regina Probst.

The three-page resolution pertains to city’s administration of funds expected to be channeled to the City of Pratt by Pratt County Commissioners, as administrators’ of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act and Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (“SPARKS) funding from the Kansas State Legislature.

The resolution outlines the purposes for which federal and state funds channeled to the City of Pratt may be used, but does not specify the dollar amounts to be made available. It does specify that the time-frame for incurred expenditures to be used is from March 1 to December 30, 2020.

City Manager Bruce Pinkall updated commissioners on the city budget process, stating that the city is looking at three proposals for health insurance, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, the city’s current provider.

Pinkall also gave kudos to city department heads and staffers for working individually and keeping their distance to stay safe in the coronavirus culture.

Pratt Police Chief Nate Humble reported that officers are now wearing masks all the time and commissioners also were updated on other city activities by Director of Electrical Utilities Jamie Huber and Building Inspector Brad Blankenship.