Newcomers seek change in natural gas rule

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January 9, 2018 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — “We love Humboldt,” Glenn Criqui told Humboldt council members Monday night.
But, he and wife Peggy aren’t fond of Humboldt codes that require permanent residents to tap into the city’s natural gas system.
The Criquis’ concern is they moved to town in a fifth-wheel travel trailer — “that has anything anyone would want in the way of a home” — and its fuel source is propane. Glenn Griqui noted it would be difficult and costly to convert their little home to natural gas. Appliances fitted for one fuel are not compatible with another.
Glenn Criqui, 72, also has physical limitations that make it difficult for him to change out the trailer’s propane tank. Instead, they’d like to install a 250-gallon tank that could be placed in the bed of their pickup truck, he said, “so it would be mobile.”
After hearing out the Criquis and David Gant, who owns D&D Propane, Mayor Nobby Davis pointed out council members could make no immediate changes to applicable ordinances.
Gant tried to defuse concerns about the safety of propane, an issue that frequently comes up in discussions involving municipalities. “I have 1,000 customers who use it,” he said. “It’s used all over rural America.”
After the meeting, City Administrator Cole Herder cited two considerations the city has had over the years in regard to propane.
“If a fire occurs and firefighters go inside a place where propane is and they don’t know about it, they are at risk,” he said. Also, from a financial consideration the city sells natural gas at a profit, a source of revenue it is eager to protect, “just like water and sewer charges.”
The next city planning commission meeting is Feb. 26 when the Criquis will have opportunity to “start the process,” as Davis called it, to make an effort to alter the regulations regarding propane. Any recommendation planners make will be handed to council members, who will have final say.
 
IN OTHER NEWS, council members:
— Were given a brief review of plans for 24.8 acres owned by HUGRO, a local development group, to be sold to Monarch Cement Company. Initial development of five acres would be for a Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co. service center. Murphy is a national company with several outlets in Kansas, including on the outskirts of Wichita. Before any construction can begin, the city must extend utilities, estimated at $672,500. Allen County commissioners last week pledged to pay half the cost. Herder is seeking the remainder through a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, with a decision expected no sooner than three months hence. Herder touted the development as “happening because we have good corporate partners in Humboldt.”
— Seated two new members, Kent Goodner and Ashleigh Dooley, to replace Mark Slater and Otis Crawford, who retired.
— Learned Finance and Growth committees members “determined the city should extend HHPA (Humboldt Historical Preservation Alliance) the same options as any other organization or business” in regard to the old city hall; namely, the right to rent the building for $400 a month, including utilities, or to buy it. HHPA had sought access for display of Humboldt memorabilia. The building is appraised by the county at $44,500.
— Will be asked later to consider whether to change animal codes to ban vicious dogs, rather than the code being breed-specific. The issue arose last June, but drifted into oblivion. “The request has resurfaced,” Herder said.

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