BB City Council Discusses Park Restroom and Public Participation at Meetings

BB City Council Discusses Park Restroom and Public Participation at Meetings
Broken Bow City Council met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 13.

BROKEN BOW–The Broken Bow City Council convened on Tuesday night  to discuss an issue with 9-1-1 addressing, the park board, and the second step of a three-stop process to update water and sewer rates.

Custer County Emergency Manager/9-1-1 Coordinator Mark Rempe asked the City of Broken Bow for help with the 9-1-1 addressing system. He said there have been location issues but the back piece of the problem needs to be fixed. He said the final process is “so simple it’s ridiculous” but that someone from the city needs to complete this process to ensure accurate emergency location services.

Another topic up for discussion was the potential restroom in the Broken Bow City Square. The Park Board would like to move forward with the project in the next six to eight months but would like to hear input from the public.

Park Board Chairman Paul Holland said the survey received positive response but the board would like to continue hearing from the public.

Parks Superintendent Darren Marten brought up the question of whether or not things like the potential restroom, picnic shelters, and future sidewalks need to be engineered and asked ‘where should the city draw the line?’

Councilman Chris Myers felt the city staff could build the restroom without the engineering and Jacob Holcomb expressed concern of how it would change the appearance of the square  along with the potential smell and continued maintenance. The estimated cost of the project remains between $14,000 and $17,000. No decisions were made.

Ordinances 1206 and 1207 for Water and Sewer Rates were again on the agenda as part of the three-step plan to manage the budget and raise commercial water and sewer rates.

Water/Wastewater Superintendent Darren Marten said because BD has changed its water processes after the city installed new infrastructure, the rates need to be adjusted accordingly.

“BD has changed a lot of their processing  and they’ve cut back on their water consumption. We have met with them several times over the last couple years and we discussed the responsibilities the city put forth throughout the infrastructure to supply them with the amount of water that they needed to operate. They’ve cut back and now we are addressing that and and raising rates accordingly. This will be the second of three steps,” Darren said. “They know this one is coming, we’ve met with their accounting department and they’re budgeting for it,” he added.

The council heard the readings of both ordinances and they will appear on the next meeting agenda.

James Callaway with the Broken Bow Airport Authority presented a recap of the last year saying 7,142 runway operations took place. He added that the airport recently received a $2.5 million grant for runway rehab. The runway is closed but the airport is still open for helicopters. The project is estimated to take 45-60 days with new concrete, new lighting, and signs being added. Callaway said the runway had been in rough shape and that Broken Bow was the first airport in Nebraska to qualify for the grant.

The city council voted to postpone the condemning and demolishing the property at 631 South 9th Avenue. Property owner Justin Russell asked for an extension to explore other avenues of remodeling the property. Police Chief Steve Scott said the house had a fire in 2012 and the property is depreciating the value of other nearby houses. Chief Scott said the house is unsafe and unsightly. Russell has until the next city council meeting to provide an update.

The City Council discussed hiring a part-time employee to take on the duties of zoning administrator as well as the possibility of adding those responsibilities to Julie Toline’s position at the police station.

Pat Powers was appointed to the Park Board for a term ending February 2020.

Tuesday night’s meeting concluded with a public hearing regarding public participation during city council meetings. Mayor Jon Berghorst said there has been lots of discussion throughout the last few months and that he would like more public participation. Jacob Holcomb said an ordinance needs to be laid out for respectful participation.

“We want participation but respectful, and there’s a procedure that needs to be followed and this just helps lay it out for us all,” Holcomb said.

Rod Sonnichsen said meetings in the past were not controlled and that on Tuesday night four people did not use the podium. The council agreed to correct people as it happens to encourage people to follow the rules.

City Clerk Stephanie Wright expressed concern about removing the time frame, so the council considered allowing five minutes for discussion plus the possibility of rebuttal comments, unless otherwise decided by the mayor. Attorney Jason White said the order of meeting is under the mayor’s discretion under state statute. The council voted to postpone making changes to Ordinance 1208 until the next meeting.

The meeting also ended with a brief discussion on future EMTs and Mayor Berghorst thanked volunteers who put in their time to help the community.

The meeting adjourned at 7:13 p.m. and the next City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Broken Bow Public Library.

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