The Broken Bow City Council will be short one vote following the resignation of Council President Jacob Holcomb. During Tuesday evening’s meeting, Mayor Rod Sonnichsen solemnly read the resignation letter of Holcomb which stated he would resign immediately.
The letter stated, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Broken Bow as West Ward Councilmember and Council President over the past few years. Other opportunities have presented themselves that make it impossible for me to fulfill my sworn duties. I know the City and Council is still in great hands moving forward.”
East Ward Councilman David Schmidt also read a prepared statement during the meeting where he thanked Holcomb for his dedicated service to the Broken Bow community.
Councilman Schmidt’s statement: “President Holcomb, I would like to thank you for your 5+ years of dedicated service to the community of Broken Bow. Your tireless, unassuming, and thoughtful leadership are hallmark examples of what it is to be an outstanding civil servant.
We all have a great deal of work ahead of us as we attempt to fill your shoes. I would like to wish you nothing but success and good luck in your future endeavors. You will always have my utmost respect and admiration. Again, thank you for a job well done.
Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I make a motion to accept the resignation of Jacob Holcomb from the City Council of Broken Bow NE, to be effective immediately.”
Trash removal feels may be getting a hike for the first time since approximately 2013 after the first reading was given on an ordinance that would increase the fees. The increase is due to trash fees being increased at the landfill which has trickled down the line forcing tipping fees to increase as well. Customers would see an approximate $1 per month increase. The item will be on for another public hearing at the next City Council meeting.
In other City Council business, Broken Bow Police Sergeant Shane Fiorelli informed the Council BBPD has been working with Broken Bow Public Schools to look at different safety concerns. He said one of the concerns was the speeds of vehicles around school buildings, especially in the morning and during final dismissal.
He stated there are only two designated school zone signs in the city and, besides those two flashing signs, there is no other sign in the city indicating drivers are in a school zone. He said because of this, they have worked to find a solution to this problem. Currently, there is an ordinance that states cars cannot drive faster than 15 MPH in a school zone when students are going to or from the school in the morning or at the end of the school day.
Due to the lack of signs Sergeant Fiorelli had 18 ‘school zone’ signs created which was paid for through a grant from the Custer County Foundation and the City of Broken Bow. He told Council they would be placed at the three schools including Custer School due to there being an active bus drop-off and pickup location.
An additional issue that will also be addressed is the pedestrian crosswalks when students are attempting to cross the street to get to the schools. Sergeant Fiorelli said he has ordered additional signage that will be placed on the crosswalks to the schools in the morning and afternoon. He noted it is a state law that vehicles stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and with the additional signage, he is hopeful drivers will be more aware of the school zone. The entire cost of the signage project was $2,587 which was partially covered thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Custer County Foundation. The remaining cost of the project was covered by the City.
Paul Holland was approved to be appointed to the Board of Public Works which will allow the board to reach a quorum. In December, the Council was forced to temporarily suspend the powers of the Public Works Board until the quorum was reached. With the approval of his appointment, the board’s powers are restored.
The Council also approved splitting the offices of the Deputy Clerk/Treasurer. Jessica Owen has been in the combined position for the past year. With the split, City Administrator Dan Knoell said this will allow for an additional hire without having to create a brand new position.
The next Broken Bow City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 25 at 6 PM.