City Council Discusses Fireworks App. and Approves Board Appointments

City Council Discusses Fireworks App. and Approves Board Appointments
The Broken Bow City Council met via teleconference on April 14. Photo: Broken Bow City Council during the February 25, 2020 meeting.

BROKEN BOW–The Broken Bow City Council addressed a number of issues during Tuesday evening’s meeting, which was held via teleconference.

First on the agenda was a continuing discussion of the fireworks application fees. City Clerk Stephanie Wright says the current ordinance outlines an application fee of $300 with the money going toward the fire department’s July 4 display. However, Wright said that money was not being transferred according to past city records but will be moving forward.

Council President Jacob Holcomb suggested increasing the application fee to $1,000 with councilmen Chris Myers and Dave Schmidt agreeing the price should be increased but are not wishing to run anybody off.

Cozad resident Troy Wheeler runs a fireworks stand and said he has operated in Broken Bow in the past but that a fee of $1,000 would be higher than many other towns in central Nebraska.

“I just think that’s excessive to more than triple the current fee,” Wheeler said.

Fire Chief Jason Baum said the ultimate goal is to put on the July 4 fireworks display for the city of Broken Bow which usually costs between $7,000 and $8,000.

No decisions were made and the fireworks application price will be placed on a future agenda.

Kristine Moninger was appointed to the Library Board for a term ending February 2021 and Betsy Smith was also appointed to the Library Board for a term ending February 2024.

Russ Smith, Pam Schweitzer, and Pat Powers were all appointed to the Park Board for a term ending February 2023.

Jacob Karmazin, a physician’s assistant at Central Nebraska Medical Clinic, was appointed to the Broken Bow Health Board.

The office of Deputy Clerk was added in February following the approval of Ordinance 1220 to merge the offices of City Clerk and City Treasurer. Following the review of 10 applications and four interviews, Candy Peters was offered the position and the council approved the appointment on Tuesday night.

A motion to postpone (until May) the placement of a temporary bathroom on the north side of the square was passed 3-1. Parks Superintendent Darren Marten said preliminary numbers for adding a restroom in the Great Western Bank ATM building would cost approximately $30,900.

Jacob Holcomb said he is opposed to adding any structure in the square but recognizes the need for a public restroom downtown. Larry Miller added that he wanted to postpone any decision due to the unknown future with COVID-19, with Marten adding that a temporary restroom or the ATM restroom will take time to install.

“I will always be opposed to putting any kind of structure up inside of the square. I am willing to spend some money because I do recognize that there is a need for these public restrooms but I do think the last place we should be putting them is right in the middle of a historical monument,” Holcomb said.

In addition to the consent agenda approval at the beginning of the April 14 meeting, the city council also approved the 2019 TIF Report and Ordinance 1222 which will vacate an alley at 1000 South 3rd Avenue near the Methodist Church and its parsonage. (Wright said the alley vacation was approved by the planning commission prior to the city council meeting.)

Lastly, Ordinance 1223 to amend section 32.06 Board of Public Works was also approved following a public hearing.

City Attorney Jason White said the city is trying to do a bit of house keeping and is not looking to change the day-to-day operations of the Board of Public Works or Utility Department, but that the wording needed to be addressed.

White broke down a history of the Board of Public Works dating back to 1938 under a Nebraska statute but Broken Bow’s ordinance needs to outline the duties and powers of each board under the city council.

Regarding events of the last year, White said former Mayor Jon Berghorst was correct in disciplining employees as necessary because the mayor oversees city employees. A main issue last year dealt with policies, which are determined by the Utility Board. However, the policies of the Utility Board can be reviewed and supervised by the city council. The amended ordinance repeals all ordinances in conflict and states that “All actions of the Board shall be subject to the review and supervision of the City Council.”

The meeting adjourned at 7:14 p.m. and the next City Council Meeting will be on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.