BROKEN BOW — At Tuesday’s two-hour City Council meeting, a lengthy public hearing kicked off the agenda and focused on the possibility of a one-way street in front of North Park Elementary, on H Street, going east to west between 10th and 12th. A public hearing was also held on August 22 and the conversation continues to focus on the safety of the kids.
Council President Rod Sonnichsen said, “A $10,000 traffic study doesn’t even come close to the price of a child.” This sentiment was echoed by all who spoke, including Robert (Kim) Staab who said the children’s safety is number one above and beyond anything else.
Residents in that area have been notified and other concerns in addition to safety include bus traffic, parking, liability, and increased traffic on other streets such as Memorial Drive. A motion was made to table the discussion with the possibility of looking into further traffic studies.
Another public hearing was held on an Electric Rate Increase. Electric Superintendent Doug Staab had no new updates since the last meeting (click here to view the August 22 City Council story) and reiterated that a 5% increase has been recommended by the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN).
Activities Director/Assistant Middle and High School Principal Ryan Hogue requested that the school be able to host a homecoming bonfire in the rock parking lot at Melham Park on Tuesday, September 26. This request was approved, as was the parade route for the homecoming parade on Friday, September 29 on South 9th Avenue and D Street from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Chamber Events Director Hannah Hundley proposed moving the Farmers Market back to the city square next year. She requested parking spaces on the east and northeast side of the square be blocked off for the market on Thursdays between May 17 and September 20, 2018. This request was approved.
Downtown assessments were discussed and approved. Assessments will proceed at $20/foot for the 5th Avenue project and $84/foot for the downtown project, not to exceed 100 feet per property.
A one-way alley was approved in between Nebraska State Bank and the Municipal Building. The alley will run west to east.
Public hearings and discussions were held, and motions were made regarding the amended 2016-2017 budget, annual appropriation bill, additional 1% increase to the restricted funds, setting of the final property tax request for 2017-2018, and carrying forward the unused restricted funds authority. All of these items were approved.
Finance Director Nancee Coufal informed the council the levy is down, but property valuations are up, and that the cash reserves have also gone down. The city’s total restricted funds are currently $3,620,054.80. Coufal stated that the property tax request came to $1,207,030.80 with the levy at 0.666940.
The Wage ordinance for non-union employees was approved and so was Ordinance 1176 Opportunity Land Investments Rezoning (from residential to commercial, just east of the Garden Center off of Thelma Street).
Various payments were approved for library asbestos removal ($1,025.00 to Environment Direct) and renovation construction ($172,468.02 to Chief Construction), a payment ($1,717.50 to JEO) for the comprehensive plan and zoning/subdivision regulations, a payment ($24,669.00 to Myers Construction) for downtown improvements, and a payment of $2,509.78 to the Department of Health and Human Services for water main review fees on the downtown project.
The council moved into closed session but no decisions were made. The next City Council meeting will be on September 26 at noon.