Nebraska City offers scooter franchise

NEBRASKA CITY – Nebraska City commissioners claimed “aggressive mobility goals” Monday and agreed to seek an operator for an exclusive dockless scooter franchise.

City Attorney Drew Graham told commissioners he constructed an ordinance to allow the city to grant an exclusive contract to a company that will offer electric scooters within areas of the city prescribed by the city council.

The action comes after Bird Rides offered to maintain a fleet of scooters and rent them out for $1 by using an app.

City commissioners agreed to charge an annual fee of $300 to award the exclusive franchise for shared mobility devices.

The city claims “aggressive mobility goals” for single occupancy vehicles to be used by residents and visitors. The city says it wants to establish a shared mobility device pilot program to reduce the single-occupant vehicle trips and increase availability of public transportation.

A pilot program agreement would give the operator exclusive use of city street right-of-way, including sidewalks and roads for one year.

The sidewalks would be used only for parking scooters and would not inhibit pedestrian traffic.

Bird Rides operates in 150 U.S. cities, but Finance Commissioner Gloria Glover questioned whether Nebraska City will be a good fit.

Glover: “I’m having a hard time visioning this. Do we want 50 scooters on the streets of Nebraska City? That seems pretty wild.”

City Administrator Lou Leone said the size of the fleet has not been determined, but said some scooters are held back for charging while others are placed out for rental.

Also at Monday’s meeting, City  Administrator Lou Leone reported that Southeast Nebraska Development District is developing a subcommittee to serve as an investment club for workforce housing. SENDD is requesting communities to contribute $175,000 to a pool fund.

Dinty Moore’s proposes an Aug. 14 fundraiser that uses the Memorial Building parking lot.

The Nebraska City Fast Pitch Softball Association was granted permission to construct a press box on field 3 at the softball complex.

Lifetime Vision Center is requesting vacation of a portion of 11th Corso for construction this fall.

In other action, Leone reported on progress of capital improvements approved in this year’s budget.

The fire department is waiting for FEMA’s response to a grant application for air packs. Station renovations are awaiting a walk through by the state fire marshal’s office.

Tuckpointing is complete at the Wildwood Period House.

The park department purchased a $13,614 Gator and $8,900 for picnic tables.

The golf course used $14,550 to replace aging golf carts and purchased a beverage cart for $7,395.

The library is in the process of improving building security and has hired a part-time clerk.