City Council Hears Yearly Reports from Department Heads Tuesday Night

City Council Hears Yearly Reports from Department Heads Tuesday Night
The Broken Bow City Council on Tuesday night.

BROKEN BOW – The Broken Bow City Council held its pre-Thanksgiving session on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Councilman Miller was excused.

The council approved the consent agenda and the bills as posted, as well as the treasurer’s report for October.

All department heads took their turn at the podium and delivered their annual reports, and all brought some manner of good news before the council.

Broken Bow Police Chief Steve Scott said that his department responded to 2058 total calls in the past year, up 65 from 2021. Chief Scott counted 136 citations and 113 nuisance calls for 2022, up 6 from 2021.

Library Director Megan Svoboda touted increases across the board for the Broken Bow Public Library; 981 library cards were issued, a 21% increase from last year and the multipurpose and study rooms were rented out a total of 1,021 times, which made for a 139% increase from 2021. Among other promising upward trends, Svoboda highlighted one particularly interesting statistic.

“The patrons saved over $460,000 last year by borrowing library materials instead of buying them.”

Svoboda went on to outline goals for the library’s upcoming year and beyond, which include a community needs survey, and an even greater increase in patronage.

Darren Martin of Streets and Parks delivered the report for his department, which included an astounding number of community-benefitting projects, from collaborating with the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up the creek in late winter to assisting with the benchmark-setting renovations at Paul Brown Field during the spring, not to mention the clean up after the July storm.

His department additionally dug out and added proper drainage for the sand volleyball courts. Martin recited some impressive numbers to go with the impressive projects.

“We poured over 150 yards of cement, and 250 gallons of paint on the streets for arrows, crosswalks, and railroad crossings. We mowed weekly about 130 acres of grass as the summer went on; the street department made about 42 hours of mosquito spraying this last summer.”

Between all of that, Martin’s department helped prepare fields for the baseball season and fill the pool in time for its June 1 opening; Martin said that in its two-and-a-half open months, the pool held 210 swimming lessons, and helped 13,769 people keep cool.

Kandi Peters, Broken Bow City Clerk, said her department is working on revamping the city’s website, and had doubled its sale of mobile food vendor permits in the past year, from 4 to 8, and rented out the auditorium 43 times compared to 2021’s 29.

Blake Waldow, Electric Superintendent, said that his department handled 24 power outages, and replaced 34 poles and installed 3,600 feet of primary wire. Waldow says that one of his department’s upcoming projects will be right in the heart of Broken Bow.

“We are getting started on the upgrade for the eight structures between South 7th and 8th, 9th and 10th, from B Street to E Street.”

Ryan Jones of the Water and Sewer Department said the annual jetting handled 33,231 feet of sewer main. Jones added that his department, through mapping the entirety of the city’s water services, uncovered an interesting project.

“When we were locating manholes, we found quite a few that were way too low; there were even some that were just paved over. So far we’ve either raised or repaired 21 manholes.”

Andy Holland, Broken Bow Fire and EMS Director, said that his departments responded to 103 fire calls in the past year, as well as 24 mutual aid calls, and 389 EMS calls, and that due to the restructured on-call weekend shifts, response time had been lowered by about 2 minutes.

City Administrator Dan Knoell delivered updates regarding the Custer School’s playground equipment. One of the ideas for that equipment’s future home, Knoell said is north of town near Indian Hills because of the growth trend for Broken Bow.

“One reason I’m suggesting Indian Hills is the potential for future housing developments up there. Broken Bow is growing north; the chances that the city will continue to grow south are pretty slim.”

Nothing regarding the equipment’s next destination was decided; Knoell said that he hopes that future discussions will draw input from all members of the community.

The council approved the appointment of two new officers to the Broken Bow Police Department: Paul Cunningham and Christopher Shelby are the newest additions to the force.

The council then unanimously approved the appointment of Jay Gormley to the Board of Public Works for a term that will run to June 2025.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:38 p.m., with the next scheduled for December 13 at 6 p.m.