Photo: City manager Wayne Anderson expresses his appreciation to the Chadron city council at his first official council meeting Monday night.
(CHADRON)-Public works director Milo Rust mentioned at the Chadron city council meeting Monday night that representatives from the engineering firm Leo A. Daly will be in Chadron all day Tuesday and on Wednesday morning from 7:30-9:30 a.m. to meet with businesses and other entities that may have questions regarding the storm sewer and wastewater improvement project that the city is considering. Rust said a letter was sent out to all businesses encouraging them to sign up for one of the ½ hour time slots available, but city zoning official Janet Johnson said as of the meeting Monday night that only seven slots were full.
Council member Jim Mapes said he hopes more people will take advantage of the opportunity Tuesday and Wednesday to learn more and alleviate concerns regarding the project. “Hopefully they can clarify a lot of things or at least make you feel more comfortable with what might happen,” said Mapes. “It’s just informational. I’d like to see most of the businesses on Main Street stop, but even if you’re three blocks over, you’re more than welcome. Anybody can come down.”
For those who would like to visit with a engineering representative, make sure to stop by City Hall or give them a call at 432-0501 to set up a time.
Also at their meeting, the city council heard from Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation executive director Deb Cottier regarding developments on the Heartland Expressway. Cottier said the city of Scottsbluff has recently agreed to give Chadron the use of Martin Johnson, who is a City Level 2 Planner. Martin will devote 20 percent of his time to Chadron, and will serve as a representative for our area, providing support at Heartland Expressway meetings and as a liaison with the state department of roads. Cottier said another meeting will take place September 6th at 10:00 a.m. in Scottsbluff.
The council approved an ordinance with Source Gas regarding a franchise agreement that will keep rates at .0068 per therm, which is the same that it has been since 1998. Norm Long from SourceGas was on hand to answer questions. Mayor Karin Fischer mentioned that some other cities in the area have higher rates, but as the cost gets upped, the additional amount translates straight to higher rates for consumers. Therefore, the council decided to renew the agreement and keep rates the same as they have been.
New city manager Wayne Anderson, who made his first official appearance at the council meeting in his new position, shared new information with the council in regard to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s requirement that Community Development Block Grant funds be returned or monitored. Anderson said the city had received an e-mail rescinding the September 5th deadline until a later date. The state and federal government are working to compile more information by October 31st as to the new requirements. The city of Chadron currently has $199,000 in revolving loan funds that were ready to be loaned out before the state received notification from the federal government that the funds were being recalled.
The council appointed Mike Loutzenhiser to a vacancy on the Police Retirement Committee. Other members of the committee include Aron Chrisman, Charles Cressy, Rick Hickstein, Tim Lordino, and Keith Spencer.
The council voted to discontinue city participation in the current healthcare system and to resume self-funded insurance for city employees. Council member Bill Barth shared that he had received various comments from employees who have not been happy with the current insurance and wanted the self-insured program back. Human resource officer Bev Bartlett explained that withdrawing from the League of Municipalities would not cause instability in that program and there was no contract tying the city to it, so a switch can be made rather easily to the self-funded option. The city also has a reserve of money that can be utilized for the new program.
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