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(Neb)-Council Delays Decision On Subsidizing Water Project  Listen

By: John Axtell Posted at: 02/07/2019 03:42 PM
CHADRON - The Chadron City Council debated a proposal to pick up 70% of the cost of a looped water main to industrial property just west of the Greenwood Cemetery for more than 45-minutes Monday night, then postponed a decision for 2 weeks for more study and community input.

      Fuller Construction purchased the land along the south end of Stockade Road south of Highway 20 from the Northwest Nebraska Development Corporation.

    The company is developing some of it as an equipment yard-shop complex and plans to build new corporate offices on a parcel that has city water, but wants to sell or develop the rest - which doesn't have water.

      Under the proposal put forward by city staff, Fuller, and the Northwest Nebraska Development Corporation, the city - which owns property along the planned line - would pay 70% or more than $220,000 instead of the normal 28% of the cost. Councilwoman Cheryl Welch felt it was asking too much of Chadron taxpayers to essentially give that much money to one of the city's largest businesses.

    PLAY SOUNDBITE

All the land along south Stockade was acquired by NNDC 3 decades ago as an industrial park, but the hoped for development never occurred because the area lacked streets and utilities.

      Sewer and water were eventually brought to the north end in conjunction with the new state transportation dept yard and offices, but NNDC executive director Deb Cottier told the council a public-private partnership is needed to bring water to the south end.

    City Manager Greg Yanker said Chadron's smaller size and remote location means it needs to provide more help to attract developers than do other cities. Cottier agreed and called the water line a perfect example of a true public-private partnership.

     Joining Welch and councilman George Klein in questioning the wisdom and fairness of the funding plan was Lori Storbeck, president of the association that negotiates on behalf of Chadron city employees, who did not get a raise this year. Storbeck said some employees are upset about the proposal, especially in light of the spending cuts Yanker brought the council for this year's budget.

     Vice Mayor Keith Crofutf said he likes the basic idea of the proposal but had misgivings. His request to table the proposal to the next council meeting to study it in greater depth and to hear from more constituents was passed unanimous. Crofut appears to be the deciding vote with Mayor Miles Bannan and councilman Mark Werner both expressing support for it.


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