During the third special Nebraska City City Council special budget meeting July 27, commissioners heard from the final six department heads regarding their Capital Improvement Priority requests. The meetings with the departments were held for commissioners to take into consideration the departments’ various needs or wants while the preliminary 2016-2017 fiscal year budget is being prepared.
At the meeting in City Hall, located at 1409 Central Ave., Nebraska City City Administrator Grayson Path discussed the CIPs for the Public Properties department.
The No. 1 CIP for Public Properties was updating Nebraska City’s zoning regulations to match the new Comprehensive Development Plan that was approved by council during this fiscal year.
“Our current zoning regulations do no match the new plan so normally what you do is you develop a new plan and then you redevelop your zoning regulations,” Path said. “That’s the next step in the process.”
The Comprehensive Development Plan is the guide for zoning regulations and according to the law the city can’t have regulations without a Planning Commission and plan. Path said updating the regulations to match the new plan is vital and will eliminate conflicting information.
Updating the zoning regulations is estimated to be about $40,000.
The other CIP for the Public Works department was:
Later in the meeting, Street Superintendent Doug Bennett talked to commissioners about the department’s “wish list” and noted that purchasing a new patcher is at the top of his CIP list. Bennett said the current patcher is more meant to fill in small holes, but when it comes to whole-section repairs the result is a lumpy repair.
Street Commissioner Vic Johns agreed with Bennett that when it comes to making larger repairs, the machine currently used by the department dumps materials instead of fanning it out over an area that needs fixed.
“As far as patching, we could be doing a lot more than we are now. We’ve got areas like Vic was talking about that we can’t do with this machine. If you’ve ever noticed in front of the post office on Central (Avenue), I mean the street is just totally spiderwebbed and falling apart and with our old machine we could’ve went in there, sealed it up and laid some material down to maybe keep it together,” Bennett said. “This machine just can’t do that.”
Bennett added that if a new machine is purchased, it could be a 60- to 90-day wait to receive it, which would be during the colder months when the machine can’t be used.
Bennett said a new patcher would cost about $93,300 and could be financed.
The department’s other CIPS were:
Nebraska City Fire Department Chief Alan Viox’s top CIP was a new back-up generator for the Nebraska City Fire & Rescue station and City Hall. The current generator hasn’t been functional since last fall and Viox stressed that it’s vital for city officials and fire and rescue crews to be able to have power and communicate in times of emergencies, such as power outages.
During a regular city council meeting July 5, Viox approached commissioners about applying for a 75/25 Hazard Mitigation grant to purchase a new generator. The council approved for Mayor Bryan Bequette to sign the grant paperwork to purchase a back-up generator. Out of the total cost of $43,498 the city’s 25-percent share would be $10,874, which Viox is hoping to divide amoung four different departmental budgets.
Viox said during the July 26 special meeting that the city has been awarded the grant.
“We want to see if Nebraska City Rural Fire Department would want to assist with that, the city fire department, rescue and City Hall to try and help purchase the generator,” he said. “We’re trying to get this all taken care of this year before the end of the fiscal year.”
The fire department had four other CIPs:
Commissioners also listened as Nebraska City paramedic manager and EMS Assistant Chief Andrew Snodgrass listed off the EMS and Rescue department’s top priority projects .
Snodgrass’ No. 1 CIP was an estimated $250,000 to be spent to upgrade the crews’ living quarters by adding a small addition onto the station and selling their current quarters across the street from the alley. Viox said the current house needs some work done to it, such as updating the kitchen, but suggested that the house could be sold in order for the city to use the proceeds toward the addition. Viox added that the addition would be built on the south side of the apparatus room and would include one room for the fire crew, one for the EMS crew and another for the EMTs. There would also be male and female restrooms, a utility closet and furnace room as well.
“The reason why that is number one is these guys - during a snow storm or a rain storm or whatever - they’ve got to come out of that house, come across (the alley), get into the building and then take off and go on the call. That’s not really conducive to … not only just a volunteer, but EMS and paramedics that they have to come … across the alley to get into the station,” Viox said. “I wouldn’t want to do it, wake up in the middle of the night and come out in the cold in the middle of a snow storm or heavy rain and have to respond to a call.
“I think this will work well for what we’re doing and I think in some point in time we’ve got to make that next step to get it into this building,” he added.
EMS’ other CIPS were:
Morton-James Public Library Director Rasmus Thoegersen listed only one CIP that he would like to see accomplished during the next fiscal year. He asked commissioners to think about spending an estimated $11,643 to replaced the suspended ceiling grid and tiles and light fixtures, and temporary removal and reinstallation of the sprinkler heads for the fire suppression system in the north storage area and kitchen. The total cost also includes replacing the damaged ceiling tiles in the staff bathroom because it is used during public events.
Thoegersen said the stained ceiling tiles are an eye sore and with the library’s north storage area is now being used as an Escape Room. He added that the light fixtures in the north storage area will become obsolete in the near future and will become unavailable.
“We have recently opened the North Storage Area up to the public again and these updates are part of the work we need to get done to reinvigorate the space,” he wrote in his CIP request.
The Wyuka Cemetery department was up last and Cemetery Director Jim Teten kept his presentation brief due to not having any CIPs. Teten only requested that there be a $1,000 increase in the department’s telephone budget due to the upcoming installation of the new digital kiosk in September. He had requested $2,600 for the 2016-2017 telephone budget instead of the original $1,600 projection.
“The reasoning is because since we’re putting that kiosk in that’s going to be separate Internet,” he said.
At the close of the July 27 meeting, Path suggested to commissioners that they individually tally up what they feel are the city’s top CIPs so they can talk about their top choices at the next special budget meeting, which was Tuesday morning.