For the first time in more than a year, city departments will have a council member overseeing them.
Mayor Ron Grass did not make those appointments for the 2020 calendar year and repeated the move when the city council reorganized Dec. 10. After a short discussion at the Jan. 14 Tekamah City Council meeting, Grass said he would place commissioner appointments on the Jan. 28 agenda. But the move came with a condition.
“I don’t want to be the last one to know when something is coming up,” he said. “If that happens, I’ll make these appointments.”
Discussion occurred after a new ordinance, No. 1307, came up on the agenda. It would require every mayor to appoint a city council member to oversee the commissions: Streets and Bridges, Water and Sewer, Public Buildings, Solid Waste, and Parks and Pool.
Grass said no state law requires the appointments be made. He said he didn’t make them because as mayor, responsibility falls on him and there were too many situations where he was uninformed.
Council member Kelly Adamson countered, saying too many decision are made away from the council’s table.
“We need to work together,” Grass said. “If that happens, I’ll make these appointments.”
Council member Matt Cass said he understood the mayor’s concerns and offered to shelve the ordinance as long as the lines of communication remained open.
“If you’re willing, this doesn’t need done,” he said.
In other business Jan. 14, the council:
—Heard an update on the progress of the newly realigned M Street.
Street Superintendent Matt Deemer said work on thee street is 75 percent complete. The school district’s engineers were to do an inspection early this week, then the city’s engineers will do the same. If no corrections need made, the city can accept ownership of the street.
Payment for the new construction is part of the school district’s bond issue. As such, Deemer said any adjustments would have to be made through the district.
“They have been very good about addressing our concerns,” Deemer said. “There have already been a couple. We had no problems.”
Council member Gary Anderson voiced his concern over the amount of mud in the area and what that may mean for the condition of the street.
Deemer said the school’s engineers provided core samples from the area. “It’s more than well-packed,” he said. “I am less concerned about that.”
—Approved the mayor’s recommendation to add Amanda Harder and Annette Sprick Planning Commission and naming Chad Zink to represent the city on the Burt County Economic Development Corp. board.
The two new appointments fill out the Planning Commission.
The city still seeks volunteers to make up the Board of Adjustment, the body that hears appeals in planning and zoning matters. More information about the openings is available at the city office.
—Heard first reading of Ordinance 1305 which adopts updated building codes.
—Decided to reopen Tekamah City Auditorium to renters.
Prospective tenants still must adhere to any Directed Health Measure in effect at the time of their event and complete a safety plan as required by Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department.
A spike in COVID-19 cases in early November led the council to close the auditorium. The current Directed Health Measure which allows 75 percent occupancy but also mandates social distancing measures.
—Approved City Clerk/Treasurer Karolyn McElroy’s attendance at two upcoming training sessions.
The first, the annual Midwinter Conference put on by Nebraska League of Municipalities, will be held virtually Feb. 6-13.
The second, the annual Municipal Clerk Institute, is set for march 14-19 in Grand Island, but no information was yet available.
Approved the certificate of compliance with the Nebraska Department of Transportation for maintenance and snow removal in 2020. The council also renewed its maintenance agreement with NDOT for 2021.
Under the agreement, the state maintain 4.6 of the 5.77 lane miles of state highway in the city.