Minutes for Hay Springs City Council Meeting March 10, 2020


Call to Order: Mayor Richard McKay called the Regular Meeting of the Hay Springs City Council to order at 7:01 p.m. Council persons Jim Varvel, Keith Kearns, Luke Marcy and Marvin Blundell were present. Attorney Jamian Simmons was absent. It was noted that the Open Meetings Act is posted.

Minutes Approval: Marcy made motion, Varvel seconded to approve the Minutes from February 11th, 2020 Regular Council Meeting. Varvel, Marcy and Blundell voted aye. Kearns abstained. Motion carried.

Agenda Approval: Varvel made motion, Kearns seconded to approve the agenda for March 10th, 2020 Regular Council Meeting. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Gardner, Loutzenhiser & Ryan, P.C. – Audit Form approval: Kearns made motion to confirm Gardner, Loutzenhiser & Ryan, P.C. conducted the City of Hay Springs Audit. Varvel seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Audit Report: Jim Gardner and/or Sara Rittgarn: Sara Rittgarn with Gardner, Loutzenhiser & Ryan, P.C. was present to discuss the City of Hay Springs’ Audit Report with the Council. She gave a brief update of the Audit findings; no major discrepancies were found. According to the financial statements for this year, the City is in relatively decent shape. The actual regular checking account is always reconciled. The rest of the journal entries presented to the Council were cash to accrual conversions such as depreciation, recording accounts receivable and accounts payable. The City had no compliance issues with cash equalization, the bond convenance, the debt ordinances, the budget act, etcetera. Lack of segregation of duties and Audit preparing the financial statements will always be two intro-control findings. Sara brought the Council’s attention to a compliance issue with Pioneer Manor Nursing Home. Sandy Heesacker, Pioneer Manor Nursing Home Board member, was present and explained the matter to the Council. The Audit Report is due to the State by March 31st of each year. 

Darren Drabbels: City lot: Darren inquired if the City would be interested in selling their Lot on North Main Street since Darren and Gary Drabbels recently purchased the two Lots adjacent to the City’s Lot. They intend to put a building up on those Lots. Since the City does not have any zoning regulations, the City cannot specify what can and cannot be built on said Lots. Marcy preferred to put the City Lot out for bids so the entire community can be made aware of the Lot for sale, as well as give others the opportunity to purchase said Lot. Kearns agreed. There was much discussion. Mayor McKay advised that he would contact City Attorney Jamian Simmons for clarification. 

Darren also brought to the Council’s attention that recent work done by a subcontractor of Great Plains Communications in the Alley beside his property has caused issues due to the lack of the hole being properly packed back in. Mayor McKay said he would put a call in to Great Plains Communications. 

Pool Board: Pool Manager and Lifeguard hiring: Sandy Heesacker, Pool Board member, was present. The Pool Board would like clarification regarding whom does the actual hiring, and how involved the Pool Board needs and/or is expected to be in the hiring process. The closing date for Pool Manager applications was March 9, 2020. The Clerk informed Sandy that the Pool Managers applications can be handed over to the Pool Board for their review and recommendation. Mayor McKay agreed to the Pool Board reviewing the applications, and then suggested the Pool Board members sit down with him to make the final decision. According to the by-laws, the Mayor is to make the final decision, although the terminology is somewhat vague. The Mayor, Council members and City employees do receive numerous complaints throughout the Pool Season and the Council would like to see those complaints alleviated to the best of our ability through means of communication with the public, better defined policies and procedures while operating the Swimming Pool, protocol for thunderstorms, and contact information from parents.

Public Concerns: Gary Drabbels approached the Council about the Alley behind the Senior Center and Drabbels Mortuary has two manholes that are sticking up and could possibly pose a problem for vehicle traffic through that Alley. Gary is concerned about vehicle damage. Mayor McKay stated the Alley repair is on the agenda for this Summer, since due to the wet weather we had last year, the City employees were unable to keep the dirt packed in those problem areas.  

Marvin Blundell mentioned that he attended a Housing Authority meeting and there was a concern expressed about spraying for mosquitoes this year. Mayor McKay replied that the Council previously approved for the City to purchase a mosquito sprayer for this Season and the City is researching options. 

Luke Marcy inquired about the progress of removing farming equipment, tractor trailers, trucks, and other non-aircraft equipment from the Airport and/or Airport hangar premises. Mayor McKay informed the Council that he spoke with the individual in question and he did remove a portion of the non-aircraft equipment. Mayor McKay noted that he will call the individual again on the matter. 

Reports of Officers, Boards and Committees:

Street/Water/Clerk: Lists were submitted by employees. Mayor McKay inquired about Street Sweeper repairs. He also asked about how the City Lagoons were fairing through the Winter.

Krystyn Turman – Pioneer Manor: No report.

Jim Varvel – Finance: No report. 

Keith Kearns – SWANN: Meeting Thursday, March 19th, 2020. There was much discussion about Concrete Crushing options out at the City Dump. The Council requested this be an agenda item for further discussion at next month’s Regular Council Meeting. 

Luke Marcy – Lister-Sage: No report. 

Richard McKay – Mayor: Submitted written report. Informed the Council that he responded to an animal control incident in the absence of the City’s Animal Control Officer. The Council requested this be an agenda item for further discussion at next month’s Regular Council Meeting. 


PADD Update: Varvel updated the Council on the bathroom/concession stand remodel project progress. The City did receive a $25,000 check in matching funds. Varvel inquired if the Council would be on board to move forward with seeking bids. The Council agreed. Marcy expressed concerns about contributions from the City considering our current financial condition with completing other projects, loans, etcetera. Varvel reassured the Council that fundraising efforts have been successful. There was discussion about expected time frame for project completion. 

Water Loss Report: 34% this month – 37% previous – 40% last year.

211 North 2nd Street “bat house”: Tabled. 

Developing Salary Schedule: Kearns put together a chart for the Council to review comprised of: years of employment, licenses, certifications, cost of living variables, seasonal employees, and so forth. Kearns recommended the City consider implementing probationary periods for new employees. He also suggested looking further down the wage scale in accordance with work experience for any new employees. Blundell brought up wages for seasonal employees who work for the City more than one year. Marcy advised increasing the wages for each year of experience to possibly bring more interested applicants to the table. There was much discussion centered around minimum wage, wages in accordance to job responsibility, current City employees’ wages being brought up to where other municipalities’ employees of comparison are, wages reflecting fulfillment of job descriptions as well as performance evaluations, many of the pros and cons to individual methods of employee evaluations, implementing wage caps, acknowledgment that an employee may get to a certain point at which they have reached the maximum learning curve, and incentives for continuing education and/or certification for employees. Varvel suggested a 20-year layout for the Proposed City of Hay Springs Salary Schedule. Kearns replied he would make that update to the chart and include job descriptions at next month’s Regular Council Meeting. 

Pivot Land Lease Agreement: Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, briefed the Council that he has been in contact with Brant Buettner and Brant is interested in leasing the Pivot Land again this year. There was discussion concerning condition of the soil on the Pivot land, crops and any foreseen expenses. Based upon the Pivot land’s 33 acres and needed water per year, alfalfa takes the most water between rain and allowed irrigation. Due to the potential for groundwater contamination between nitrates and chemicals needed to yield maximum crop, Aaron reiterated productive stands of alfalfa or grass is recommended. Blundell inquired about the Monitoring Wells, and Aaron explained they are sampled twice a year. 

Kearns made motion to authorize Mayor McKay to sign the Pivot Land Lease Agreement between the City of Hay Springs and Brant Buettner. Blundell seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 


Approval of Claims: Marcy made motion, Varvel seconded to approve claims. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Black Hills Energy $1,772.44; Blue Cross Blue Shield $2,440.83; Bomgaars $1,040.16; Century Business Product $35; Cummins Central Power, LLC $493.73; EMC Insurance Companies $3,137.68; Great Plains Communications $622.19; gWorks $122.78; Hay Springs Lumber $2,373.07; Hip Hop $337.50; Ideal Linen Supply $46.54; Kayley Taylor $258.49; MARC $1,135.32; MCI $66.98; NE Public Health Environment Labs $15; Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services $40; Nebraska Public Power District $3,104.21; Nebraska Total Office $1,560.09; Northwest Rural Public Power District $102; One Call Concepts, Inc. $2.04; Petty Cash $198.09; Pioneer Research Corporation $380.61; Rick Roberts $240; Sackers $228.91; Sandberg Implement, Inc. $2,161.55; Sargent Drilling Company $675; Security First Bank $3,287.38; Sheridan County Journal Star $138.74; Skeeter’s Napa Auto Parts $345.21; Smith, King, Simmons and Conn $247; Sturdevant’s Auto Parts $32.46; Sun Life Financial $489.88; SWANN $7,513.11; Utility Service Co., Inc. $800.62; WestCo $343.93; AFLAC $278.42; American Funds Service Company $798.71; EFTPS $2,450.84; Kayley Taylor $225.05; NE Department of Revenue $1,252.42; Postmaster $399.30

Approval of February Treasurer’s Report: Varvel made motion, Marcy seconded to approve February Treasurer’s Report. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Hay Springs City Hall furnace cost estimate: There was discussion concerning needed furnace repairs. The City received a cost estimate from Fire & Ice Mechanical for Rheem Furnace and Ductwork Installation. Marcy made motion to approve the cost estimate from Fire & Ice Mechanical for $2,775.00. Kearns seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.  

Hay Springs City Hall software program options: Mayor McKay spoke with QuickBooks and a couple of other companies for software program options. The Council expressed their concerns with considering QuickBooks. There was much discussion. The Clerk informed the Council that she had been in communication with a gWorks representative in regards to the errors being experienced since gWorks installed their SimpleCity Accounting system, as well as the amount of time it takes for a Support Request to be answered. The Clerk would like to continue working with gWorks over the next couple of months to see if these errors can be resolved and the length of response time shortened. The Council agreed to have the Clerk report back in a couple of months on the progress.

City Loader repair: George Christensen, Street Supervisor, and Aaron Taylor updated the Council on the current condition of the City Loader as well as needed repairs. There is money budgeted for equipment repair in the Street Department. There was some discussion. The City employees were seeking Council permission to have the City Loader repaired before doing so. The Council gave their permission. 

Pivot Pump House repairs: Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, presented the Council with cost estimates from Dustin White Irrigation. The single-phase motor is causing problems, mainly due to the capacitors burning out. The pump motor was put in in 1996 and the original motor-run capacitors are obsolete. Aaron discussed each cost estimate as well as the repair options with the Council. Three-phase options, sprinkler heads, cost of labor and maintenance, longevity of repairs, motor and capacitor performance, and pressure/flow of influent were discussed.  

Kearns made motion to approve the Cost Estimate from Dustin White Irrigation for $5,824.43. Marcy seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Executive Session: Varvel made motion to go into Executive Session at 8:50 p.m. to discuss personnel matters and protect the reputations of those involved. Kearns seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Varvel made motion to exit Executive Session at 8:55 p.m. Kearns seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

There being no further business, Kearns made motion, Marcy seconded to adjourn at 8:56 p.m. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Richard E. McKay, Mayor

Kayley Taylor, City Clerk/Treasurer

Published: March 25, 2020