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Minutes for Hay Springs City Council Meeting June 9, 2020

REGULAR MEETING

Call to Order: Mayor Richard McKay called the Regular Meeting of the Hay Springs City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Council persons Jim Varvel, Keith Kearns, Luke Marcy and Marvin Blundell were present. Attorney Jamian Simmons was present. It was noted that the Open Meetings Act is posted.

Minutes Approval: Varvel made motion, Blundell seconded to approve the Minutes from May 12th, 2020 Regular Council Meeting. Varvel, Kearns and Blundell voted aye. Marcy abstained. Motion carried. 

Agenda Approval: Kearns made motion, Marcy seconded to approve the agenda for June 9th, 2020 Regular Council Meeting. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Public Concerns: Jim Varvel updated the Council in regards to a power pole at the Baseball Fields that blew down in the wind during the storm on Saturday, June 6th, 2020. It was understood that Northwest Rural Public Power District would be willing to put the power pole back up if the City is willing to buy the pole. Approximate cost indicated for the power pole was $90,0 but unsure of the cost of replacing the power pole lights. Electrical issues were discussed. Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, agreed to speak with a Northwest Rural Public Power employee to confirm above stated costs and understanding. The Council agreed not to put an insurance Claim in on the power pole at this time. 

Reports of Officers, Boards and Committees:

Street/Water/Clerk: Lists were submitted by employees, no questions from the Council. Aaron updated the Council about the currently non-operational Cemetery Well, repairs are scheduled for next week. 

Krystyn Turman – Pioneer Manor: Krystyn was present and handed out a Profit & Loss Report to the Council for review. No potential re-open date for visitors at this time. Still non-communal dining. Discussed implementing the three phases for opening the facility back up. New COVID-19 testing requirements for residents and staffing. The Nursing Home has received roughly $250,000 in stimulus money over the past month. City Attorney Jamian Simmons provided advice for a question about bids. 

Jim Varvel – Finance: No report, Clerk Taylor is having issues with gWorks’ implementation of their SimpleCity Accounting System. 

Keith Kearns – SWANN: No report. Next meeting will be June 18th, 2020. 

Luke Marcy – Lister-Sage: No meeting. 

Richard McKay – Mayor: Attended conference calls. Checked in with City employees. 

OLD BUSINESS

PADD Update: CDBG Alley Project should be completed this month. Sunset Park bathroom/concession stand remodel is still in the works, although the time frame for completion has been altered due to the current pandemic. Roughly $22,000 is still needed to match the second part of the Grant. Kearns suggested looking into further grants that may have become available to the City. 

Water Loss Report: 35% this month – 34% last report – 31% last year.   

Developing Salary Schedule: There was much discussion about Seasonal Help, minimum wage adjustments, extended proposed salary schedule to 30 years, job descriptions and how to implement a more refined detailing for each individual department. Economic concerns were voiced and already had been taken into consideration. Kearns stated he would like to see the Proposed City of Hay Springs Salary Schedule he put together used more as a guidance tool. Marcy would like to see employee evaluations and performance evaluations incorporated into the salary schedule. In comparison to the surrounding areas and municipalities with similar population size, the City of Hay Springs tends to be on the low side with wages. 

Swimming Pool: open or closed this Summer?: Pool Manager, Mattie Johnson, and a couple former Lifeguards have been working on small Pool maintenance tasks. Krystyn Turman, Pioneer Manor Nursing Home Administrator, informed the Council that as of right now, current Nursing Home employees cannot work at both the Swimming Pool and the Nursing Home. A good portion of last year’s Lifeguards are currently working at the Nursing Home, thus presenting the City with a staffing shortage in regards to the possibility of opening the Swimming Pool in the future. Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, updated the Council on the League of Nebraska Municipalities conference call held Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 for a briefing on “best practices” for opening municipal swimming pools. New Lifeguards will not be licensed this year; however, Lifeguards from last year can file for a 90-day extension and the State will honor their old licenses. Red Cross is not certifying anyone for CPR yet, and it is unknown when that will take place. Full capacity is not allowed, the understanding is 25% of maximum occupancy or not over 500 people, whichever is the lesser amount. The 6-feet social distancing rules are still applicable for all in and out of the Pool activities; the facility has to be cleaned every 90-minutes; 4 people are required to be on staff at all time – 2 Lifeguards rotating, one going through the facility cleaning behind each individual, and one in the office screening the incoming occupants for temperature and symptoms. These are not guidelines; these are now considered misdemeanors if violated. Clerk Kayley Taylor has been corresponding via email with City Attorney Jamian Simmons to keep as current as possible on the updated DHM concerning Swimming Pools. The Council inquired about how many total Lifeguard applications the City received this year: 10. And how many of those Lifeguards are new without an existing license from last year: 3. And how many of the existing Lifeguards from last year are currently working at the Nursing Home, thus cannot work at the Swimming Pool if opened: 5. The Assistant Pool Manager has also resigned her position. This leaves the City with 2 available Lifeguards to operate the Swimming Pool this Summer, meeting all requirements. Clerk Kayley Taylor made it clear to the Council that without sufficient staffing, as pointed out above, the Swimming Pool cannot operate. Aaron did inform the Council that the State is re-evaluating their position on the opening of Swimming Pools every two weeks. Mayor McKay also added that painting and general maintenance on the Swimming Pool will take an additional 2-3 weeks before an opening is plausible. The Council was split on the direction the City should head regarding opening or closing the Swimming Pool. Kearns made motion to table this agenda item until the July 14th, 2020 Regular Council Meeting. Blundell seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

City Hall: when to re-open?: Kearns recommended limiting the number of residents coming in to the office, encouraging appointments if physically being present in the office is necessary, and the office must be sanitized after each individual. There was much discussion regarding how the Clerk will limit the number of individuals coming in at any given time. Advice was given by the Council to generally screen those individuals coming in, to sanitize after each individual, to continue encouraging people to use the drop box instead of coming into the office, locking the doors at certain times of the day to allow time for cleaning and sanitizing as necessary, post notices on City Hall front door, politely remind residents that we are following social distancing guidelines and although the office is open to the public we strongly recommend limited contact at all times, encourage the public to continue communication via phone calls or notes in the drop box or email, pet licensing will continue via the drop box and mailing, and so forth. City Attorney Jamian Simmons advised that the City needs to consider re-opening since most other business and government offices are re-opening at this point. The City is a public office, and therefore must allow access to the public in some form, although the City is also allowed to impose some restrictions on said access. Mayor McKay made a plexi-glass barrier for the front office counter. Marcy recommended locking City Hall front door if the ‘one person at a time’ rule becomes an issue, thus requesting the public knocks to gain entrance if necessary. There was more discussion regarding an appropriate opening date in conjunction with restrictions and guidelines for the City being eligible for reimbursements for PPE and other COVID-19 related expenses. Kearns made motion to re-open Hay Springs City Hall on Monday, June 15th, 2020. Varvel seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Sale of Real Estate Lot 35, Block 2 OT Hay Springs, Sheridan County, Nebraska: opening of sealed bids: Only one bid was received. Darren Drabbels for $777.77 on Lot 35, Block 2 OT. Kearns made motion to accept the bid from Darren Drabbels in the amount of $777.77 on Lot 35, Block 2 OT. All voted aye. Motion carried. City Attorney Jamian Simmons advised Darren, whom was present, that there are several steps following the acceptance of above stated bid and she would be sending the necessary paperwork to him in the following weeks. 

Hanks Well Letter: No update from the Engineers to date. City Attorney Jamian Simmons did submit a drafted letter for the Council and Engineers to review. Jamian cautioned the Council that if the City puts the Hanks Well into service, and there is a subsequent problem where someone gets sick, this letter serves to highlight that the City is aware of potentially elevated arsenic levels that could be used as evidence against the City. However, if the letter is not submitted, then the Well cannot be used. The City must weigh the liability this letter carries. A forthcoming public hearing gives the community the opportunity to voice any concerns, comments, or oppositions to eventually connecting the Hanks Well to the City’s existing distribution system. Jamian stated that as long as the City is following regulations regarding water sampling, other required testing, and effectively checking the Well’s production within the distribution system, the City is most likely going to be fine overall. There are very slim chances of any of this becoming an issue in the future, however awareness is important in taking the steps to move forward. Aaron provided further information for the Council about the arsenic levels currently in the Wells already in production, compared to the arsenic levels tested at the Hanks Well. Council would like better clarification from the Engineers at this point. 

NEW BUSINESSES

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

Baker & Associates, Inc. $1,100; Black Hills Energy $727.85; Blue Cross Blue Shield $2,440.83; Bomgaars $1,899.82; Century Business Product $35; Chadron Ace Hardware $129.42; EMC Insurance Companies $3,136.83; Farmer’s Coop $254.03; Fuller Construction, Inc. $2,475; Great Plains Communications $619.17; Hay Springs Lumber $329.33; Hip Hop $211.50; M.C. Schaff & Associates, Inc. $7,404; MCI $51.22; NE Public Health Environment Labs $452; NDEQ – Fiscal Services $8,939.68; Nebraska Public Power District $2,990.97; Nebraska Safety and Fire Equipment $295; Nebraska Total Office $214.54; Northwest Pipe Fittings, Inc. $639.87; Northwest Rural Public Power District $493.68; One Call Concepts, Inc. $13; Panhandle Area Development District $8,000; Panhandle Drilling, Inc. $31.57; Petty Cash $146.18; Pioneer Research Corporation $380.61; Sackers $266.71; Security First Bank $3,287.38; Sheridan County Journal Star $20.62; Skeeter’s Napa Auto Parts $191.05; Smith, King, Simmons and Conn $330; Sun Life Financial $489.88; SWANN $7,127.93; Utility Service Co., Inc. $800.62; Ward Laboratories, Inc. $53; WestCo $341.28; AFLAC $278.42; American Funds Service Company $701.76; EFTPS $2,462.62; Julie Rasmussen $256.58; NE Department of Revenue $1,107.48; Postmaster $160.

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

EMC Dividend Check: The City of Hay Springs once again received a Municipality Safety Program dividend check in the amount of $7,619.93 from Employers Mutual Casualty Company. The Council advised that the funds should be allocated to the City’s General Fund for maintenance and repairs. 

Hay Springs Public Schools – parking lot, street, alley, property removal, building permit: City Attorney Jamian Simmons updated the City of Hay Springs application for a building permit, in accordance with the City’s current Ordinance Book. The Ordinance states if a building permit applicant is demolishing or removing existing property, a $1,000 bond is required to be paid to the City in case any damage is sustained to City property. Jamian did speak with Mr. Lechtenberg, Hay Springs Public Schools Superintendent, in regards to the requirements of the building permit application coinciding with discussion at previous month’s Regular Council Meeting. The City does not require anything further from the School before they can remove previous discussed property, outside of a completed building permit and the $1,000 bond payment. Jamian did inform the Council that if the School does not complete removal of said property within 6 months, the City then gets to keep the otherwise refundable bond payment. Clerk Kayley Taylor asked for clarification regarding whether the City deposits the bond payment or holds the payment until project completion. Varvel advised to hold the bond payment. City Attorney Jamian Simmons did notate the issue with holding bond payments is the longer the payment is held, the greater the likelihood the funds will be insufficient should the City have reason to deposit said funds in the future. Jamian also advised that if the City anticipates more demolition or property removal projects coming to fruition, the City might want to consider setting up a separate Fund Account solely for the purpose of building permit bond payments to ensure funds are always sufficient upon payment receipt. There was discussion regarding differences between land owners and contractors in terms of building permit applicants and subsequent bond payments. Payment options were also discussed. As well as liabilities attached for each option. Marcy requested that Jamian Simmons include building permit bond payments be issued to the City via certified funds. Council unanimously agreed to that inclusion.     

Hay Springs Cemetery fence replacement: The individuals that donated the original Cemetery property to the City of Hay Springs contacted Mayor McKay last month and requested that the outlying Cemetery fence be replaced. Mayor McKay estimated the total cost of fence replacement would be $2,500 - $3,000. The individuals making said request would like to see 4-wire barbed wire fencing installed. Currently, a woven wire with two bards is in place. Marcy posed two questions: What side of the fence is the wire on? Theirs. Who is paying for the fence removal? Mayor McKay replied he is unsure. Marcy stated if the fence is on said individuals’ side, he is unsure why the request is being made to the City for fence replacement cost share since the City does not necessarily need the fence. Marcy continued: What does the City have in the Cemetery that we need a fence to keep in the Cemetery? Technically, nothing. And what is on the opposing ground that they need to keep out of the Cemetery? Cows. Marcy then made the point: Why is it then the City’s responsibility to keep said cows out of the Cemetery, when the City has nothing we are trying to prevent escaping out of the Cemetery? Mayor McKay responded the City is trying to protect City property. Cows, however, have not posed much of a problem in the Cemetery in the past. The City is not benefiting from providing new fence and materials for replacement, outside of aesthetic improvements. 

WNED Land Bank Development: There was much discussion. City Attorney Jamian Simmons advised the Council that legally, right now, the City cannot make a decision since this Bill has not been passed. 

Consideration Resolution #20-7 regarding use of municipal baseball fields, consider Licensing Agreement and Participant’s Agreement/waiver: Varvel informed the Council that Hay Springs Baseball Association is going to have three teams this year and would like the use of facilities on City property. Varvel did provide the Hay Springs Baseball Association with the waiver that will be distributed and signed by parents upon initial registration. 

Kearns read Resolution #20-7 in its entirety:

CITY OF HAY SPRINGS, NEBRASKA

RESOLUTION #20-7

COVID-19: Resolution of the City of Hay Springs Regarding Use of Municipal Property for Sports or Other recreational Activities

A Resolution of the City of Hay Springs, Nebraska, Regarding the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 Through the Use of Municipal Property for Sports or Recreational Activities.

Recitals

WHEREAS, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization, is extremely contagious, and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact;

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the Governor of the State of Nebraska declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19 within the entire State of Nebraska, and this state of emergency remains in effect;

WHEREAS, directed health measures are in effect for every County in the State of Nebraska through May 31, 2020, and are likely to be extended by the Governor in some form for most or all Counties after May 31, 2020;

WHEREAS, on May 21, 2020, the Governor announced that the directed health measure prohibiting all organized team sports, youth and adult, would be relaxed by the State of Nebraska beginning June 1, 2020, in order to permit the planned reopening of certain adult and/or youth team sports;

WHEREAS, a copy of the June 1st Statewide Sports Reopening Guidelines is attached to this Resolution and incorporated herein as part of these Recitals;

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that future guidance from the State of Nebraska will permit additional team sports and other recreational activities;

WHEREAS, players, coaches, officials, and others who participate in such games, practices, or other recreational activities, and spectators who attend such activities risk the dangers of illness, disease, medical complications, injury or death, caused by or related to COVID-19, by voluntarily entering the municipal property and/or facilities on which such activities take place, by watching such activities, and by participating or authorizing the participation of a minor, in such games, practices, or other recreational activities; and

WHEREAS, it is the intent of the City of Hay Springs to permit the resumption of adult and/or youth team sports and other recreational activities on municipal property and/or facilities, in accordance with the directed health measures and other laws and guidance issued by the State of Nebraska, including, but not limited to, the June 1st Statewide Sports Reopening Guidelines and such further laws and guidance that may be issued in the future, provided that every individual, organization, or group sponsoring such activities, and all participants and spectators, fully assume the health risks associated with these activities, including the inherent risk now present in any such activities as a result of the presence of COVID-19 in the State of Nebraska, and provided that participants in such activities sign an agreement that releases the City of Hay Springs, its elected and appointed officials and employees, and all other participants in adult and/or youth team sports or other recreational activities from liability associated with exposure to COVID-19 in the course of such activities. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City of Hay Springs that any individual, organization or group sponsoring adult and/or youth team sports or other recreational activities that wishes to use the playing or practice fields, courts, grounds, and/or other facilities of the City of Hay Springs for games, practices, or other recreational activities will be required to enter into the COVID-19: License and Management Agreement for Use of Municipal Property for Sports or Other Recreational Activities attached hereto. These License Agreements will be maintained by the Municipal Clerk and shall constitute an addendum to any other contract, license agreement, lease, or agreement allowing the use of the municipal property and/or facilities of City of Hay Springs by the same individual, organization, or group. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, in order to enter the playing or practice fields, courts, grounds, and/or other facilities of the City of Hay Springs to participate in games, practices, or other recreational activities, all players, coaches, officials and other participants must sign the agreement titled COVID-19: Participants Agreement for Sports or Other Recreational Activities in substantially the same form as attached hereto. Each team wishing to participate  on or use the municipal property and/or facilities of the City of Hay Springs must provide copies of signed Agreements for all participants affiliated with the team, together with a roster containing a complete list of the names of all players, coaches, officials, and others affiliated with the team. Copies of these documents must be provided to and shall be maintained by the Municipal Clerk. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, for the avoidance of doubts as to the risk assumed by participants and spectators, in order to encourage compliance with directed health measures and guidelines, and in order to promote public safety, the applicable provisions of the June 1st Statewide Sports Reopening Guidelines, shall be posted on all practice and playing fields, courts, grounds, and/or other facilities where adult and/or youth practices and/or games or other recreational activities occur. If the June 1st Statewide Sports Reopening Guidelines, are subsequently modified or updated, the applicable provisions of the modified or updated guidelines shall be posted in the same manner. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all participants and spectators shall comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations, all directed health measures and guidelines, and all security policies or procedures established by the City of Hay Springs relating to COVID-19 or other safety or hygiene precautions while present on municipal property and/or facilities, understanding that the City of Hay Springs may elect to deny entrance to its playing or practice fields, courts, grounds, and/or other facilities to any non-complying participant or spectator, or to require a non-complying participant or spectator to leave the premises at any time. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that officials and employees of the City of Hay Springs are authorized to execute the directives set forth in this Resolution. 

RESOLVED this 9th day of June, 2020. 

Kearns made motion to approve Resolution #20-7. Varvel seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

There was discussion. 

M.C. Schaff & Associates: Contractor’s Application for Payment #4 and Engineering Invoice: Varvel advised that the City of Hay Springs does not provide payment for the Contractor’s Application for Payment #4 until receipt of remaining CDBG funds from the State of Nebraska to ensure City accounts are not negatively impacted. Kearns made motion to approve payment of Contractor’s Application for Payment #4 upon receipt of remaining CDBG funds from the State and payment of Engineering Invoice. Marcy seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

State of Nebraska Initial Guidance For Local Government Requests for Reimbursement for COVID-19 Related Expenses: City Attorney Jamian Simmons informed the Council that this only applies if the City of Hay Springs has incurred exorbitant expenditures related to COVID-19. Examples include: PPE, cleaning and sanitizing supplies, temporary or emergency staffing, and so forth. At this time, the City has not incurred enough additional expenses to be applicable for reimbursement. 

Legion Hall – capacity restrictions, cleaning and sanitizing, open for public to rent?: The City of Hay Springs has recently received some inquiries concerning renting and utilizing the Legion Hall. City Attorney Jamian Simmons advised that the City implements a Licensing Agreement. Marcy recommended exploring the City’s current rental costs since new air conditioning has been added and furnace repairs have recently been done, as well as the general annual maintenance and upkeep. Blundell suggested increasing the cost of rent due to the increased expenses of required cleaning and sanitizing supplies to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. Council agreed. Jamian added that the safest route might be, once a renter was through cleaning and sanitizing the Legion Hall after an event, the City employees should clean and sanitize the facility a second time as well. There was discussion regarding ensuring consistency with cleaning. Varvel suggested including an additional $200 non-refundable sanitizing fee. 

Cravath Memorial Library: when to re-open? Summer Reading Program?: Clerk Kayley Taylor informed the Council that Julie Rasmussen, Librarian, intends to re-open Cravath Memorial Library on Tuesday, June 16th, 2020. She will be posting social distancing guidelines for the Library at the time of re-opening. Clerk Taylor did not have an update regarding the Summer Reading Program at this time. 

Executive Session:  Kearns made motion to go into Executive Session at 9:14 p.m. to protect the reputations of those involved. Varvel seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Kearns made motion to exit Executive Session at 9:20 p.m. Blundell seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

There being no further business, Kearns made motion, Marcy seconded to adjourn at 9:20 p.m. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Richard E. McKay, Mayor

Kayley Taylor, City Clerk/Treasurer

Published: June 24, 2020