Minutes for Hay Springs City Council Meeting May 11, 2021

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 Keith Kearns, Luke Marcy, Marvin Blundell and Brant Buettner were present. Attorney Jamian Simmons was present. It was noted that the Open Meetings Act is posted.

Minutes Approval: Kearns made motion, Marcy seconded to approve the Minutes from April 13th, 2021 Regular Council Meeting. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Agenda Approval: Marcy made motion, Buettner seconded to approve the agenda for May 11th, 2021 Regular Council Meeting. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Sherrie Elwood: SDL for Legion Stag on June 19th, 2021: Marcy made motion to approve the SDL for Legion Stag on June 19th, 2021. Kearns seconded. Kearns, Marcy and Buettner voted aye. Blundell voted nay. Motion carried.

Dave Agnes: Liquor License for opening new business: Dave Agnes was present to inform the Council that he recently purchased Mac’s Restaurant and is seeking to re-open the business, in a restaurant and bar format. Attorney Jamian Simmons advised that the City Council cannot approve a liquor license for the business until the State of Nebraska sends the City paperwork confirming receipt of application. Then the City has 45 days to either make a recommendation of approval or a recommendation of disapproval. 

Extension Office: Garden Plot for 4-H: Marie Nelson, 4-H Extension Assistant, was present. Sheridan County was given a Growing Together Grant to put in a community garden, her proposal was to put a garden in each town. She is seeking approval from the City Council for a spot either behind the South City Shop in Sunset Park or at an alternate location. The food grown is donated to the SNAP Program, so that produce goes to the Nursing Home residents or the Public School Lunch Program in Hay Springs. It is all volunteer work in the garden. Buettner preferred to keep the community garden out of Sunset Park. He suggested the alternate location be at the empty lot beside the North City Shop. Marcy inquired about the option of raised bed versus tilled in garden. Marie replied their Budget only allows for a tilled in garden this year, but she can look into the option of raised beds in the future. Marcy agreed the empty lot beside the North City Shop would be preferable this year. There will be signage and notices posted. 

Medical Clinic Lease: Marcy made motion to approve the signed lease received from the Chadron Medical Clinic. Kearns seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Public Concerns: Buettner expressed a concern needing to be addressed about the Baseball Field Lights. Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, replied the quote the City was given previously was roughly $125,000-$130,000 to overhaul the Baseball Field Lighting system. Buettner noted that lights should have been affixed to the pole replacing the downed one, previous to said pole being put up. Aaron agreed but the City employees were instructed to get the pole put up regardless. Kearns suggested contacting the School to see if they have lights leftover from their recent replacement. Find out if they are compatible. 

Reports of Officers, Boards and Committees:

Street/Water/Clerk: Lists were submitted by employees, no questions from the Council.  

Krystyn Turman – Pioneer Manor: Krystyn was present and handed out a Profit & Loss Report for the Council to review. Currently short staffed but hopeful Summer Help will cover shifts. Buettner inquired about the reason behind staff quitting. Krystyn replied there were some difficult changes during COVID.

Brant Buettner – Finance: Clerk is working on Bank Cash Report discrepancies, everything else is fine.

Keith Kearns – SWANN: Meeting last month, no changes to rates this year. Alliance tire amnesty. 

Luke Marcy – Lister-Sage: Meeting last night. Discussed cleanliness of School, damaged weight equipment, floor renovation. 

Richard McKay – Mayor: Submitted written report for the Council to review. 

OLD BUSINESS

PADD Update: Buettner reported it is their goal to have the Bathroom/Concession Stand project completed by Friendly Festival. The Council requested Mayor McKay contact PADD to see if a representative would be willing to attend a future Council Meeting for updates. 

Water Loss Report: 15% this month – 25% previous – 32% last year.

Unattended camper at Sunset RV Park: The camper was removed by a local friend. City Attorney Jamian Simmons sent a lease agreement with a designated time frame for past due payment. Since the lease was not signed and the camper removed, the Council inquired of the options for receiving said payment. Marcy commented this situation is somewhat of a double-edged sword in terms of expenses for holding on to the camper versus allowing its departure. The owner has communicated via email her intentions to pay past due RV Park rent when she is allowed to return to the Country. City Attorney Jamian Simmons advised that the City does have the option to get a judgement against the owner, knowing the property is still located within the County. Jamian did notate that the past due rent owed in comparison to the legal expenses incurred through this process might not be justifiable, but that is for the Council to decide. Mayor McKay suggested the City wait to see if the owner produces payment. Buettner countered with the point that the camper itself is worth more than the past due rent owed, so if the City retained the camper for either sale as payment or as an incentive for the owner to pay sooner rather than later, the City might be justified in incurring the legal costs to pursue this process. There was further discussion. City Attorney Jamian Simmons was instructed by the Council to move forward with getting a judgement. 

Employee vacation use and policy: Kearns noted that the verbiage used resulting in questions and discussions at the previous month’s council meeting was the focus of the draft he created for the Council to review. Kearns suggestion was an employee would have to be employed for a full year before they could use any vacation pay, but once that full year was completed the employee could use any vacation accrued up to that time. And a one-year balance could remain as being carried over. In addition, if any employee is unable to use excess accrued vacation past what is allowed to be carried over from year to year, they are able to approach the Council for approval of an extension. City Attorney Jamian Simmons corrected the verbiage for a more appropriate “up to” on the extension section. The City’s SimpleCity Accounting system is set up based upon the calendar year, not the employee’s anniversary date. Kearns made motion to approve the proposed changes to 3.11 and 3.12 of Section 3: Benefits. Buettner seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Ordinance No. 21-02 amending City Ordinance 3-308 (dog at large): 3rd Reading and approval: Kearns read Ordinance No. 21-02 in its entirety:

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF HAY SPRINGS, NEBRASKA AMENDING HAY SPRINGS CITY ORDINANCE SEC. 3-308 TO CREATE AN CRIMINAL OFFENSE OF “DOG AT LARGE” AND TO ESTABLISH A FINE.

BE IT HEREBY ORDAINED BY THE MAYOR AND THE CITY COUNCIL OF HAY SPRINGS, NEBRASKA:

Section 1. Article 3, Section 3-308, RUNNING AT LARGE shall hereby be amended to reflect the following:

Section 3-308: RUNNING AT LARGE

A. “Running at large” shall mean a dog found off the premises of the owner and not under control of the owner or a responsible person by leash, cord, chain, wire, rope, cage or other suitable means of physical restraint. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to suffer or permit such dog to run at large within said city. A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine of $100.00; and/or

B. Every dog found to be running at large in violation hereof is declared to be a public nuisance and may be picked up and impounded by the animal control officer or any other law enforcement officer. The owner of any dog impounded pursuant to this section shall be responsible for payment of an impoundment fee and daily board fee, which shall be prerequisites to the release of such animal from the impoundment facility. Such fees are to be established by Resolution as provided for in Ordinance 3-321.

Section 2. This ordinance shall become law upon its passage and publication or posting as provided by law.

PASSED AND APPROVED AND ORDERED PUBLISHED this 11th day of May, 2021.

Kearns made motion to approve Ordinance No. 21-02. Blundell seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.

NEW BUSINESSES

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

Arnold Pool Company $4,440.50; Black Hills Energy $1,045.88; Blue Cross Blue Shield $2,718.02; Bluffs Sanitary Supply $1,467.13; Bomgaars $458.33; Buettner Construction $1,480; Century Business Product $35; Core & Main $1,331.25; EMC Insurance Companies $3,509.93; Gardner, Loutzenhiser & Ryan, P.C. $5,804.49; Great Plains Communications $567.97; Hay Springs Lumber $542.18; Hip Hop $324.75; Ideal Linen Supply $48.40; Jeff Quinn $375; Kayley Taylor $249.02; Lawson Products $344.89; MCI $69.56; NE Public Health Environment Labs $15; Nebraska Public Power District $2,930.44; Nebraska Total Office $821.23; Northwest Rural Public Power District $120.48; One Call Concepts, Inc. $3.70; Petty Cash $134.91; Pioneer Research Corporation $345.06; Reed Enterprises $225; Rushville Service Center $1,458.37; Sackers $72.65; Security First Bank $3,287.38; Security First Insurance $110; Sheridan County Journal Star $217.67; Skeeter’s Napa Auto Parts $397.40; Sun Life Financial $486.30; SWANN $7,521.05; Utility Service Co., Inc. $800.62; WestCo $999.03; AFLAC $278.42; American Funds Service Company $735.80; EFTPS $2,581.56; NE Department of Revenue $1,117.62; Postmaster $163.

Payroll: 4/3/21-4/16/21 $3,526.12; 4/17/21-4/30/21 $5,157.63

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

Approve hiring of Donna McKay for Summer Help: Mayor McKay inquired of George Christensen, Street Supervisor, and Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, how things are looking in terms of keeping up with mowing and maintenance this Summer. Aaron replied things look fine, once the three Summer Help kids are out of School they should be able to pick up the pace with mowing leaving more available time for Aaron and George to get caught up with any maintenance projects. Blundell inquired about the Cemetery upkeep. Aaron replied the Cemetery is 2/3 mowed as of today and he will be applying weed and feed next week. The City employees understand the public concerns but would ask the public to also realize the Cemetery Well was out of operation all last Summer and thus the City was unable to water either sides of the Cemetery since the Well is the only water source available to the Cemetery out there. Unfortunately, it took several months for a new Well to arrive and be installed, which led to less-than-ideal conditions during a dry Summer. Also, each year the Cemetery is often left until the Summer Help kids are out of school and can begin work full time so as not to conflict with their extracurricular activities. Once again, last year was different since the kids were schooling from home and able to work earlier, focusing on the Cemetery prior to this time. Buettner requested the Cemetery be taken care of before Memorial Day, to which Aaron replied the City has always done so. Blundell inquired what the plan for the New Addition is. Aaron replied the City will mow as needed. There was discussion regarding options for grass being planted. 

Mayor McKay expressed his concern stemmed from having someone available to fill in out at the Cemetery in case everyone else found themselves busy with mowing and maintenance in town. That was the reasoning behind his approach for bringing Donna McKay on board. Kearns clarified that this would be more of an “on-call” position instead of a regular part-time Summer Help position. Buettner advised that this “on-call” position would be at Aaron and George’s discretion. Marcy agreed, stating there has to be some semblance of separation. Mayor McKay understands the reasoning but also noted he does not want to receive further phone call complaints when mowing and maintenance are slack out at the Cemetery. Buettner advised those who call to complain attend a City Council Meeting to voice their complaints and the Council will take action from that standpoint. The City does offer written complaint forms for those whom cannot attend a Council Meeting in person but wish for their complaints to be addressed. City Attorney Jamian Simmons agreed this is a wonderful solution. 

Marcy made motion to approve Donna McKay as an “on-call” part-time Summer Help employee, at the wage of $9.00 per hour, to be called upon at the discretion of City employees other than familial relation. Buettner seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.  

Defining “potentially dangerous dog”: City Attorney Jamian Simmons stated the City has a reference to a potentially dangerous dog, so that if a dog has previously been deemed a potentially dangerous dog, and it repeats the offense, it can be named a dangerous dog and be subject to the heightened scrutiny. The issue is, the current Ordinance Book does not have a definition of what a potentially dangerous dog is or how that is established. The City’s previous Ordinance Book did contain a definition for a potentially dangerous dog, so Jamian drafted a proposed ordinance for the Council to review and approve at next month’s council meeting. There was discussion. 

Swimming Pool policies: Mayor McKay will speak with the Pool Board to draft a policy for the 2021 Pool Season. 

Sunset RV Park bathhouse and Sunset Park bathrooms draft policies: City Attorney Jamian Simmons drafted policies for both the RV Park bathhouse and Sunset Park bathrooms for the Council to review. Marcy suggested instating a Security Deposit, more so a Cleaning Deposit, amount of $50.00. Aaron Taylor, Water Operator, inquired about Concession Stand use. The Council agreed the Concession Stands will only be utilized for Sporting Events, or otherwise approved events. This policy and Cleaning Deposit is in relation to the usage of the bathrooms, to be opened only at designated events, between the City and established parties. 

Sunset RV Park rate for veterans: Blundell made motion to approve the Medal of Honor travelers be allowed to stay at the Sunset RV Park for free. Buettner seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Kearns made motion to approve a 10% discount for those Veterans staying at the Sunset RV Park who can verify their status with documentation. Buettner seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. 

Executive Session: none.

Items for next meeting were discussed. 

There being no further business, Kearns made motion, Buettner seconded to adjourn at 8:34 p.m. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Richard E. McKay, Mayor

Kayley Taylor, City Clerk/Treasurer

Published: June 9, 2021