By Rachael Huether
The Gordon City Council met at 6:00 p.m. on December 13. All members were present.
Mayor Nancy Russell noted the Open Meetings Laws posted in the back of the meeting room.
The minutes from the November 8 meeting were approved as presented, along with the October Treasurer’s Report. Also approved were the paid bills totaling $97,808.23 and the unpaid bills totaling $93,451.96.
Gordon Police Officer and School Resource Officer Jeff Brewer was presented with an award recognizing and thanking him for his 36 years of service to the Gordon Police Department. Brewer has the distinction of being the longest serving officer in the Gordon Police Department’s history. He will take over as Sheridan County Sheriff in January. Brewer stated, “It’s an incredible honor; I thank you very much. The department has changed in many ways since I started, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m hoping with this next venture in my life that we can bring our departments together and share more, do more, together. In a lot of ways it was always an ‘us and them’ kind of situation, and I think that’s going to change, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to working with all of you, and I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity for the years I spent on this department, its been a pleasure.”
Utility Superintendent Shane Pascale received the American Water Works Association award for backflow Specialist at the AWWA conference held in November. Pascale was recognized for his efforts and success in the Gordon backflow prevention program.
Deputy Clerk Glen Spaugh has been speaking with GRPS Superintendent Lori Liggett regarding the School Resource Officer contract. Officer Colin Hyatt will be replacing Officer Jeff Brewer as SRO. With Hyatt taking over, the costs to the school will go down due to lower wages and lower health insurance premiums. Spaugh informed the council that he and Liggett had discussed the possibility of splitting the health insurance costs 50/50 in the future, stating “Presently what happens is we pay for the weeks the officer works for us, and they (the school) pay for the weeks the officer works for them.” The contract will be left how it is for the remainder of the school year, and it will be revisited before the new contract year begins in August.
Rena Reizenstein requested extended liquor sale hours on December 31 and February 3, Super Bowl Sunday. The council approved the request for on and off sale liquor for New Year’s Eve, and approved on sale only for February 3.
Nancy Russell was re-elected as Mayor and Kelly Grant as Vice-Mayor.
The Highway 20 Law Enforcement Interlocal Agreement will expire December 31, 2018. The proposed agreement is the same as the current one, aside from one amendment, which would include and protect departments with K-9 officers.
An agreement from the Gordon Rural Fire Department was presented for the sale of the property north of the Fire Hall to the City of Gordon. At the November meeting, it was discussed to purchase the property by making installment payments, but that would add approximately $1,700 in interest to the purchase. City Attorney Jamian Simmons informed the council that the city cannot enter into a purchase contract where there is no interest being charged. Therefore, the council decided to move forward with the purchase of the property from the Gordon Rural Fire Department with a one-time payment of $16,652. The council decided to put this purchase agreement back on the agenda in March, when it would be a better time fiscally to make that purchase, and table it for now.
Earlier this fall, several citizens approached the city council in regards to the current ordinance pertaining to transient merchants and solicitors. Currently, the ordinance imposes a fee to transient merchants and solicitors, such as individuals who bring vegetables to sell, who do not grow their produce in Nebraska. One of the possible changes would be re-wording the ordinance to only impose a fee on persons outside of a 25 to 50 mile radius of Gordon. Glen Spaugh spoke with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, and was informed that there aren’t really any set state guidelines for transient merchants. After discussion, it was decided to leave the ordinance as is.
Every five years, the Gordon Airport Authority is required by the FAA and NDOT - Aeronautics Division to select an engineering firm for Capital Improvement Projects. A committee of five people narrowed down a list of eight potential engineering firms, including the current firm, Olsson & Associates out of Lincoln, Neb., to two firms for interviews. Olsson & Associates and KLJ out of Rapid City, S.D. were interviewed, and the committee unanimously selected KLJ. The staff at KLJ is comprised of past airport managers and airport operation managers, as well as engineers. The Airport Authority approved their recommendation unanimously at their December 8 meeting.
Information on the renewal of the city’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance for employees was reviewed. There was a decrease in premiums for 2019 of 3.4%, along with a deductible decrease from $1,500 to $1,000. In prior years, the city reimbursed employees for $500 of the $1,500 deductible, but Deputy Clerk Spaugh proposed a discontinuation of that since the deductibles were lowered. This would save the city approximately $3,000 annually. The council voted to renew the BCBS insurance and discontinue the $500 reimbursement for employee deductibles.
A maintenance agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation was presented, with the only change being an increase of payment per lane mile made to the City for maintenance. Street Superintendent and Interim City Manager Dan Bishop stated the increase is from $1,160 to $1,545 per lane mile, and the city gets paid for 3.86 lane miles for the travel lanes through town on Highways 20 and 27. With the increase, the city will see an additional $1,486 this year; last year, the city received about $4,477, and this year will receive $5,963 to do the same work.
There were four bids received for the replacement of the furnace and air conditioning unit at the Gordon Public Library. Bishop recommended that the city go with Metal Products out of Chadron, as their bid was the closest to the specifications required, and he has been very satisfied with their work on other projects for the city in the past. While the lowest bid was from Jack’s Refrigeration in Alliance, the bid did not conform to the specifications. The council voted to accept the bid from Metal Products.
The city currently provides Life Flight insurance from Air Link out of Scottsbluff and Air Methods out of Rapid City, S.D., for employees and volunteers. Both policies are due for renewal after the first of the year. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) contacted Deputy Clerk Spaugh. They provide coverage for both air and ground ambulance services, and cover the entire United States, along with other benefits. The cost for that insurance would be $160 annually to cover an entire household, whereas the current two insurances are $125 total annually ($55 for Air Link and $70 for Air Methods). Another benefit to MASA is they work with everyone, while Air Link and Air Methods both need to be purchased to cover effectively. The council asked Spaugh to reach out to MASA to obtain some more information and clarify a couple of areas, including cost for members with no health insurance. No action was taken on this item.
The following board members were appointed:
• Planning Commission (3-Yr Term) new appointment will expire Dec 2021 - Alyssa Dehart, Jonathan Johansen, and Lori Liggett
• Housing Authority (5-Yr Term) new appointment will expire Dec 2023 - Tim Bounous (Council Representative)
• Human Relations (3-Yr Term) new appt will expire Dec 2021 - Yolanda Hruby, Ted Baseggio, and Jason Hurd
• Board Of Adjustment (3-Yr Term) new appt will expire Dec 2021 - Joel Nelson
• Police Review Board (3-Yr Term) new appt will expire Dec 2021 - Marvin Bussinger and Harlen Wheeler
• Board Of Health (All Members One Yr Term) new appt will expire Dec 2019 - Nancy Russell (Mayor), Dan Bishop (Interim City Manager), Clay Heath (Chief of Police), Candy Allison (Citizen), Gordon Hospital Administrator and his/her designee
A SSAR Report (a highway budget and expenditure report) to the Nebraska Department of Transportation was approved. This report shows the expenses incurred and a breakdown of costs for things such as asphalt and concrete expenses.
The council went into executive session at 7:07 p.m. for the purposes of personnel issues related to the City Manager search and Police Department staffing.
The council reconvened in regular session at 8:10 p.m. No action was taken on police staffing. After some discussion on the City Manager search, the council offered the position to Deputy Clerk Glen Spaugh. Glen will give his contract to council for review for the January meeting to be approved or negotiated, with an expected start date of February 1, 2019. Look in the December 26, 2018, edition of the Sheridan County Journal Star for more information.
With no further business the council adjourned at 8:12 p.m. The next meeting will be held January 10, 2019.