By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

City Council Debates Road Maintenance Plan


March 30, 2018

The Sidney City Council spent part of Tuesday’s meeting debating how to improve and maintain the city’s streets in a cost-effective manner.

The City submits a one-year and a six-year plan to the State of Nebraska each year. The plan outlines scheduled street work for that period of time, and how it will be funded. Failing to submit the plans can result in the State suspending distribution of highway user revenue until the plan is submitted. If no plan is filed after six months, the money in the escrow account shall be lost to the municipality, according to the State Statute 39-2115 as presented before Council Tuesday.

“We’ve never had one (report) rejected,” said Hank Radtke, street superintendent.

The reports effectively define pending work and future projects. The one-year plan includes more work on Highway 30/Illinois Street including street lights and striping.The six-year plan includes work on 13th Street from Illinois Street to the Burlington Northern Railroad crossing south.Cost of the work is estimated at about $3.8 million. Work is also planned for Elm Street from 13th Street to 17th Street. According to discussion Tuesday night, several streets in Sidney need work. Radtke said the State told communities to be realistic when prioritizing work projects.

“To keep doing what we’re doing gets us what we got,” City Manager Ed Sadler said.

The question that couldn’t be clearly answered is how to find the funding to do all that is needed.

“We’re having enough issues as it is,” Sadler said.

He said the City is anticipating more cuts in the city budget due to decreases in sales tax revenue.

“Is there some place we can spend $2 million better than 13th Street?” councilman Wendall Gaston asked.

Sadler said at some point, the City will be better off to apply a slurry seal instead of the labor-intensive chip seal. He added 13th Street is one of the priorities because that is what council members wanted, referring to prior election commitments.

Sadler and Radtke said asphalt and concrete cost almost the same, estimated at $140,000 per city block. Sadler added the city’s drainage issue is also important.

The council also approved the 2018 Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP). The plan defines how the City would respond in specific emergencies and who is the first in line to manage an incident. Sadler said municipalities have the discretion to choose who is the incident commander. He prefers the incident commander to be a fire or police chief, and he as city manager would manage the logistics. He added that if a plan is not submitted to the Federal Emergency Management administration (FEMA), the city may not receive funding following a disaster.


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