The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Beautification Contractor Hired

Special Meeting With RDG Scheduled for June 24


Early this year, the Sidney City Council learned they had an unexpected budget surplus nearing three-quarters of a million dollars.

The fund, however, is not completely free money. The Cabela's Occupation Tax — one-half cent collected per dollar spent — was collected for “trail projects and beautification projects located within or adjacent to a dedicated Enhanced Employment Area,” according to the memorandum submitted by Economic Development Director Melissa Norgard in the June 8 meeting of the Sidney City Council.

The city council met for a work session on March 24 to discuss the $740,000 Occupation Tax funds.The east end of the designated area is near the 17J link. In the March meeting, the council discussed options for the fund; where can it be used and for what projects. In the June 8 meeting, the council approved an agreement with RDG Planning & Design to provide planning and landscape architectural design services for use of the fund. For a fee of $30,000, RDG will provide conceptual design services for the Old Post Road Corridor Enhancement Project. Conversation in the March meeting included expanding the trail system, adding benches along the trail, and beautification projects such as landscaping.

The Occupation Tax dates back to 2008 when Cabela's starting charging the one-half cent at its Sidney retail center. The tax was designed to fund the continued development of the bike and pedestrian trails and other public infrastructure projects within the “enhanced employment area.” A map of the area defines the enhanced employment area as generally from the17J Link west to 11th Avenue, including Glover Road. A pedestrian/bicycle path currently exists from the stop light at Old Post Road and 11th Avenue east through the Cabela's/Bass Pro complex to the street on the south side of Applebee's restaurant.

A special city council meeting will be held 9 a.m. June 24 in the Council Room at City Hall for a discussion with RDG Planning & Design representatives.

In other business, the council approved three liquor licenses verifying managers at each business. Jason Scow was approved as manager of Winners at 674 Chase Blvd., Pate Keane for Beans & Steams Coffee House, and Lisa Cleason as manager of Smoker Friendly. The next step is for the city council to make recommendations to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commissions.

The council also approved first reading of Ordinance 1824, addressing penalties for pet owners who do not take care of animal waste. The ordinance identifies what defines a pet owner and the pet owner's responsibility. The amended ordinance identifies the pet owner's responsibility in written form for a pet's waste. “Any person having the custody or control of any dog or domestic animal, when walking the dog on property not owned by the individual, shall have the responsibility for cleaning up any feces of the animal and disposing of such feces in a garbage receptacle,” the ordinance reads. It also states it is the duty of a person in control of an animal to possess “suitable equipment or materials for the picking up, removal and sanitary disposal of animal feces.”

Additionally, the owner of a dog or domestic animal has the responsibility to clean up feces of the animal on his property frequently enough so as not to cause odor beyond the lot line of the owner's property.


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