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By A. Marie Hamilton
Sidney SunTelegraph 

Mayor declares May 2 Sun-Telegraph Community Newspaper Week

Council celebrates Vice Mayor retirement, appoints new council member

 

A. Marie Hamilton, Sidney Sun-Telegraph

Brock M. Buckner, Sr. was sworn in as the newest City Council member at the June 27, 2023 Board meeting.

by A. Marie Hamilton, Sidney Sun-Telegraph

SIDNEY – The City of Sidney declared the week of May 2 'Sidney Community Newspaper Week for the Sun-Telegraph', celebrated the retirement of Vice Mayor Roger Gallaway and appointed Brock M. Buckner Sr., as his replacement.

During its second regularly scheduled meeting on June 27, the City of Sidney made a proclamation, as written in its entirely in a separate Sun-Telegraph story this edition, declaring the week of May 2 as 'Sidney Community Newspaper Week for the Sun-Telegraph.'


Sidney Mayor Brad Sherman read the proclamation, which detailed the Sun-Telegraph's 150 years of history. Sherman added, "We are very lucky to have a newspaper dedicated to our community and I for one am appreciative of our community newspaper."

The paper is celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year and on May 2 the newspaper celebrated its 23rd year as the Sidney Sun-Telegraph.

Sherman presented the Sun-Telegraph with the official proclamation during the meeting as others chimed in about the positive direction the newspaper has been moving in.

At the end of the meeting, Sherman, newly-appointed Vice Mayor Paul Strommen, Council Members Brandon Bondegard, Burke Radcliffe and newly-appointed Council Member Buckner gave a heartfelt send off to Gallaway. Sidney City Clerk Lori Borchert, Sidney City Manager David Scott and Sidney Attorney J. Leef helped council members present Gallaway with an aerial image of Sidney, with their signatures and an inscription which read, "We will keep the lights on."


In response, through misty eyes and a crackling voice, Gallaway responded to the out pouring of support and love by saying, "First – I want to thank my fellow council members and tell others to get involved in the local community by joining a board."

Adding, "Also, thank you to the Sun-Telegraph for all the work you do to inform our citizens about what's going on here in the city, the county and other organizations around our county."

Gallaway further said, as he tried to hold back tears, "I'm very passionate about our community – this community – and I'm going to miss it. And this community needs highly passionate people to continue to move Sidney forward and ensure we have a future."


Each department present at the meeting thanked Gallaway for his several decades of service to the community in each of his capacities as a teacher, mayor, vice mayor, city council member, coach and community member.

Sherman told council members he had five applicants apply for the vacant position but narrowed the search down to one individual who stood out, above the rest due to his "spirit of service." Sherman went on to describe the candidate as an individual from Crete, Illinois, who was a U.S. Army Veteran, a retired corrections officer, former high school coach and currently a railroad worker. It's because of his distinguished history of service that Sherman felt he was the best candidate to be appointed to the council as he presented Brock Buckner Sr. to replace Gallaway on city council.


"We've been welcomed and I appreciate the honor," Buckner said to his fellow council members and those in attendance. "We hope to continue to be an asset to this community."

Taking a nod to Gallaway, Buckner thanked him for his service to the community and said, "You were a great ambassador for Sidney."

The city council concurred and unanimously approved the appointment of Buckner on city council.


Sherman explained he called the other four candidates to inform them of his decision as he promised them to do so.

During the meeting, council members heard from City of Sidney Parks Department Superintendent Tom Von Seggern. who informed council members the Sidney Parks Department will conduct initial mosquito spraying starting Sunday evening on July 16, weather permitting.

Von Seggern also stated the spraying would continue each Sunday evening starting at approximately 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. through the end of September.

The treatment for mosquitos includes larvacide and adulticide spraying and Von Seggern said any residents allergic to, sensitive to or unable to have their property sprayed need to call the city at 308-254-5300 and ask for their property to be added to the do not spray list. However, due to the various viruses and illnesses mosquitos bring, Von Seggern strongly advises that only residents who have extreme reactions, allergies or sensitives should request to be added to the no spray list.


Von Seggern further explained the city will begin spraying around sundown each night, when mosquitos are most active to get the most out of the spraying. One virus the city is particularly concerned about is West Nile Virus (WNV) and is using the Ultra Low Volume (ULV) spraying at it's smallest amount which will cover the entire area of Sidney.


Sidney Golf Operations Director Lance Juelfs advised city council members the deal with Birner Real Estate is just about ready to be presented to council to officially adopt it into the city as an acquisition.

Tom Birner approached Juelfs last year after the Oktoberfest tournament and wanted to donate some land to the golf course for a new tee box. After a few visits with Birner and seeing where he wanted to pu a new Tee Box on Hole 2, "it was clear in my mind that it would be an enhancing improvement to our beautiful golf course," Juelfs explained to council members.

The exchange is to ensure the surrounding area behind Hole 1 became grass again. Other improvements includes putting in three new sprinkler heads surrounding Hold 1 and planted grass. Later this fall, the golf course will be planting wildflower seeds along the property line to enhance the visual effect of Hole 1.


In accordance with the USGA and Professional Golfers Association of America, it is recommended the golf course makes at least one small change to the course every three to five years. The acquisition and changes meet the requirements to enhance the Hillside Golf Course as regulated according to Juelfs.

"It will eliminate a safety hazard that we currently have with the forward Tee Box on Hold 2 being in the 'firing' zone for golfers teeing off on Hold 1," Juelfs explained. "Golfers are always asking: 'What's the most impactful way to improve a golf course?'"

Juelfs said the answer is simple – start a golf course enhancement project – adding this Tee Box adds that challenging aspect to the course and visually enhances one of the more beautiful areas of the course.

Juelfs also explained the financial implications, which is built into the golf course budget.

City Manager David Scott presented council members with two updates, the first regarded the agreement between the City of Sidney and Cheyenne County Communications Center for dispatch services.

Scott explained, "The City of Sidney, Cheyenne County and Deuel County share a portion of the costs of operating the county dispatch center per contractual agreement."

Adding, "That agreement has a clause that every two years we revisit the breakdown of what percentage each entity pays."

Scott explained the Communications Center Authority Board met on June 9 and recommended Deuel County portion be increased by 4%, making Deuel County's share 10%, which effectively increased Cheyenne County's share from 32.9% to 35% and reducing the City of Sidney's share from 61.08% to 55% – of which Scott said would save the city in the long run.

Scott further explained the inter-local agreement was revised and was approved by all three entities, Cheyenne County, Deuel County and the City of Sidney for a two year period.

"The City of Sidney's portion of the financial commitment will decrease by 6.08%," Scott explained to council members. "We do have some additional costs of switching the dispatch service for our transportation department but that should be covered by state and federal reimbursement."

The second item Scott presented to city council concerned the ambulatory inter-local government agreement between Morrill County Community Hospital (MCCH), Cheyenne County and City of Sidney.

"In April of 2023, Regional West advised Cheyenne County they were terminating their ambulance service agreement with Cheyenne County and the City of Sidney," Scott explained. "The county commissioners put out a bid for these services and opened two bids at the June 5, 2023 County Commissioners meeting."

Of which, Scott reminded council members the county received two bids – one bid, of which, Scott said the commissioners said was not an appropriate solution for the county.

On June 13, City Council members agreed to move forward with an inter-local agreement with MCCH, Cheyenne County and the City of Sidney to assist MCCH by loaning them the funds to purchase the two ambulances from Regional West. A previous Sun-Telegraph detailed the arrangements of this deal; the county and city are each buying one ambulance at $100,000, which MCCH will pay back over five years. MCCH will be responsible for purchasing the roughly $40,000 in equipment needed to a seamless transition, which took place on July 1.

Scott's recommendation was to approve the county and city inter-local governmental agreement with Cheyenne County, City of Sidney and MCCH.

Sidney City Council unanimously agreed to enter into the agreement and to purchase one of the two ambulances as a loan to MCCH.

Other updates from the city council meeting will be highlighted in a future Sun-Telegraph story, including an update from Veteran Services Director Jeff Klare, who is also donating to the Sidney Public Library to purchase four laptops it desperately needs. The library also briefly updated about its summer reading program.

Sidney Police Department Chief Joe Aikens briefly updated council members about an event the department is hosting on August 12, which proceeds will go to A Night of Hope; more information regarding that will also be in a future story.

The next regularly scheduled city council meeting is scheduled for July 11, starting at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. For more information visit http://www.cityofsidney.org.

 

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