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Council Discusses Lodgepole Creek Maintenance and Proposed Wastewater Treatment Changes

Street and Police Departments Receive Approval for New Vehicles

SIDNEY--The Sidney City Council met on Tuesday, November 14, and discussed reports, proposed Title 117 changes and approved the purchase of vehicles for the Sidney Police Department and the Sidney Street Department. Mayor Brad Sherman, and council members Brock Buckner, Brandon Bondegard, and Burke Radcliff were in attendance, along with City Manager David Scott, City Attorney J. Leef and City Clerk Lori Borchert. Councilman Paul Strommen was not in attendance.

The meeting started with City Manager David Scott discussing details of continued loan payments of SRF Loan C317945 and continuing costs of the JESWA project that improved areas of Lodgepole Creek near SRMC. After the JESWA project was completed, the Sidney Watershed Coalition was formed in August of 2022 to manage flooding and drought issues in the area. Funded by an existing 1/2 cent city sales tax, the revenues are shared with the South Platte Natural Resources District in an 80/20 split. Scott noted that routine maintenance costs of the area, like spreading gravel or field maintenance, could be funded up to $6,000 out of the sales tax revenues, but expenditures over that amount would need to be approved by the City Council. The council members approved an amendment to continue to fund minor maintenance fees unanimously.

The council then heard from Street Department Supervisor Hank Radtke concerning the purchase of a 2024 Ford pickup truck, paid through the equipment reserve, which was budgeted to $50,000. The truck is able to be purchased for $48,000 and the estimated delivery time is between two and three months, but could be longer due to effects from the recent strike. There were no local bids as there are no local Ford Dealerships, and the seller was selected using State of Nebraska guidelines. The vehicle replaces a 2002 Chevrolet 3/4 ton pickup, that will be sold at auction. The council approved of the purchase 4-to-0. Next, Sidney Police Chief Joe Aiken spoke to the council concerning the purchase of two Ford pickup trucks for police use. The prices are $48,890 per truck, but with the Police package and other upgrades, the cost comes out to $61,554 per truck for a total cost of $123,088 for both. The delivery time is four to six weeks from time of order, but Chief Aiken also noted that two vehicles ordered in 2022 are still in Omaha waiting on hard-to-get electronic parts to be installed. He said the earlier we get on the list of orders, the faster we can receive the vehicles. The council members approved the purchase 4-to-0.

David Scott again addressed the council, this time about proposed changes in Title 117, which governs wastewater release into waterways in Nebraska under the Environmental Quality Council. They are seeking to apply a Recreational Designation to the area of Lodgepole Creek in Sidney. However, Scott said that the designation should not apply since the water level in Lodgepole Creek is far too shallow, with most of the creek's water subsurface, to be used for recreational activities as defined by the EQC. He also noted it is an unfunded mandate, meaning Sidney would have to pay for the costs of implementing these changes with their own funds. Also, there has been no proper study performed prior to the EQC trying to implement this change. The proposed change affects 12 wastewater facilities in Nebraska, and the particular issue Scott addressed would affect Sidney and Kimball. Both facilities would have to add chlorination and UV treatments to the water which would cost anywhere between $300,000 to $1,000,000 per year. Scott noted that Sidney's own surveys conflict with the state surveys, which have obvious errors such as having the entry and exit locations of Lodgepole Creek incorrectly noted in their survey. Scott said that a letter of opposition to the proposed change in Title 117 had been drafted, and Mike Palmer, City of Sidney Electric Superintendent and Todd Sukup, City of Sidney Wastewater Superintendent were to address the EQC in opposition to the change. Scott was not asking for any action of the council members other than supporting the opposition to the proposed change. Scott noted one positive in the situation is that Sidney's wastewater permit renewal is not until 2028, so if the proposed change does happen, Sidney would have a few years to figure out a way to allocate funds for the expense. Kimball, however, does not have that much time before their permit renewal.

City of Sidney Finance Director Kegan Carwin gave his first budget presentation, noting that overall taxes and fees were about the same as last year, and revenues of the departments were similar to last year's, and in some cases a little better. The council approved the budget report 4-to-0. The Council then went into closed session for about ten minutes, discussing an issue involving possible litigation. After they reconvened for the public, David Scott delivered the City Manager's report, starting with the sale of 812 13th Street. The building has been inspected, and title work is being completed. There were a few repairs that needed to be done, paid for by UST Global, former leaseholder. Scott said the property should be ready for closing by December 1. Scott also noted the Holiday in Hickory event on December 2 will last between five and seven p.m., with the parade happening at 6 p.m. The route this year will be on Jackson Street in the downtown area rather than Illinois Street. There will be a road closure at 5 p.m with the road closed on 10th Avenue between Illinois and Jackson Streets. Pedlar's Corner will have S'Mores and a Santa Photo Booth, SRMC will be offering Hot Chocolate, the Sidney Public Library will be offering ornament kits, and 21st Century John Deere will have Hay Rides from Hickory Square to the museum. The Fox Theater will be hosting a free concert after the festivities at Hickory Square with country-Christian artist Justin Todd Herod. If a business or individual would like to have a float in the parade, please contact Kristine Radtke at 308-254-4441.

Other events mentioned included a matinee screening of The Grinch on December 3 at the Fox Theater. The first 150 children in attendance will receive a Snack Pack. The Sidney Public Library will be hosting an open house on December 13. Shop Cheyenne County Days are between November 18 and December 9. The Cheyenne County Holiday Hop is also underway, with participating businesses decorating the windows or inside of their stores or facilities. Shoppers and visitors will be able to vote on their favorite displays on December 2, with the winner announced December 4. For more details, visit the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce website.

Finally, Mayor Brad Sherman noted that he was contacted by an 8th Grader out of Georgia for a class assignment. The student were to pick a city or area anywhere in the world and learn as much as they could about their selection. The student that had contacted Mayor Sherman said that he just closed his eyes and put his finger on the map, and it was on Sidney, Nebraska. Mayor Sherman said that he has been corresponding with the student and is sending him a package with brochures and information about Sidney. "Perhaps in a few years will have a new Sidney resident from Georgia," Sherman said. The City of Sidney had scheduled a Strategic Planning meeting for noon on November 16, but a quorum of council members could not be present. The meeting will be rescheduled at a future City Council meeting. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for November 28 at 5:30 p.m.


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