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Thin Ice Dangers and Water Storage Maintenance Contract Discussed at Council Meeting

SIDNEY-The City of Sidney City Council met on Tuesday, January 23, with a full agenda. Councilman Brock Buckner was not present for this session. After approving the minutes of the previous meeting, the council was first addressed by Tom Von Seggern, Parks Department Superintendent, during the public comments designated time of the meeting.

Von Seggern said that the council needs to be aware that he and his staff have observed far too much activity on the ice of the pond at Legion Park, especially after closing hours. Although Sidney had gone through a cold spell, the temperature has been warming recently, causing the ice to be thin in many areas. Von Seggern said, "There's been far too much activity on the ice, especially after hours." Additionally, aerators under the water to improve and circulate oxygen flow, crate thin spots on the ice. Von Seggern wanted the council and the citizens of Sidney be aware that going out on the ice is prohibited, and with the recent warming trend, the ice should not be tread upon at all. The council thanked Von Seggern for this information.

Next up was a public hearing on Resolution 20240101, Adding a Catering License to the Sidney Elks Class C Liquor License. Cindy Bartling of the Elks Lodge addressed the council and said that adding the "K" designated catering license would enable the Elks Lodge to save money and provide less expensive food by not having to rely on outside catering services. The Elks kitchen is fully capable of serving food under the class K designation. All Council members were in agreement to grant the license, and it was approved 4-to-0. Bartling also noted that window replacement had begun on the Elks Lodge restoration project, and that the first window had been installed. She said that all 30 windows slated for replacement would be installed in two weeks, as long as the weather holds.

Lasandra Buckner and Michelle Haun next addressed the council requesting that Mayor Brad Sherman sign the "Keep Sidney Beautiful" pledge. As part of the pledge, the City of Sidney would be involved in three activities to promote the beautification of Sidney. The first activity would be "The Great Trash Race" on June 2. Participants would compete in picking up roadside trash throughout Sidney, and would be judged on the amount of trash picked up. The second would be a beautification activity, like Wall Art, to be determined at a later date. The third activity is a celebration of the beautification of the city, with a picnic or luncheon, again to be scheduled at a later date. Mayor Sherman agreed to the worthiness of the project and signed the pledge.

Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce President Toshia Jones gave a quarterly report on the Chamber's activities. She gave copies of the updated Newcomer's Welcome Packet to the council members. She also noted that the Chamber's website now lists available commercial properties, and tour dates for those interested have been arranged for March 5 and August 6. She also informed the council that a Chamber E-Commerce training seminar will be held at WNCC in Sidney on February 15, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Two more upcoming events are the Chamber Social Hour at Jimmy L's in Sidney on March 21 at 5 p.m., and the Ag Social on March 22, time and venue to be determined.

City Water and Sewer Supervisor Joe Talich next addressed the council about transferring the water storage maintenance contract from the current provider, USG Water, to McGuire Iron. Talich said that the level of service they have received from USG has not been satisfactory, with problems with communication and follow up. Talich believes McGuire Iron, based out of Sioux Falls, will offer a better level of service, and has a dedicated representative that spends the majority of his time in the panhandle area. Additionally, the city would save about $1800 per year on the contract. The contract covers inside and outside maintenance, and McGuire Iron already services the towns of Bridgeport, Chappell and Bayard, which all report great satisfaction with their service. The council approved the change 4-to-0.

Next, City Manager David Scott addressed the council concerning Ordinance 1858: Vacating Right of Way. Scott explained a portion of the "Big Red" property was vacated from public use, although after a search, no record of the order to vacate was found. Since Hickory Street, which border the property previously, does no longer run through the portion of the property, the city wished to vacate the Right of Way. Although still listed as a public street, the east side of the area and the alleyway have long since been vacated. The property is located between a wall and the railroad tracks. City Attorney Jaquelin Leef said the legal description of the property area iis based on a survey by UST Global, and the ordinance would vacate the right of way and keep the land in possession of the city. A different process is necessary to transfer the land to the new owner, WTA, which would be done at a later date. The motion to pass ordinance 1858 was approved 4-to-0 and the motion to publish ordinance 1858 was also approved 4-to-0.

City of Sidney Public Library Director Amanda Eastin then informed the council that the Bookmobile, which had been sidelined due to repairs, was now up and running and resuming its duties. She also noted that the library will be hosting a Social Media Safety Seminar soon as well as planning a n "Ask Me Anything" event on Reddit with Mayor Brad Sherman. Parks Department superintendent Tom Von Seggern said that the Parks Department is going forward with their effort to prune back tree branches in the alleyways of Sidney, and they are currently in the middle of town and moving south. he also told the council that the annual Tree Giveaway is scheduled for April 20.


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