Meeting Minutes

February 12, 2003


A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Louisville was held on Wednesday, February 12, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall. Present were Mayor Dan Henry, Council Members –Clete Petrzilka, Dave Pankonin, Joe Smisek and J. Alan Mueller. Also present were City Attorney Roger Johnson, JEO Representative Eric Obert and several guests. 

Notice of the regular meeting was given in advance thereof by publication in the Plattsmouth Journal and by posting in three (3) public places as shown by the certificate attached to these minutes. Notice was simultaneously given to all council members. Their acknowledgement of receipt of notice and the agenda is attached to these minutes. All proceedings thereafter were taken while the convened meeting was open to the public.

Mayor Henry called the meeting to order and asked the council to review the consent agenda. Pankonin moves, Petrzilka seconds to approve the consent agenda. Roll call vote: ayes – 4. Motion carried. 

Mueller moves, Smisek seconds to open the public hearing on the 1 – 6 year road and street plan for Louisville at 7:01 p.m. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. No public comment was made. Mayor Henry stated it was basically a wish list of what the city would like to see happen in the next 6 years. Some things stay on the plan for 60 years and some get off in 2. Basically, ideas and projections, nothing set in stone and just because it’s on there doesn’t mean it going to be done. Petrzilka moves, Pankonin seconds to close the public hearing on the 1 – 6 year road and street plan at 7:02. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

The next topic of discussion was the zoning issue in the one mile jurisdiction. There were several people in the audience present for this discussion and Denny Barnes represented them. He gave the council members a run down to catch them up to date. A couple of weeks ago, 8 families got notices in the mail from the county assessor for back taxes owed on land. The reason was the loss of greenbelt due to rezoning in 1997. This affects 850 acres, resulting in around $100,000 in extra taxes. In 1997 the village, at that time, had a comprehensive plan drawn up to determine future growth. At that time, the zoning was changed to Suburban Residential (RS) which caused the tax increase. It was believed that no one at the time understood the consequences of those actions. Denny said the landowners are just looking for answers from the city council. Mayor Henry stated that as of yet, the old zoning map has not been found. The city clerk has talked to the county assessor and they are going to look, she has also spoken to JEO who wrote the comp plan to see if they had the old map on file. It needs to be found to compare what was changed. Mayor Henry says some of what is RS now had to be RS then because of the housing already present at the time. Denny contends that those pieces of land that had already been developed aren’t affected because they became different tax lots at the time of development and had already lost their greenbelt status. Roger stated that ultimately to reverse the requirement to pay the back taxes for the greenbelt recapture and the zoning change, Ordinance 610 would have to be repealed, hence the need for the old map to go back to. It will change not just these properties that the audience is here for tonight, but anything else that was changed at the same time. So a comparison has to be done with the old map. It was clarified that if individual zoning changes have been done since the old map would not be affected. Anything separately rezoned by its own ordinance would not be affected. So Roger’s advice it to put the old map and the new map side by side to see what other properties were affected in order to make an informed decision. It was made clear that if the properties are rezoned now, that would not take away the back taxes due, it would only change the future. Mayor Henry visited with Veda, the county assessor, and she told Dan that if the ordinance is repealed, the back taxes are wiped out. There was concern of the interest due, which goes up March 16 to 14%. If the city repealed the ordinance anytime this year, the taxes would be void. If you never owed the principal, then you never owed the interest. It was also clarified that the one bill that had been paid would be reimbursed if the ordinance is repealed. Denny asked if there was any time line for the resolution of this issue. Roger stated that until he has the old map, he can’t really answer that question. There will be two more council meetings before their March 16 deadline, so hopefully the problem can be resolved by then. Mayor Henry said he feels bad that this has happened, and he’s not saying the old board was wrong, he just thinks it was a mistake. Denny’s interpretation of greenbelt is as long as it’s used for ag, it doesn’t matter what it’s zoned. Mayor Henry said other counties have had the same problems and tried to assess additional taxes and they found that they cannot do that as long as the use remains the same. Roger explained the reasons for comp plans and zoning for the future. If a city decides to zone an area industrial, then if a business comes in, they will go to that area because that’s what a city has in mind rather than go to another area and have to come in for a zoning change. The mayor and council assured the landowners that they are working on this as best they can and with all resources available. Kara Habrock had a few questions. She asked if anyone actually verified that is it really a zoning change that kicks you out of greenbelt. Mayor Henry said that with his conversation with Veda, she stated that under agricultural ground, when it gets rezoned, they first look at zoning then at use. Some other assessor in another county may have a different interpretation. That is a problem that needs to be addressed statewide. Mayor Henry assures the landowners that this situation is a learning experience and when the city does a new comp plan and zoning map, these same problems will be carefully assessed prior to the approval of such plan. Kara asked another question regarding the zoning changes and the response was there is no way to know without the original zoning map. Don Maxon asked about notification to landowners regarding zoning changes. Roger explained that when a whole comprehensive plan is done, the notification of publication is sufficient according to state statutes. Mayor Henry assured the audience again that the council is working to solve this situation in as timely a manner as possible. 

Alan Mueller and Dave Pankonin met today with a site development team from DED. Also present at that meeting were OPPD and Aquila representatives and Lowell Daisley from the county and Bruce Breitkreitz from Ash Grove. They had a two hour meeting and a tour of the city to discuss economic development. One of the first things mentioned is that Louisville doesn’t have an industrial site on it’s comp plan and that’s a problem. Roger agreed and said that was one of the reasons for the meeting was to get their ideas on a possible location and get a new comp plan and zone for industrial development. The area east of the cemetery was the property they would recommend. With the uncertainty of the exact location of the by-pass, other areas on the south side of Highway 66 were a concern. Ash Grove owns both of those properties and Bruce gave the indication that they would be agreeable to the possibility of development there. Courtney Dunbar from DED is going to get back to Alan next week with more information. At that point, the council will go to the planning commission with recommendations from DED. Another necessary step is to appoint committees as established in LB840. Dave stated that one of the things the DED likes to see is a community that is “shovel ready.” The window of opportunity for businesses looking for a place to build is 60 days. Having a piece of property ready, meaning already zoned industrial, utilities available, etc. could make or break the deal. Roger suggested that once sites are identified, the city needs to publish for bids for a new comp plan and a new zoning map which also will fit in with the greenbelt issue already discussed. It can incorporate those areas as industrial or commercial that DED helped identify. It will all mesh together. Mayor Henry asked Alan to update the council on his meeting with John Trecek, the city’s bond counsel regarding the purchase of land for economic development. Alan stated that LB840 allows the city to place an option on a piece of property to be developed. The city can exercise that right by purchasing a bond which can be repaid with a portion of the tax proceeds set up for that purpose. DED recommended a labor study and Lowell Daisley said he was going to try to put together a Cass County labor survey so the community wouldn’t have to do that individually. Mayor Henry reminded everyone to keep in mind the access of utilities. This meeting was the first step in a long process.

Smisek moves, Petrzilka seconds to approve Resolution 03-02, Louisville’s 1-6 Year Road & Street Plan. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

The next topic of discussion was the purchase of a backhoe. A quote was presented from Murphy Tractor for a John Deere backhoe. Mayor Henry asked Roger to explain again how the council can do this without publishing bids by using a state contract. Statute provides that if you purchase through the state’s bidding process, then you don’t have to separately bid it because they have already complied with the bidding requirements. This company has won the state bid and so long as you buy under that program, city bidding is not required. The quote is for a 310SG backhoe with extend-a-hoe, forks for the front, power shift transmission, plus other options for $70,944.00. A quote on the breaker for the back end, to break concrete and asphalt, was received for $8,900.00. They have financing for municipalities for 5 years at 4.1%. Mueller moves, Petrzilka seconds to accept the proposal from Murphy Tractor in the amount of $70,944 for the backhoe and $8,900 for the breaker with a 5 year purchase at 4.1% interest. Roll call vote; Pankonin – abstain, Mueller – aye, Petrzilka – aye, Smisek – aye. Motion carried. 

The subject of copper corrosion was discussed with JEO representative, Eric Obert. The plans have been submitted to the state and approval is pending. Time is running short with an April 30th deadline. Roger asked for an overall project cost. Eric thought around $15,000 to $16,000 total cost with individual contracts for equipment and electrical. To stay in compliance with the state, copper corrosion injections have to be started by April 30. And the state has complete faith in Eric Obert working on this project for Louisville. Eric showed the plans that were submitted to the state to those council members who hadn’t seen them yet. Instead of a separate building, everything will be inside the present pump houses. For the short term status of these wells, any extra expense was thought to be a waste. A liquid injection will be used which will be a lot safer. The plan also includes testing equipment. Petrzilka moves, Mueller seconds to accept the proposal for the copper corrosion control by JEO. Roll call vote; ayes – 4. Motion carried. 

The council had copies of the bid tabs and a recommendation letter from Eric for the east water main project. A total of 12 bids were received for this project, ranging in cost from $55,715 to $88,181. Kerns Excavating from Plattsmouth was the low bidder. Eric contacted the references given by Kerns. He was told Kerns could start on the project in approximately one month and the project would take 2 – 3 weeks depending on the weather. The contractual completion date is May 31, 2003. Pankonin moves, Petrzilka seconds to accept the proposal from Kerns Excavating in the amount of $55,715 for the east water main project. Roll call vote; ayes – 4. Motion carried. 

Eric spoke about a new water tower project. There are three issues involved. First, the old water tower is full of lead paint which would be very expensive to repaint, somewhere around $175,000. The second issue is water storage. The current tank holds 175,000 gallons. The third issue is the water pressure. One way to solve all three of those issues is to install a new water tower. A possibility is to put it at a higher elevation, which would help with pressure. When sizing towers you have to look at future growth. Eric would like to see 2 or 3 days of storage but not more than that. He thinks a 400,000 gallon tank would be sufficient for Louisville. Mayor Dan visited with Terry Meier from SENDD and was told the City of Louisville would be eligible for $250,000 CDBG for the whole scope of the water project. If we have to go with water treatment or a well field or whatever, $250,000 is the total possible to get from CDBG. Terry’s advice is to expend that right now on a tower since a tower is definitely a part of the long term solution to the city’s water problem. Terry will be at the next meeting to talk to the council about the financing of a tower. The city council would like Eric to start looking at designs and do some research. Dave was curious about the location Eric had in mind. Eric thought just south of the current location on the curve which would gain about 10 feet elevation. Maybe an exchange of property could be considered. Eric told the council that a project like this could take up to a year to complete. Eric was asked about the old water tower removal. He said some smaller towns buy old towers or it could just be scrapped. Total estimated cost according to Eric is $600,000. Petrzilka moved, Mueller seconds to have Eric do some preliminary evaluation of a new water tower. Roll call vote; ayes – 4. Motion carried. 

Bob Copple was in attendance to talk about the lease for the property where the Welcome to Louisville sign is located. Errol Meisinger contacted the BUILD Committee and asked if they would approach the city council for the consideration to buy the property the sign is sitting on. Errol is paying the taxes and paying the liability insurance. He asked if the city could buy the property with a stipulation that if he ever wants it back, he could purchase it back. Roger suggested increasing his lease payment to cover liability insurance and taxes. Bob will run that past Errol and see what he thinks. 

Appliance haul fees were then discussed. Heisner is hauling the appliances now and instead of the city employees hauling them to Glasshoff. Heisner is charging $6 per appliance. The clerk said the city office has gotten paid for 22 appliances and Heisner hauled 52. Roger suggested paying at city hall first and getting a receipt. Then a receipt must be presented at the maintenance yard before an appliance can be dropped off. Dan thought $10 is dirt cheap for getting rid of an appliance. If anyone takes a load to Springfield to the dump, it costs much more. Pankonin moves, Petrzilka seconds to raise the appliance drop fee to $10 to pay at city hall first. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. Petrzilka suggested putting something in the next newsletter to inform the residents of the increase and the new policy. 

A letter has been prepared to send William Krejci to terminate the building inspector contract. The letter was read by Roger stating that Louisville is terminating the contract effective the end of the day on March 14, 2003. This date exceeds the 30 days notice required by the contract. Petrzilka moves, Smisek seconds to terminate the contract with building inspector, Bill Krejci. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

A written report was presented from the sheriff’s department.

Levi Krause was present for the rescue department. He just wanted to update the council to their activities, enrollment and finances. There are 29 members on the fire and rescue combined, 14 are EMTs, and 6 additional are in class to become EMTs. This will be the highest ratio in the department provided they all complete and pass the class. Having so many should help, especially with daytime calls. Mayor Henry stopped Levi and had him inform the council how many hours it takes to become an EMT. Levi stated the class they are taking now is 150 hours. Plus, every three years, another 30 hours must be taken. It takes a lot of dedication to become certified. Levi stated they want to set up an airway management class. This process puts a tube down the trachea to assist breathing and CPR. The 6 taking class right now are getting this training, but Levi would like others to get it. The cost is around $500 and the supplies for the procedure are also around $500. Rescue has enough money in their fund to cover it. They are also in the process of getting the newer members hepatitis shots. Last year there were 104 squad transports and some no transport calls. Financially, the rescue department pretty much just breaks even. Mayor Henry asked how EMS billing was working out. Levi said it seems to be working, but as always, some just don’t pay. Strangers that get picked up at the lake or on the highway just flat disappear. It works out that about 50% pay. Whatever Medicare doesn’t pay, EMS billing writes off. The council thanked Levi and asked him to pass along the thanks to the other members for all their dedication to the community. Levi wanted the council to know about an upcoming fundraiser to help the department. They will be having fish fries on March 7th and April 11th. Pankonin asked Levi to explain the concept of alternating squads. Levi said when the department bought the squad from Gretna, it was in excellent shape and they didn’t want it to lose value so they alternate months. They use the even numbered squad in even months and vice versa. So each one has to be equipped the same, therefore, the expense of equipment is doubled. Also in the event of a major accident, two fully equipped squads are available. Randy reported that last year there were a total of 160 calls for fire and rescue. Dave put it in perspective when he said that averaged to a call every other day. Levi was thanked again for all his time and effort. 

Larry Wittrock had a written report for water/wastewater. There was one water shutoff for nonpayment. The system will be flushed really well before the copper corrosion injections take place. If there is anything in the pipes that can be taken out, that will be done first before anything else gets broken loose. It was estimated that 35% of Jack’s time will be taken up with the injections. All the equipment for the copper corrosion amounts to are scales and pumps. There will have to be 2 sets of pumps for each well, as replacements, on hand. Space will be cramped. There was a water main break between the wells and that was fixed. The tests at the sewer plant are coming back good. 

Randy reported for the maintenance department. The trees in the creek bank are still being cleared, along the 6th street bridge and north of 2nd street. There is a storm sewer that separated by the 6th street bridge. The piling is bent over pretty bad and needs attention. There is a utility cut around First and Walnut that Randy is watching and waiting for it to dry out to repair. There are actually several issues on Walnut Street that need attention and the concern there is high truck traffic during repairs. The maintenance men borrowed a chipper from the county to help with clearing the brush. The county was granted the chipper from the state with the stipulation that the county loan it out to small towns. That speeds up the time for clearing the brush. Randy will sweep Main Street in the morning and Joe asked if he could also do around the school before the soup supper this weekend. 

The library roof will be started in 6-8 weeks. No one was present from the Senior Center.

Clete attended the Care Center board last night and filled the council in on the activities there. The lighting is going to be completely revamped and that has been bid out and the work to start soon with a completion time of 2-3 weeks. They are starting to take bids on new windows. 

Alan reported on the MAC Committee. Their main goal is to get the community brochures out. 

Deb Cunningham was present for the JayCees. One of their members took measurements at the Senior Center basement and she will be at the next meeting to give cost estimates of what the JayCees would like to see done. She also wanted to ask about the council’s decision on the street dance during Louisville Daz. She assured the council that the orange fencing would be inside the curb, on the street, not on the sidewalk and also that the JayCees would have plenty of manpower to patrol the outside perimeter. Deb is expecting a very large crowd. Mueller moves, Pankonin seconds to allow the JayCees to have the street dance on Main Street with proper fencing and supervision. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

There was no report from the BUILD Committee. 

Petrzilka moves, Mueller seconds to enter executive session regarding personnel at 9:00 p.m. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. Petrezilka moves, Mueller seconds to adjourn from executive session at 9:50 p.m. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

Mueller moves, Petrzilka seconds to adjourn the regular council meeting at 9:51 p.m. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried.

I, the undersigned clerk, hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the proceedings had and done by the Mayor and City Council of Louisville to the best of my knowledge, that the agenda was kept continually current and available for public inspection; and the minutes were in written form and available for public inspection within 10 working days; the minutes are published in summary form, upon request a complete copy is available at City Hall.

Dee Arias
City Clerk 

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