CITY COUNCIL
Meeting Minutes

September 12, 2007

LOUISVILLE, NE


A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Louisville was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall. Present were Mayor Alan Mueller, Council Members Clete Petrzilka, Roger Behrns, Bob Derby and Steve Sherman. Also present were City Attorney Roger Johnson, City Supervisor Dan Henry and several guests. Mayor Mueller stated that the Open Meetings Act is posted at the rear of the room.

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 Mueller called the meeting to order and asked the Council to review the consent agenda. Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to approve the consent agenda with the exception of the Eriksen Construction claim for the water treatment facility. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Petrzilka moves, Behrns seconds to open the budget hearing at 7:02 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. Keith Witte questioned the increases in the tax request. Mayor Mueller stated it was a combination of all the department’s requests, including upgrading equipment, cost of living wage increases, water main isolation valve installations, overall increases in maintenance costs and general obligation water bond payments. The water treatment facility payments will be made with a combination of property tax and rates. This led to a lengthy discussion regarding water rates. It was clarified that residents outside the city limits pay 1 and ½ times the rates to make up for the difference that they don’t pay city property taxes and the council has discussed the possibility to make the rate even more to equal the increases in property taxes inside the city limits. Max Heard questioned the minimum service fees for water and sewer rates. Mayor Mueller stated that the water situation is a series of events starting with the quality of water that comes naturally in this area. The treatment of the water is the solution most feasible and the costs to build these plants have gone up as much as 30% annually over the last 5-6 years. Max said he believes that Louisville’s rates are the highest in the state. Dan presented a water rate study done by Nebraska Rural Water showing other towns with higher rates. Dave Hopp questioned if the sales tax that is in place now could be diverted to service the debt on the water treatment facility. That is an item on the agenda tonight. Dan spoke of the possibility of having a wholesale buyer, which would lessen the burden of the residents. It was clarified that the new system (wells and treatment) will have enough capacity for a wholesale buyer. Audience members also talked about the quality of the water. It was explained that the iron and manganese will be removed with the new treatment plant and will be online by June or July of 2008. Dan explained all of the Health and Human Services rules that have to be met. Dan stated that the current well being used violates several state regulations. Steve Meisinger asked about possible grant money from the state. It was explained that Louisville resident’s average income is too high to qualify. Mayor Mueller stated that another agenda item to be discussed later is a possible public forum to discuss water issues and rates and asked if the audience thought that would be receptive. Audience members agreed that that was a good idea. Progress of the water system to date was discussed. Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to close the public hearing on the budget at 8:05 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Petrzilka moves, Behrns seconds to introduce by title only and suspend the three required statutory reading of Ordinance #796, the annual appropriation bill. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to adopt and publish Ordinance #796 on third and final reading by title only. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Kari Wockenfuss gave an abbreviated report for the Louisville Care Community.

Petrzilka moves, Sheman seconds to open the public levy hearing at 8:12 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. Mayor Mueller noted that the valuation of the city has dropped with an overall reduction in commercial property valuations by a state TERC order which has an affect on the levy. Witte commented again on the increase. Derby moves, Behrns seconds to close the public levy hearing at 8:13 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Sherman moves, Derby seconds to approve the allowable 2½% restricted funds base increase. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. Behrns moves, Derby seconds to approve the additional 1% allowable restricted funds increase. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Derby moves, Petrzilka seconds to approve Resolution 07-06 to set the property tax request at $395,403.00 for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2007. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Petrzilka moves, Sherman seconds to temporarily adjourn as City Council and temporarily convene as Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) at 8:15 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Sherman moves, Derby seconds to open the public budget hearing on the CRA at 8:16 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. The city treasurer stated that there was no tax request for the CRA. No public comment was made. Behrns moves, Derby seconds to close the public hearing at 8:17 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to introduce by title only and suspend the three required statutory readings of Ordinance #797, the annual appropriation bill for the CRA. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. Derby moves, Sherman seconds to adopt and publish Ordinance #797 on the third and final reading by title only. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Behrns moves, Derby seconds to adjourn as CRA and reconvene as City Council at 8:19 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

A written sheriff’s report was circulated. There were no reports for fire, rescue or senior center. Mayor Mueller attended the library board meeting. There is a nest in the entryway that needs to be removed and the bronze signs need to be reinstalled.

Behrns moves, Derby seconds to introduce by title only and suspend the three required statutory readings of Ordinance #798; to establish wages and benefits for city employees and appointed officials. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to adopt by title only on the third and final reading, Ordinance #798. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

An update was given on the Cedar Creek Rescue Agreement. Cedar Creek had responded to the proposed agreement sent to them after the last meeting. They requested someone at their meeting on September 4 and Mayor Mueller attended. They have concerns about whether Cedar Creek falls under the Louisville Rural District. The clerk had spoken to Bill Cover and was told that once they established their own district, they became responsible to provide the service to their residents. It was also discussed that the residents of Cedar Creek do not pay rural fire district taxes. The council is waiting for Cedar Creek’s response.

A special election to establish a sales tax to be used for water debt service was discussed. Audience members still in attendance agreed that a public forum would be an excellent chance to find out the citizens’ reaction to this possibility. The possibility of reallocating the current 1% tax would still have to go to the vote of the people and it was clarified that the current sales tax has a sunset date in 2011. The first step is to pass a resolution requesting the special election and the wording on the ballot. The next deadline for the Department of Revenue is December 3, 2007 in order to start collecting the tax on April 1, 2008. Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to hold a town hall meeting within the next 45 days to discuss general water issues and a potential sales tax. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Council member Derby left the meeting momentarily.

Only one bid came in for the surplus 1991 ambulance from Bob Derby for $5,000.00. Mayor Mueller stated that the salesperson for the new ambulance had commented that the old squad was probably worth $4,500.00. The ambulance has been stripped of all useable equipment. Petrzilka moves, Sherman seconds to accept the bid of $5,000 from Bob Derby for the purchase of the surplus ambulance. Roll call vote: ayes - Petrzilka, Behrns, Sherman, absent – Derby. Motion carried.

Council member Derby returned to the meeting.

Bids were opened earlier for a resident vehicle for the Louisville Care Center. Those bids will be reviewed and acted upon at the next meeting.

Behrns moves, Derby seconds to approve pay application #2 from Eriksen Construction for the water treatment facility in the amount of $175,050.00. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Behrns moves, Derby seconds to approve the street closing request for Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally, September 28, 2007 from 2:30 to 3:30, 2nd Street from school to Main Street north to fire station. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Wayne Chriswisser suggested that the council consider a lesser rate for empty houses (such as rental property between tenants) or those that use under a certain amount of water. For example, his shop is on a different line with a separate meter. He has had the water turned off, but would pay a minimal amount just for the convenience of being able to use the water. Mayor Mueller said they would take that suggestion into consideration.

The clerk reported that she had received two calls in the last week about trees overhanging from neighbor’s yards. The city attorney said that a property owner has a right to trim the neighbor’s tree that is overhanging in their yard. It is not the city’s responsibility to enforce and suggested that the property owner call an attorney for advice. No action was taken.

Petrzilka moves, Derby seconds to adjourn the meeting at 9:07 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote.

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, 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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