Meeting Minutes

October 8, 2003


A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Louisville was held on Wednesday, October 8, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall. Present were Mayor Dave Pankonin, Council Members Alan Mueller, Clete Petrzilka, Joe Smisek and Steve Sherman. Also present were City Attorney Roger Johnson, City Supervisor Dan Henry 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 Pankonin called the meeting to order and asked the Council to review the consent agenda. Petrzilka moves, Sherman seconds to approve the consent agenda. Roll call vote: 4 ayes. Motion carried.

Mayor Pankonin acknowledged the local Boy Scout Troop. They were in attendance to earn merit badges by observing local government in action. The troop leader had asked Dave earlier for a city map which was presented to them. They were told to feel free to ask any questions, either now or later. 

The next item on the agenda was to hear research done by Roger concerning occupation tax for vendors at special events. Roger stated it’s not the occupation tax that actually applies, but rather city code ordinance 10-201; peddlers and hawkers regulations. Occupation taxes are for businesses that are within the city limits. 10-201 applies to persons who come into the city office before they sell anything and fill out an application. There is a $25 fee involved with the application process. There was concern that the boy scouts set up a booth during Louisville Daz, and should non-profit organizations doing a fundraiser have to pay the peddler and hawkers application fee? During a big event, there is extra work the city does and they need compensation for that work, such as street cleaning and trash removal and supervision. Sherman moves, Muellers seconds to direct Roger to prepare an ordinance that states local, non-profit organizations are exempt from the peddlers and hawkers regulations. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

The next agenda item concerns landlord utility policies. Dan presented an overview of the options available. Approximately 20% of the city’s services are rental properties which mean a higher turnover at those properties. The city employees have prepared a list of rental properties in town and are in the process of locating the curb stops and determining whether the city has the ability to turn off individual service. They are also determining what it would take to be able to turn off the individual service. When the information is complete, the landlords will be given their list so they can determine how they want to handle the property. There are some rental properties in town where there are multiple families and one curb stop, or one way of shutting the water off. When the city gets in the situation where one is paying and one isn’t, there’s no way to shut off the customer that is delinquent. Dan also mentioned a waiver could be signed by the landlord that assumes financial responsibility in case the renter leaves town with an outstanding bill. There are several things to consider according to Dan. The city could charge a connection fee or an account set-up fee instead of a deposit. Dan asked Dick Berner is he thought he would have trouble finding renters if the city charged a connection fee instead of a deposit they would get back. Dick seems to think that wouldn’t be a problem. Another option for landlords would be to put all the accounts in the landlord’s name and they assume responsibility. Dan says one of two things has to happen where there are multiple units. Either the landlord needs to put the account in their name or they need to provide plumbing which allows the city to shut off individual service at the curb or in a common area accessible to the city employees. The completed list will help the landlord determine which properties would be most cost effective to replumb. Dan asked Dick what would be a fair time frame to complete the necessary measures. Dick said 60 days would be sufficient. Another issue is partial payments of utility bills. The clerk was under the impression that partial payments were acceptable and the water couldn’t be shut off if the customer was making any attempt to pay. Mayor Pankonin said that might have been a policy at one time, but it was up the council to make that decision. Dan asked Roger if there was a state statute that states that if the user is paying on that bill they can’t be shut off. He is unaware of any such statute. Dan also explained the procedure for billing and how easy it is to get stuck for two months worth of bills. The bills go out the first of the month, they become delinquent after the 15th, and the customer is given an additional 10 business days to pay. By that time, the meters have been read again and the cycle starts over so for those users that are behind, the city is trying to collect for 60 days. Mayor Pankonin wanted to get the general consensus of the council’s feelings for connection fee versus deposits. The council agreed with connection fees and discussed amounts. They felt to limit the liability on the city, two months average bill would be reasonable. Roger explained that there would have to be two separate ordinances, one that addresses water rates which includes deposits/connection fees, raising reconnection fees, and partial payments; and one ordinance that addresses landlord policies. Dick still feels it would be better for him to go to the expense of replumbing his properties than to assume financial responsibility. There was some discussion regarding multiple units that have service charges for each unit and the fairness of that. It was determined that the service charges were based on USDA loan requirements. Mueller moves, Petrzilka seconds to direct Roger to prepare an ordinance that addresses the landlord issues including multiple meters in an area accessible by the city, completed within 60 days or the landlord becomes responsible for the utility bill and to table the decision until the next meeting. Ayes – 4, nays – none. Motion carried. 

The discussion moved to water rates at this point. In order to apply for federal and state grants for water projects, the service charges have to be raised to meets regulations. Also, the chemicals for the mandatory injections are costing more than anticipated. The council received proposals prepared by Dan and the clerk in their packets with water rates possibilities. Dan outlined the differences in the proposals. The first section deals with the service charge going from $14.25 to $16.00. This amount was suggested from a rate study done last year. It was felt at that time to raise the service charge in two steps and this would be the second step. For the retired people on fixed incomes, the water rate proposal would only raise their bills $3.00 - $5.00; this reflects the service charge increase and a rise in the per gallon rate. 95% of them use 3,000 gallons or less. Dan talked about tiered water rates; a higher rate over 10,000 gallons. This would cover the users that water their lawns, who are the ones that place a strain on the system. Another proposal has the commercial accounts paying higher rates than residential, but not tiered at a higher level. Businesses don’t cause the peaks of water usage, they have consistent use. Council Member Sherman stated that the water rates are already high, and the quality of the water isn’t changing. He can’t see raising the rates for the same product. The service charge has to be raised for loan and grant approval for upcoming water projects and it really shouldn’t be used for operation, just debt service and future capital improvement. Sherman moves, Mueller seconds to direct Roger to prepare an ordinance to raise the water service charge from $14.25 to $16.00 and to keep per gallon usage rates the same, to initiate an account set up fee of $150.00 and no deposit, the reconnection fee from $25.00 to $50.00 and do not accept partial payments. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. 

Ronda Sparks was in attendance for the Louisville Ball Association. She presented a written report that outlined expenses and income, goals met, 3-5 year goals and current activity. The association has 14 teams in addition to the 2 Legion teams. There just aren’t enough fields to accommodate them. Ash Grove has donated fuel and machinery and the Ash Grove employees, led by Yogi Stander, have volunteered their time to move dirt for a second field. Ash Grove leases the ground to the city, and because the city doesn’t own the property, it eliminates available grants. There are two things Ronda would like the council to consider: to provide field preparation for the ball games and to provide matching funds for the additional fields. Some of the things they are planning include moving the entrance east, off the crest of the hill and moving the parking lot east of the new field to utilize the concession stand for both fields. She doesn’t have any idea of the costs of fencing and lights. Mayor Pankonin stated that the city crew would probably not be able to handle the field preparation because of time. Roger confirmed that the area fits into the park fund financially so funds could be budgeted. 

Arvin Meyer approached the city council with questions regarding mandatory sewer connection at his property on Elm Street. He asked the reason for getting rid of his septic tank that is inside the city limits. Dan stated that one of the first questions asked when applying for grants and loans for the upcoming water project is are there any septic tanks in town. The city started cleaning those up a few years ago and we are down to a few. The city code states mandatory sewer connections. Arvin was told that grandfather clauses don’t apply to sewer connections. Roger explained that statutorily and by ordinance the city can and did require sewer connections. Dan doesn’t deny that the sewer line isn’t the best on that street, but the city has met its obligation. Dan gave a suggestion of pumping the sewer line with a pressure system to the house and out that sewer line. There are ways to make it work, but ultimately, Arvin has to deal with the problem. Rural water can come out and TV the line and Dan will do some measuring and help Arvin as much as possible. 

Carl Schliefert discussed the Louisville Housing Authority. He gave a brief background. When the city council originally set up the housing authority to buy Oakridge, terms were set up for the board members. Terms are up for Carl and Alan Ragoss. So two new members are needed and they would like Dennis Barnes and Marguerite Streeter. Mayor Pankonin says those are good recommendations. A question arose as to whether the members could live outside the city limits. Carl doesn’t think there were any stipulations about that but Roger is going to check into it. The appointments need to be a specific agenda items on the next meeting. Carl suggests the city look into managing the facility itself rather than hiring a management company. Carl was thanked for his service.

The next item is the engagement letter for the audit service that was in the packet. This service has been bid so it was unclear why an engagement letter is necessary. The bids will have to be reviewed to see if it jives with this letter and doesn’t change anything. Whatever the bid was that was accepted is the deal, they can’t change that. No action was taken.

Petrzilka moves, Sherman seconds to retain Home State Bank as the city depository for the next year. Roll call vote; ayes – Petrzilka, Sherman, Smisek, abstain – Mueller. Motion carried.

Petrzilka moves, Sherman seconds to retain The Plattsmouth Journal as the city’s legal newspaper for notices for the next year. Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote. 

Mueller moves, Sherman seconds to accept William Nessen and Darlene Petrzilka as authorized signatures on the Care Center bank accounts. Roll call vote; ayes – Mueller, Sherman, Smisek, abstain – Petrzilka. Motion carried. 

Mayor Pankonin read from the city ordinance that states all persons whose property abuts a water main that is now or may hereafter be laid shall be required, upon notice by the Governing Body, to hook-up with the Municipal Water System. There are two that are on the same well in Prairie Hill. A letter will be written to them to inform them they are required to hook-up to the water main and give them a 180 day time frame. 

There were no reports from the Sheriff, Fire/Rescue, Library/Senior Center, MAC, BUILD, Care Center, Maintenance, or Water/Wastewater. 

Council Member Sherman asked if there was any possibility to get temporary “Gallery Parking Only” signs to use on the weekends at his business. Roger informed him that wasn’t allowed. 

Dan wanted the council to know there are problems with the Senior Center building. It was very poorly constructed and major work is going to have to be done. The southeast corner just keeps settling. Dan is concerned there are no footings. There is a big crack in the wall on the inside. Dan wants some direction on how much to put into the building. Mayor Pankonin wants Dan to fix the inside wall and determine whether or not there are footings and what exactly needs to be done. 

Roger is meeting tomorrow morning at 10:00 in Lincoln on the LPRUB with the other attorneys and bond counsel. 

Mueller moves, Sherman seconds to adjourn the meeting at 9:05 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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