CITY COUNCIL
Meeting Minutes

October 9

LOUISVILLE, NE



A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Louisville was held on Wednesday, October 9, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall. Present were Mayor Dan Henry, Council Members Dave Pankonin, Greg Manley and Don Harris. Joe Smisek was absent. Also present were City attorney, Roger Johnson 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. All proceedings thereafter were taken while the convened meeting was open to the public.

Mayor Dan Henry called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and asked the council to review the consent agenda. Pankonin moves, Manley seconds to approve the consent agenda. Roll call vote; Pankonin – aye, Manley – aye, Harris – aye, Smisek – absent. Motion carried.

Eric Obert was present from JEO to discuss contracts for projects they are working on, those being the east water main extension to Southridge and the other being OCCT water system (Optimum Copper Corrosion Treatment). The contracts were available for review. Eric updated the council on the projects. The water main survey is done and he fully expects to be able to bid the project by November. Eric was asked his opinion on the number of bids estimated and he said the numbers will be tremendous. These projects are getting up to 15 very competitive bids and that’s why JEO wants to move on this. The Copper Corrosion project has a time limit and has to be done by spring, 2003. Eric still believes the best way to carry out this project is to purchase the necessary equipment and have the maintenance men do the work themselves. Larry said he has talked to Hawkins Chemical regarding storage and day tanks for fluoride that don’t leak fumes. Eric’s goal is to have both projects done by the end of the year. The contracts are standard agreements and the mayor stated the city’s experience with JEO speaks for itself. Manley moves, Harris seconds to accept the contract from JEO for the east water main extension. Roll call vote; Manley – aye, Harris – aye, Pankonin – aye, Smisek – absent. Motion carried. Manley moves, Pankonin seconds to accept the contract from JEO for the OCCT water system . Roll call vote; Manley – aye, Harris – aye, Pankonin – aye, Smisek – absent. Motion carried. The contracts will be signed and sent to Eric. 

There was a brief discussion of a problem at the well this week and Larry spoke while Eric was still present. The wire from the meter socket to the building was burnt. When the electrician put it in, he did not tighten down the lugs on the bottom. There was no damage to the well but there were people in town low on water pressure. Eric advised to check the warranty on the well. The city clerk is to check on the warranty.

Mayor Henry visited with John Trecek from Ameritas regarding a $115,000 Bond Anticipation Note. Bond rates are very favorable right now and his recommendation was to roll it into a long term bond. Dave’s comment was to go long with the rates so low. John will be at the next meeting to visit with the council. 

Maureen Gulizia was present to talk about trash receptacles. She presented a catalog that shows the 30 gallon trash cans that the BUILD Committee decided on. It has a rock face panel that will compliment Main Street. It also has a split top with an ashtray with the hopes that the smokers will use those instead of the street. They should be used with a liner that would make it easier to empty. They are heavy enough to deter vandalism. They looked at ones with rain guards over the top, but they seemed to be flimsy. They would like to see twelve eventually on the two block stretch of Main Street, three on each side of each block. The price in lots of 6 or more is $315 each. There are seven trash cans now that would be replaced. Maureen said she talked to Todd at Workman Precast to see if he could make the city a deal. He stated that unless he made 30, he couldn’t beat this price. Roger stated that in Plattsmouth the trash cans have a cover that is sturdy. There was a concern of the uncovered cans getting full of rain. The triangular shaped opening is better than all opened. Roger stated the ones in Plattsmouth are totally covered with a flap opening. Maureen said she could go back to BUILD and get other suggestions for lids and do some more research. Roger is going to ask the Plattsmouth clerk where they got their trash cans. The Mayor wanted Maureen to tell BUILD that the city council is not opposed to new trash receptacles but the council would like to look at something with a lid. There was a question posed regarding a grant to help with beautification. Roger is to look into availability of grant money for this sort of purchase. 

Josh Haswell didn’t show up to talk about a skateboard park.

The next discussion concerned a pay raise for Ruth Hlavac. The clerk informed the council that last year she received a 4% increase. She makes $10,140/year now for 20 hours/week. Mayor Henry visited with Marcia Beck, the President of the Library Board, regarding the library’s computer crashing and Ruth having to reload all the information and putting in extra hours. Marcia thinks Ruth needs to be compensated for that time. Dan told her to have Ruth keep track of hours and a decision can be made later on overtime. Pankonin moves, Manley seconds to raise Ruth Hlavac’s annual salary to $10,500 and listen later to extra hours as an exception. Roll call vote; Harris – aye, Pankonin – aye, Manley – aye, Smisek – absent. Motion carried. 

Larry presented a written report for water/wastewater. He also talked about an alarm problem at the well the other morning. He explained how the alarm works. If the well gets low, the pressure falls, the alarm automatically begins calling the maintenance men. There is a different signal for high water at the sewer plant, low water at the tower, percentage and pressure. Larry was asked if there was a way of checking the alarm to see if its working. Larry is going to ask Steve from Layne-Western if there is a way to test the alarm. The written report was reviewed. There was over 6 million gallons of water pumped in September. The work done at Max Heard’s was discussed. 

There were no reports from Fire/Rescue, Library, Senior Center, MAC and JayCees. There was a written report from the Sheriff. 

Randy reported for the maintenance department. There was a couple of days spent cleaning up 5th Street where they replaced the storm sewer. He rebuilt a hydraulic cylinder in the street sweeper. Mowing has been kept up and limbs removed from under the bridge on 2nd Street. Randy reported a storm sewer washed out on the 6th St. bridge, east side of the creek, south side of the bridge. Dan and Randy will check it out. Dan had a call last night from Dave Hopp regarding a beaver destroying trees on his property. Martha Winingham has lost two apple trees. Levi Krause was contacted. His advice was to first protect your trees with heavy duty wire. He has the capability to issue a permit to trap outside of the season. The concern of trapping was discussed. Mayor Henry asked if this is a city problem. The concern was if the city took on the trapping of this animal then everyone with a little animal problem would call. The city doesn’t even have an animal control officer for the dogs, let alone the beavers. Dan will talk to Levi again to see what can be done.

Mark Leibman was in attendance to discuss the Louisville Care Center. The last report showed occupancy at 78.8% and since then there has been 4 admissions so the rate is probably more like 85%. Mark presented an outline showing the challenges facing the Care Center. It needs to be made clear what the long term goals are for the Care Center and that the city and the Care Center are on the same page. It’s long been operated on the assumption that its paramount duty to the community is not to be a financial threat or drag and to provide a service. If the city wants a return, that needs to be made explicit. To keep it from being a drag, occupancy rate is a concern. There are efforts on the way to get the word out to the decision makers. The staff has lined up their list of who they want to contact, such as hospital social workers, social service agents and on-site workers. The next thing the board wants to know is the break-even occupancy rate which they believe is somewhere around 74%. The center is operating cash-flow positive and showing a profit month to month. The next point Mark made was expansion of services and what services should be considered. More intensive services such as Medicare certification and IV capabilities have been judged to be beyond the scope of a small, community-owned facility. Less intensive services such as adult day care and assisted living are probably more feasible. There needs to be a process for planning expansion of services which was the next point Mark made. They started out with a determination of need. Ways to do that are to survey senior citizens, information forum, outside consultants, other providers, government agencies and others. When considering outside consultants, they met with Ray Brown & Associates last week and they concentrated on the feasibility of assisted living. They wanted $16,000 total for this feasibility study service. Today the board spoke to Stephen Amundsen of FuCare Consulting. They were all very impressed with this man. He does strategic planning, and management consulting on an on-going basis, and feasibility studies. He is a former CEO of a hospital in Chadron, he’s been in health care for 29 years, and for the last 10 years he’s been on the business faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He comes highly recommended. The process that the board is contemplating is where they want the care center to be in 2020 and how to get there. The board described to Stephen what they thought their problem was as they see it and he gave them a perspective that they hadn’t thought of. The problem you’ve got, and its all the way through the Midwest, there’s a whole generation of people that’s not there. In 1941-1948 a tremendous amount of people left the area and went to factories in the west belt to build planes, or went in the military and saw the big cities and didn’t come back. There is a hole in the demographic in that age group that ought to be in the nursing homes right now. This is why 7-12 years ago you had a waiting list, and why there isn’t one now. Stephen’s cost is $6,500 for intensive work on a feasibility study on the front end, which would take a look at our strengths and weaknesses, what the demand is, look at the population we’re drawing from, competing facilities, how we would get it done right down to the finances. Roger talked briefly about state statutes and questioned whether assisted living falls under the same categories as nursing homes anymore. He believes it has its own definition. There is concern that if an assisted living facility was built, the care center would lose patients. There are 8-12 patients right now in the care center that are physically eligible to be in assisted living. The care center administration knows that not all of those would opt for assisted living, they like the care they’re getting now, but there would definitely be some slippage. That would be a problem to go from 80% to 66%. There is also the point that assisted living would feed the nursing home eventually. Mark stated that when you hire a consultant you hate to pay for hot air, but there is no substitute for the expertise in this area. Stephen’s study may show that the need and the opportunity are there, but it’s not appropriate for the taxpayers. In which case, maybe the city could lease the land for someone else to undertake the project. Dan stated he put this notion on Mark’s shoulders because Mark is a money man. Dan does not want the idea of assisted living to become a drain on the city. This is definitely a big step. The discussion returned to Stephen’s fee and what it entailed. There would be 2 days on-site, one to research and one day to do the strategic planning and write a report. He will coach and mentor the staff we already have. It will take 60-90 days, start to finish. The board will likely call a special meeting to engage Stephen by the middle of next week. Dave asked Mark if he had ever had a chance to go through the papers at the care center, the bond indebtedness and the reserves to balance to see where the center is at financially. Mark reported that the care center has roughly 1.1 million total liquid, bonded indebtedness is about $200,000. There are substantial reserves on hand. While they were on the subject of reserves, the administration at the center reminds the board that the facility needs to be updated and made fresh and kept current and redecorated. There is concern over lighting that is substandard in some patient rooms and in the common areas and OPPD is telling the board that it is energy inefficient as well. There is a possibility of substantial money being spent to update, but Mark was reminded that that is part of marketing appeal. They would like to wait until other decisions are made before they start redecorating. The council was told that the community survey results done earlier in the summer were very favorable towards the care center and staff. Mayor Henry complimented Mark on all the time he’s spent on this and he reminded Mark that when they hire a consultant to not be afraid to expand their services and have them take over some of the things Mark and the other board members do. They all work hard and put in a lot of time. Dan mentioned that Kara Habrock has moved so she will have to resign from the board and will have to be replaced. Mark would like the replacement as soon as possible. Dan said that would be taken care of at the next meeting.

Harris moves, Manley seconds to adjourn the council meeting at 8:20 p.m. Ayes – 3, nays – none. Motion carried.

I, the undersigned clerk, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the proceedings had and done by the Mayor and City Council of the 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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