CITY COUNCIL

October 24, 2001

LOUISVILLE, NE


A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Louisville was held on Wednesday, October 24, 2001, at 7:00 p.m. at the City Hall. Present were Mayor Dan Henry, Council President Rod Petersen and Council Members Dave Pankonin, Greg Manley and Don Harris. Also present were 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. 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.

Motion by Pankonin, second by Manley to approve the consent agenda. Roll call vote: Manley, aye; Pankonin, aye; Harris, aye; Petersen, aye. Motion carried. 

John Trecek from Ameritas presented information regarding the TIF Bond project. This project kicked off the downtown improvements. TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing and the theory behind the TIF is an incentive for someone to develop a substandard or blighted area. The City entered into an agreement with Home State Bank that if the bank would enter into certain improvements, both public and private, such as site preparation and tearing down the old buildings, sidewalk and landscaping and preparing the land for construction, they would essentially finance that through the issuance of Tax Increment Bonds. These bonds do not constitute an obligation of the City, in that none of the taxpayers have to pay on these bonds. What happens is the incremental increase in revenues from the $7,000 that used to be on the tax roll to the $800,000 that is there now, the additional tax revenue generated for a limited period of time can be used to help pay those improvements. The Community Redevelopment Authority will meet prior to the next council meeting because both the City and the Redevelopment Authority have to act before the bond can be delivered to the bank in the amount of the improvements. The engineers have certified the improvements at $103,000. The reason bonds weren't issued back when the project was first started was the agreement with the City was to finance this to a maximum of $103,000, but at the time they thought the building might only go on the tax rolls at about $450,000 to $500,000. The bond would be issued for what the valuation would support. The valuation will support the entire amount and because certain public improvements were done as a part of that project, street, sidewalk, utility work, the CRA will grant any excess over what's needed to pay the bank for the next ten years which will amount to about another $6,000 per year. That can be used to help pay the bonds the City issues against the downtown improvement project from the TIF revenues for the duration of the TIF. Right now the levy is at $2.43 which generates about $20,086 per year. If that tax rate should drop dramatically or if for some reason the assessor would say the bank is not worth the valuation, the City's obligation is only to make such payments as is generated from the TIF. The City will never be in default as long as what comes in goes to the bank. At the end of the TIF time, if the rare thing happens that the money hasn't come in to pay it, but the City has collected all they can collect and it has been paid in a timely fashion, the City is not in default. 

Don Harris asked if the City was obligated to adopt this ordinance. John Trecek stated the City is obligated since it entered into the TIF agreement with the bank back in 1997. The bank has performed on its end and now it is time for the City to fulfill it's obligation. Don wondered if the $103,000 could be spent for things other than this City improvement. This money cannot be spent on anything else, because it is strictly tied to the redevelopment project. State statutes say the money can be used for the redevelopment project and the purposes related to it. The bank pays their taxes and the taxes on the original $7,000 base level go to the same allocations as before during the TIF period, which is a maximum of 15 years. It began on December 31, 1997, so we are already into that time period. At the end of that time period, whether everything is paid off or not, the taxes that come in on that building get divided amongst the City, County, NRD, school district, ag society and anyone else who collects a piece of that tax bill. It will take about $14,000 per year to retire the TIF bond in ten years which leaves a balance of $6,000 which the CRA can grant to the City for the related project expenses. This $6,000 will help fund payments on the G.O. debt the City will incur on Main Street. 

Motion by Manley, second by Harris to introduce and suspend the three required statutory readings of Ordinance #714 Tax Increment Revenue Bond Series 2001. Roll call vote: Petersen, aye; Manley, aye; Harris, aye; Pankonin, abstain. Motion carried. Motion by Manley, second by Petersen to adopt Ordinance #714 upon final reading. Roll call vote: Pankonin, abstain; Harris, aye; Manley, aye; Petersen, aye. Motion carried.

John Trecek briefed the Council at the Mayor's request on the City's bonded debt situation. There are two things that are considered, gross debt, which is all of your debt, and net debt which deducts such things as unpaid special assessments and sewer bonds which are self-liquidating. Realistically when they look at a net debt, between 4 to 5% debt to valuation, they start to feel that is probably too much because of what the tax levy would be to retire that. The more ideal range would be 2 to 3% or just under 4%. Having the lower debt to valuation rate qualifies the City for lower interest rates. John will have the exact figures for us at the next council meeting. Usually it is better to do a general obligation water bond instead of a revenue bond because you not only have the revenues of the system to use to retire the indebtedness, but the back up is if for some reason the revenues aren't there you can levy a tax to make the payments. It is the unlimited ad valorem taxing authority that gets the City the best rate. Rates should be set a limit that will sustain the amount of the debt. The Mayor noted that since the City will be facing a solution to the water problem, it would be better to go with a general obligation bond rather than revenue bond if possible. John noted that if the State Revolving Loan Fund comes in, they typically make loans on a revenue basis, but they are subsidized loans and if you can qualify for one, those rates usually are very good. The mayor commented that would the City be better off to go with the lower interest rate with less cost to the taxpayer or the customers to the water. These decision will have to be made when JEO comes up with the plan for the water/well problems.

Motion by Pankonin, second by Manley to approve Resolution 01-30, CDBG Drawdown #20 for $2,434.61. Roll call vote: Harris, aye; Pankonin, aye; Manley, aye; Petersen, aye. Motion carried.

Roger Johnson presented samples of three ordinances in use in other cities regarding the use of jake brakes and noise control. Roger suggested the third example given would be the better one to use making a few minor language changes. If you go too broad with this type of ordinance, you may run into a problem with it being unconstitutional, because if a person can't tell what is being prohibited, they don't know not to do it. Roger noted that even if you adopt the ordinance you still have an enforcement issue because the deputy sheriff will need to be around to see the violation to cite for it. Dave Pankonin felt that just having the signs up at the entrances to town regarding jake brakes might be enough of a deterrent to help with the situation. Roger was asked to draft an ordinance for the next meeting that will also encompass the state highway. Motion by Petersen, second by Harris to have Roger draft an ordinance for the next council meeting. Ayes: Harris, Manley, Pankonin and Petersen. Motion carried.

Barry Boyd of Schemmer Associates gave a presentation regarding the services offered by their engineering firm. They have offices in Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs. Barry discussed their scope of services. Schemmer currently provides engineering services for Ralston, Carter Lake and Fort Calhoun. They have done some work for the City of Omaha and Bellevue, but they are not their city engineers. The appointment of the City Engineer is made annually by the Mayor in December. 

At the October 10th meeting it was decided to come up with a committee to help with Care Center with their staffing problems and to help promote Louisville as a place to live and work. The committee could also help the Jay Cees in expanding the Louisville Daz celebration and the possibility of hosting ball tournaments, etc., in order to draw more people in to town. Job Fairs and other celebrations could also be possibilities. The mayor suggested first year goals of the committee be to help get the Care Center fully staffed and occupied and to help the Mayor & Council to promote Louisville. The Mayor nominated the following to serve on the committee: Mark Leibman, representing the Care Center Board; Dave Pankonin, representing the City Council; Alan Mueller from Home State Bank; Pam Duffy, Postmaster; Carolyn Falcone, Care Center employee; Dennis Barnes representing BUILD; one member from the Planning Commission; and Dee Henry representing the Ball Parents Association. Motion by Manley, second by Harris to accept the nominations to the committee. Ayes: Harris, Manley and Petersen. Abstain: Pankonin. Motion carried. The committee will meet before the next council meeting and make a report at that time. John Harrington of Wire Built discussed the Web Site and how it could be of benefit. John noted that expanding on a regional basis is more difficult than globally. John felt it they could get a consensus of how we would like to make Louisville more visible, then they can go after people looking for job opportunities, recreation opportunities and get the lions share of attention. John hesitates to do this without a very well thought out plan because search engine impressions are indelible and very difficult to undo once they are done. If done correctly they will have exactly the affect that you are looking for. Dave Pankonin suggested a brochure about Louisville be printed along with the Web Site. Mayor Henry would like for the committee to have an idea session and come back to the council with their ideas. Alan Mueller added that the lack of commercial space in town is also an issue that should be addressed. Roger Johnson stated that LB840 is legislation that has allowed for the creation of economic development plan that the City would actually have to put together a comprehensive plan. LB840 allows the City to go out and purchase an industrial site in the county, yet the City would own it, it would be the City's industrial site and the City would have the ability to tax that site, even though it would be an island in the county. 

Mayor Henry informed everyone regarding a situation with a suspicious mail item in town on Tuesday, October 23rd. This situation was handled by the Cass County Emergency Management director and the local fire chief. The envelope in question was from Florida, but was part of a bulk mailing. It is believed the powder substance was a lubricant used by the bulk mailer for stuffing envelopes. The item has been bagged and sent to the Nebraska State Patrol for analysis, but is believed to be harmless. Pam Duffy also commented from the standpoint of the post office that they are going about their business as normal and that residents should use common sense. If the envelope is handwritten with no return address and looks suspicious then you should notify the authorities. 

JEO was not present at the meeting; however, the contract for the Corrosion Control Study was received. This study addresses the Copper Administrative Order the City is under. JEO is preparing a study for approximately six cities in Nebraska. This contract is not the plan, but the agreement for JEO to come up with a plan for Louisville. Roger Johnson stated the regs have been upheld once. The State Attorney General appealed but did not proceed with the appeal correctly so it was dismissed without a decision. As it stands right now, the EPA regs have been upheld by a federal court. We will be limited in the actual challenges we can make, which doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but the bottom line is we better have the study proceeding because if we don't get anywhere with the administrative proceeding the only way we will be in compliance with the administrative order is to have a plan proposed by the end of the year. The state DEQ is fairly practical, but in a sense they are the EPA's puppet and they don't view the world very practically. Roger felt the City needed to go ahead with preparing the plan since we were not able to test out. Don Harris asked what the worst scenario the EPA would do communities. Roger said in theory they can shut the water distribution system down. They will also impose fines and penalties. JEO's cost to complete the Corrosion Control Study is $3,000. Roger said he would talk with Eric Obert about including several references in the plan to the overall plan to deal with a number of water problems in the hopes that it will buy us some time. Just having the plan should buy us about two years before we would actually have to implement. Roger Johnson recommended approving the contract, as we need to have this plan by December 31, 2001 even if we pursue legal defenses. Motion by Pankonin, second by Manley to approve the JEO Contract for the Corrosion Control Study for $3,000. Roll call vote: Harris, aye; Pankonin, aye; Petersen, aye; Manley, aye. Motion carried.

An update on the Water Study for a long-range plan was received from JEO. The plan is 50-75% complete and JEO is waiting on some information from federal and state agencies. The City has two years from the time the new well starting pumping to have a long-term plan to the state. JEO anticipates having a draft copy of this report by the first meeting in January with final draft presented to the public in late February or the first of March. Roger Johnson will be visiting with Eric about the study to tie it in with the Corrosion Control Study. 

Tecumseh Insurance Center has requested the Mayor sign a letter notifying Home State Bank that the City will be working directly with the Tecumseh Insurance Center for the City's property & casualty coverage. This is due to the E & O coverage no longer extending to cover the agent at Home State Bank. Alan Mueller from Home State Bank did not have a problem with this. Mayor Henry will sign the letter.

Employer's Mutual Insurance had requested the City sign a Statement of Values on the City Insurance coverage. It was determined that there were some locations not insured at all and some locations were not insured to the proper value. All locations were insured on an actual cash value basis, instead of replacement cost coverage. Since some locations were so underinsured, had there been a loss, the City would have been penalized on a co-insurance penalty. With the assistance of Larry Wittrock and Randy Payne, the clerk and Genie Andrews completed a new statement of values for the city property to be insured. The changes have not been received back yet and Genie will have them by the next meeting. Genie will also quote higher limits of liability for the City. Some discussion followed regarding letting the insurance out for bids at the next renewal. 

A letter was received from the Grand Island Area Clean Community System regarding Household Hazardous Waste Collection events. It was decided to notify the Grand Island Area Clean Community System that Louisville might be interested in participating in one of these events and would like more information. Motion by Petersen, second by Harris to contact Grand Island Area Clean Community System regarding a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event. Ayes: Harris, Manley, Pankonin and Petersen. Motion carried.

Streetlights in Prairie Hills were discussed. Several requests have been received for the street lighting. OPPD installs the lights and charge the city annually. The lights should be installed for safety reasons. Motion by Pankonin, second by Petersen to contact OPPD regarding a plan for street light installation in Prairie Hills. Ayes: Harris, Manley, Pankonin and Petersen. Motion carried.

Some type of traffic control sign is needed at the West End of Hawthorne Lane. A stop sign would make it too difficult to get going again in the wintertime. A yield sign would probably work better. 

Dave Pankonin had a bid for a cab enclosure for the new maintenance tractor. The bid price is $893.00 for the enclosure, plus freight and installation. Two front-end weights were also quoted for when the mower is on the tractor. Two sixty-pound weights would be $158, plus freight. Two 100-pound weights would actually be cheaper at $150. It was noted the new maintenance tractor is working very well for the jobs it was purchased for. Dave will order the cab enclosure and weights and let maintenance know when they are in. 

Motion by Manley, second by Harris to adjourn at 8:45 p.m. Ayes: Harris, Manley, Pankonin and Petersen. 

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.

Candace J. McClun
City Clerk 


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