City approves water main project
The city council approved a project to install a water main near the Adams Street Corridor area, where a new park is being planned. The water main will run from 13th to 12th Street with a service connection that will run north to nearby Schwertley Hall.
City Engineer Lucas Billesbach of JEO Consulting said St. John's the Baptist Catholic Church needed to install a sprinkler system, and asked during the Adams Street Corridor's park planning stages whether a cost-sharing project with the city could be achieved. Billesbach said the cost-sharing plan that has been developed is beneficial for the church and city.
"With what we are looking at with future improvements in the Adams Street Corridor as well as water benefits it provides to the northeast portion of Fort Calhoun," he said.
The total cost of the project will be just under $35,000, with the city paying around $18,000. The city council authorized JEO Consulting to receive quotes for the project.
City to purchase excavator
The city council approved the purchase of a Bobcat E35 Compact Excavator for $39,423, which will be used often for projects occurring in ditches and elsewhere.
The price is based off a contract the State of Nebraska has to purchase maintenance and heavy equipment.
Maintenance Supervisor Corban Helmandollar said the machine is more specialized for excavating and fits better in the amount of ditch space between a sidewalk and street. He also said the price of the machine is a better long-term investment than renting equipment.
City hires second maintenance tech employee
The city council approved the hiring of Tim Nelson as a second maintenance tech employee. Helmandollar was recently promoted from maintenance tech to maintenance supervisor.
City to purchase bike racks
The city council approved the purchase of five bike racks for $2,500. The racks will be placed outside of five different businesses — Too Far North, Taylor Quik-Pik, The Longhorn, The Rustic and Shear Attraction — in Fort Calhoun.
Council member Lori Lammers said the enhancement committee had already gauged interest from businesses in town, and five businesses said they would like to have the bike racks. Three businesses will have five-loop racks while the other two will have three-loop racks.
Council discusses non-local use of ballfields
The city council discussed non-local teams — those teams that are made up of 50 percent or less Fort Calhoun players — who have been using the Fort Calhoun ballfields without scheduling time to do.
Mayor Mitch Robinson said out-of-town teams have been showing up to use the fields without a scheduled time. The scheduled use of organized practices and games is required by the city. A fee is also required by non-local teams to use the field for practices. Helmandollar said the city's rules don't mention anything about fees for non-local teams to hold games on the field. He said the city should consider their fee structure to help pay for the city's maintenance of the field after use by non-local teams. The park board will review the fee structure for non-local teams.
Local teams' organizations pay to play games and for the materials, like chalk, for the field.
Robinson asked Helmandollar to put up a sign that indicates organized games and practices must be scheduled to use the fields. Robinson also said local teams should be a priority in scheduling practices and games.
"We have to stay with our homegrown," he said.
City discusses interlocal agreement with Washington County
The city council discussed possible changes to the interlocal agreement process to apply for zoning and other associated permits, such as building permits, within Fort Calhoun or its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).
The current process requires Fort Calhoun residents to first go to Washington County for permit paperwork before those permits are sent to the city of Fort Calhoun for review and approval of zoning, then back to the county for approval of permits like those for buildings.
The proposed change would start with receiving a zoning permit from Fort Calhoun before going to Washington County for associated permits, such as building permits. After review, the permits would then be sent back to Fort Calhoun.
Billesbach said zoning permits are required before building permits are issued. Zoning permit approval for Fort Calhoun residents goes through the city. Billesbach said the change would eliminate some headache for individuals, so they know exactly where to go to resolve which permit.
"The request is stemming from the fact that (Washington County's) process doesn't start until we issue a zoning permit," Billesbach said. "They won't even consider the building permit until we issue a zoning permit … If you originate zoning here, then (people) know they have to work with us to get their zoning resolved, then they can go get their building permit."
The proposed change must be approved by the Washington County Board of Supervisors before it takes effect. The city council also considered moving associated inspections with the process to an independent entity.