CITY APPROVES SPEED REDUCTION: The Broken Bow City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday to change the speed limit on West Highway 2. Ordinance No. 2012-1115 will reduce the speed limit to 55 mph to the edge of the city limits, rather than the current 65. This will create more of a transition for motorists, who instead of going from 45 to 65, as it is now, the speed limit will go from 45 to 55 to 65. The council approved waiving the three readings and approving the ordinance as presented. This ordinance was the last step necessary for the Nebraska Department of Roads to move on initializing the reduced speed limit from mile marker 276, right before the curve west of Grassland Veterinary Hospital, to the city limits now located at the entrance of the new Trotter Service Center. Signs displaying the new speed limits will be posted by the city and the NDOR soon.
Also in Monday's City Council meeting, approval was given for a grant application to assist with the purchase of a new ADA small bus for use by the City of Broken Bow Handi Bus. The city recently received a safety dividend check for just over $13,000, in recognition of the City's good safety record. That money is not allocated for anything specific, and City Administrator Tony Tolstedt recommended using the city's share of those funds in the amount of $7,815.84 toward the purchase of the new bus. The bus would accommodate 12 ambulatory and two wheelchair positions.
Two appointments were made at the council meeting; Bill Adams was appointed to the Employee Safety Committee, and Chad Schall was appointed to the Lexington Area Solid Waste Board.
Dan Zach, of Dana F. Cole, presented the audit report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011, for the city and utility department. Zach reports the city brought in $4.6 million in the general fund during the year, and paid out $4,184,000. On the utility side, the department saw $8,114,000 in revenue with expenditures of $7,093,000, leaving an operating income of $1,020,000. However, Zach reminded the council that $400,000 of that is grant funds which have been already spent. "The rate increases have covered a lot of the costs," said Zach. The audit shows the city has bonds totaling $6,415,000, which is mostly covered by sales tax and bond interest, with the city having a liability of $3.4 million. Zach commended City Clerk Elaine Bayer and Tolstedt for the good job they do of bookkeeping and budgeting. "Even though there are a lot of capital improvements going on, the city is still maintaining control of its operating budget," said Zach.
The council also got an update on the pool project from city engineer Dave Henke, who reports the project is about 97 percent complete. The plan is to start filling the pool May 10, with startup May 14 and a soft start May 25. Henke said the city still owes $182,000 on the project with the final payment set for June. The warranty will go into effect upon final payment.