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Syracuse city council meeting conducted by phone

Wendy Werner
Special to the J-D
Mayor KC Ortiz speaks during a past Syracuse City Council meeting.

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order and in consideration of the public health and safety, the Syracuse City Council met telephonically on Wednesday, April 15, with all council members participating.  

The minutes of the March 11, meeting were approved.  

Todd Blome with BMG gave the treasurer’s report through the period of March 31.  

Blome said all bank accounts had been reconciled through March 31, 2020.  

The report provided a comparison to March 31, 2019.  Blome noted water revenue was up and attributed it to the change in water billings and rate.  

The claims and the treasurer’s report were approved.

In the sheriff’s report, Sheriff Colin Caudill reported there were 111 calls for service to Syracuse addresses in the month of March, resulting in 57 incidents and 410 hours of combined basic coverage and manpower hours.  Of the 57 incidents, 21 were for parking complaints.  

In Captain Bruce Neeman’s fire report, the council approved a repair to the flat part of the roof between the fire and rescue buildings in the amount of $5,720.  Additional work to the roof was postponed.

In the parks and recreation report, the council discussed Geotechnical Exploration for Aqua Center Bathhouse site noting two proposals were received.  

Both proposals limited liability damages to $50,000, which was a concern to the council.  

This item was postponed, and another council meeting will be held, if needed, to approve so that the building of the bathhouse house stays on schedule.  

Mayor K.C. Ortiz reported he has been participating in the governor’s conference calls on which one recommendation was to not open pools until July 15.  The feasibility of potentially opening the pool for about two weeks (July 15-Aug. 2) was discussed and, along with other considerations, a decision was made to not open the pool in the summer of 2020.

In the Public Works report, three items were presented for discussion and passage.  The council discussed and passed Resolution 20-11, Amendment to Owner Engineer Agreement between City and JEO for 2019 Water Supply Improvements project, authorizing mayor’s signature.  Dane Simonsen, JEO was on the phone to discuss the project.  

The water main on Park Street from 1st to 5th Streets was being replaced.  

The resolution extended the replacement to include 6th to 11th Streets on Park Street.  The council passed Ordinance No. 10-71 on loan contract between City and NDEE for Well Field and Transmission Main project.  

Lastly, the council discussed and approved Resolution No. 20-12 NRCS Williams Park project engineering agreement between City and JEO.  The agreement is for bank stabilization and repairs at the north end of Cheryl Drive.  The project will be on a 220-day timeline with survey in April, bids in July and construction to start late summer.

Under old business, Mayor Ortiz was contacted by the new Executive Director of the Blue Rivers Area Agency on Aging requesting forgiveness of three months rent for the senior center.  The council posed questions on the scope and feasibility of BRAAA’s services, including services and contributions from other towns, and postponed action until further information from BRAAA could be obtained.

Also under old business, Mayor Ortiz reported due to the volatility of the market from COVID-19, the re-issued Combined Revenue and Municipal Facilities Corporation Bonds were delayed going to market.  On April 14, new numbers were received and, by holding off, the city realized an additional savings of more than $6,000.

Under new business, a Public Hearing was held for Application for Conditional Use Permit pursuant to Syracuse Municipal Zoning Code Section 5.18.03 to allow campground at the following-described real estate: Lots 7 thru 12 Blk 7 Syracuse Proper, Otoe County, Nebraska.  Chris Richardson, property owner, was present to discuss the project. After discussion, the council passed the Ordinance approving the conditional use permit.

The council approved Resolution No. 20-13 Memorandum of Understanding for Southeast District Health Department between City and SEDHD, authorizing mayor’s signature.  The Memorandum of Understanding permits the Southeast District Health Department to issue Direct Health Measures that could ultimately result in quarantine orders.

A discussion on options for residential fiber service was tabled.