The Hebron City Council chipped away at a hefty agenda Monday night; approval of the sheriff’s contract, banning cigarettes and dogs at the Hebron Sports Complex, identifying 10 properties as nuisances and raising camping fees at the CCCamp topped the heap.
Councilman Jay Bauer was the lone holdout as the city leaders agreed to renew a policing contract with the local county department. Bauer, who voiced complaint last month regarding the city’s cost for services from the county department, said he did not dispute the department’s work ethic, but did not understand why Hebron was paying three times what other communities paid for the same service.
“The only difference is the amount of patrol time.” Bauer said. “Those other communities get the same services we do for a lot less money. I just don’t think it’s fair that we have to pay almost $90 per person while other communities pay only $30 per person for the same services.”
Four of 11 communities in Thayer County hold city contracts with the county department – Bruning, Davenport, Deshler and Hebron.
Deshler, the county’s second largest populous, was paying nearly $40 per person until last month when city leaders shaved almost two-thirds of the cost off the total dropping the payment from $30,240 per year to $12,000 per year. Deshler mayor Naomi Grupe said the board decided to use the money saved to purchase security cameras.
Council president Larry Fangmeier, along with other members of the council Monday night, reiterated the fact that they felt the extra policing the city received from the department was worth the funds spent. They also agreed with Bauer that it wasn’t a fair split, but that they needed to concentrate on what was best for the City of Hebron, not the other communities.
Hebron receives 12 hours of patrolling and ordinance support for $11,796 per month according to the contract. In July, the county department, according to a call sheet kept on file at the sheriff’s office, answered an average of seven calls per day for the city. Situations include criminal activity such as assault with a weapon, child abuse and criminal mischief to ordinance complaints such as loose animals, suspicious activity, and fireworks.
In further business, the council agreed to send letters to 10 property owners announcing that their properties had been identified as priority nuisances. Most of the properties are dwellings, some abandoned, some inhabited.
The city letters are the first step in a process to control the nuisance and detail steps owners can take to eliminate the complaint.
In other business, the board agreed to ban smoking and dogs at the Hebron Sports Complex, including the swimming pool. The only dogs allowed will be special needs dogs, and smokers will need to go outside fences to the parking lot, off the Complex or pool grounds.
Councilman Kurk Wiedel said a couple of negative incidents involving dogs at the ball park this summer as well as numerous complaints about smokers at the pool prompted the new ordinances.
Finally, the board raised camping fees at the CCCamp at Riverside Park from $3 to $5 per night for tents and from $5 to $15 per night for campers.