The Hebron City Council tackled a lengthy agenda Monday night before adjourning at 10 p.m. Top issues included upholding a Planning Committee zoning decision, financial options regarding proposed changes to the wastewater treatment plant, and renewal of the law enforcement center contract.
In the contract, Sheriff David Lee asked for and received a three percent raise to the LEC budget. “We are facing rising insurance costs,” he said. Of the four communities (Bruning, Davenport, Deshler, Hebron) Hebron pays $135,000 of the total $185,000 contracted budget, a budget based on man hours, Lee added after councilman Jay Bauer questioned the cost.
Bruning, Davenport and Deshler all pay between $30 and $40 per citizen while Hebron pays approximately $86 per person. Lee added as an example that the City of Deshler receives one hour per day of law enforcement activity, whereas Hebron receives more.
Of course, all of the communities in Thayer County receive law enforcement, but the county department does not need to enforce individual ordinances of those communities without contracts, he said. The department has not requested a raise for the last three years. The council agreed to the terms of the contract with the exception of councilman Bauer.
For the wastewater treatment plant, the council, who is considering replacing the current comminuter (grinder) sewer system with an updated screen system, heard financing options from Thaniel Monaco of BG Consultants, Inc., of Manhattan, Kan. The screen system will substantially update the current grinder system and meet all new regulation requirements, but at a steep cost. Monaco told the council they were looking at a starting point of $350,000 to change the system.
He said for $1,000, his firm would evaluate what changes are needed and the city would be added to a list of possible grant recipients. There would be no obligation to make changes to the plant or form a plan since the grants are based on need. “We would assess your situation to prove need,” he said, “and you can choose to go ahead with a project or not.” The council agreed to the evaluation and entry on the list.
In an appeal of a zoning decision made by the Hebron Planning Commission, Jim and Julie Stutzman asked the council to override the PC’s denial to re-zone a residential section of the city to commercial. The Stutzmans would like to construct a storage facility on land they recently purchased in the west part of town. Residential neighbors voiced concerns with the change during the Monday night council meeting and asked city leaders to uphold the PC’s denial.
In other business, the council agreed to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages until 2 a.m., (councilman Kurk Wiedel entered a vote of ‘no’); agreed to a private exercise class at the city swimming pool; will donate stumps from diseased trees removed at the ballfields to be used at the county fair for wood carving; determined 210 South 6th St., and 340 South 6th St., to be public nuisances, and finally, agreed to consider adopting and adapting the City of Deshler’s yard maintenance ordinance for Hebron.
Updates for ongoing projects were also discussed including whether the Pioneer Center should be closed or not and development of an office for city workers in the city garage.
The Council will meet next month on Monday, July 11, due to the Independence Day holiday.