Projects approved for new City building

The new City office building at 2307 Barada (former Family Medicine Clinic) continues to take shape as the City Council voted at their Monday, Feb. 18, meeting to approve two project requirements.

The bid from Haug Communications, Inc., St. Joseph, MO, and Seneca, KS, to install a 100-foot communications tower at a cost of $29,921.50 was approved. Haug estimated the labor to relocate the dispatch center from FCPD to the new building at $6,000. The tower is required for 911 communications involving dispatchers and emergency responders.

Also approved was a quote from Kenneth Arnold Electric of Falls City for the purchase and installation of a standby automatic generator at the new facility. The bid from Arnold was for at total of $42,904, with the majority of the cost for the generator.

The current City Hall does have an older generator, but it has been unreliable for several years. Should power go down, in a storm, for example, a generator is required to maintain 911 and other communications.

Clerk/Treasurer Gary Jorn said 911-generated funds will, hopefully, fund, a significant amount of the costs. The City and Richardson County will likely split remaining costs, he said.

Justin Stark of Olsson Associates, Lincoln, briefed council members on the proposed 1 & Six Year Street Plan. Stark explained street and road improvement funding and the matching formula for cities.  He described the process as an “action plan” that can be subject to changes in priorities.

No. 1 on the project list is new construction basically linking Highway 73 with the new Community Medical Center at 3307 Barada.  Asphalt overlays and armor coat projects were in the 1-year plan, as well as work on 705 Trail, south of Falls City.

A public hearing was held before the Council voted to pass a resolution accepting the plan.

After discussion, the Council voted to approve pay increases for part-time police dispatchers.  The increases, retroactive to Oct. 1, 2012 (when pay increases were negotiated for full-time City employees), will bring the starting compensation for a part-time dispatcher to $10.70 per hour.  This represents the same 2 1/4% increase that other employees received.  Part-time dispatchers will also receive holiday compensation.

Jorn cautioned that other seasonal and part-time employees will take note of the increase and that once an increase or change in benefits is enacted, it’s virtually impossible to rescind.

Chief of Police John Caverzagie said the four part-time dispatchers logged 2,089 hours in 2012.

In other developments, the Council:

—Approved the recommendation to appoint Wendy Bevins to the Falls City Fire Department.  She had previously served and has had training, Chief C. Ken Simpson said.  This brings the department’s strength to 30 members.

—Held a public hearing and acted to endorse a Class C liquor license application from Eric Froeschl at the building at 1821 Stone.  Froeschl has been remodeling the interior of the former Sportsman’s II, and will do business as The Would Eye.

—Approved the 2013 automatic liquor license renewals.

—Okayed a request from the Library and Community Foundation of Richardson County to modify the MOU so that reports to the Council can be made on an annual basis, rather than semi-annually.  Jorn said he saw no reason not to approve the change.

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