City Council gives go ahead to $30,000 Main Street block grant

The Falls City Council, meeting in regular session Monday evening, March 4, approved a $30,000 Community Development Block Grant application for the Main Street Falls City effort after a brief presentation from Main Street Executive Director Eric Barr. Barr said the grant would be used to update plans and would require some matching funds from the City.

Clerk/Treasurer Gary Jorn explained that this is a required step before Main Street can apply for a $350,000 grant that would be used for the next construction phase in the effort to revitalize and transform downtown Falls City.  Phase 1 in the project has been completed.

After the meeting opened, Jorn updated the council members on departmental developments.  He said employees have been busy with maintenance and clean-up efforts during the winter months.  Snow removal crews have also responded during periods of significant snowfall.

Jorn said utility employees are working to create a separate circuit for Falls City’s expanding industrial complex and are taking online classes that will enhance efforts to update utilities with an eye toward efficiency.  Jorn had previously noted that efficiency is a goal within the various departments.

He provided a brief update on the recent League of Municipalities mid-winter conference, describing the meetings as “very informative” and, “hopefully a learning experience” for all who attended.  One discussion at the conference concerned aging employment populations and voids that could present themselves in the future.  Aging computer software, another conference topic, is being addressed by the City, Jorn said.  One example is in dispatching, where new computers and software have been installed.  Dispatchers will take courses on software operations.

The Clerk/Treasurer reported on a recent meeting in Nebraska City regarding the future of 911 services in southeast Nebraska.  Efforts are underway to regionalize 911, Jorn said.  While this move has obvious advantages, “it will cost,” he said.

Councilman Jerry Oliver, who attended the mid-winter conference, commented on the value of budgeting information, open meetings requirements and guidelines for executive sessions.

In other developments, the council:

—Approved two requests for Prichard Auditorium wedding receptions at which alcohol can be served.  The corresponding requests for special designated liquor licenses also received council approval.  Councilperson Judy Murphy voted “no” on the requests.  Jorn said 11 such receptions have been okayed for 2013.  The limit is 12.

—Approved a request for the extension of a conditional use of property at 623 Pacific Street to July 19, 2014.  A camper/trailer has occupied the address since the flooding of 2009.

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