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Kearney, Nebraska

April 8, 2003

7:30 p.m.


A meeting of the City Council of Kearney, Nebraska, was convened in open and public session at 7:30 p.m. on April 8, 2003, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  Present were: Bruce Blankenship, President of the Council; Michaelle Trembly, City Clerk; Council Members Randy Buschkoetter, Don Kearney, and Jose Zapata. Absent: Galen Hadley.  G. Allen Johnson, City Manager; Michael Kelley, City Attorney; John Prescott, Assistant City Manager; Wendell Wessels, Director of Finance and Administration; Kirk Stocker, Director of Utilities; and Rod Wiederspan, Director of Public Works were also present. Some of the citizens present in the audience included: Kellie Abood, Laurie Johnson, Jen Myers, Jane Haney, Staci Kratzer, Dave Mead, L.D. Glatter, Jim Tacha, Don Carpenter, Ken Tracy, John Sydow, John Bancroft, Joe Krepel, Scott Hayden, Neal Lewis, Bruce Grupe, Mike Konz from Kearney Hub, Billy Boyer from KGFW Radio, Mike Cahill from KKPR Radio.


Notice of the meeting was given in advance thereof by publication in the Kearney Hub, the designated method for giving notice, a copy of the proof of publication being attached to these minutes.  Advance notice of the meeting was also given to the City Council and a copy of their acknowledgment or receipt of such notice is attached to these minutes.  Availability of the Agenda was communicated in the advance notice and in the notice to the Mayor and City Council.  All proceedings hereafter shown were taken while the meeting was open to the attendance of the public.






Reverend Tom Hanson from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church provided the Invocation.




Boy Scout Matthew Jensen led the Council members and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.




Mayor Blankenship and Council Members recognized Max Gintzler for 5 years of service with the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department.  There were each presented a plaque.




There was no Oral Communications; however, Bobby Turner from Turner’s Body Shop stepped up to the podium and expressed a concern about the towing contract.  Mayor Blankenship explained to Mr. Turner that he was out of order since he did not properly notify the City Clerk that he wanted to address the Council.




There was no Unfinished Business.






Mayor Blankenship opened the public hearing on the application to the Department of Economic Development for a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $355,000.00 for the construction of a daycare center by St. Luke's Good Samaritan Village and to consider Resolution No. 2003-45.


Assistant City Manager John Prescott presented this matter to the Council.  St. Luke’s Good Samaritan Village would like to construct a new child care facility to replace their current building.  Currently, St. Luke’s operates a child care facility on the first floor of a three story building at 2400 E 32nd Street constructed in the 1890s.  St. Luke’s would like to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to help with the cost of construction.


St. Luke’s Good Samaritan Village plans to build a 5800 square foot facility on property already owned by the organization.  The City is asked to apply for a $350,000 CDBG award to help finance the cost of construction.  The total anticipated cost of the project is $789,650.  St. Luke’s Good Samaritan through donations and other grants will raise the balance of the funding.  The City of Kearney will not be committing any funds to this project. 


The City’s involvement will be to receive CDBG funds and disperse the amounts.  If the grant is awarded, the 2003-04 budget will need to reflect the pass-through of the CDBG funding.  The City would be eligible to use the Administration funding for any audit costs related to the grant passing through the City’s accounts.  The City will also be providing a certified CDBG administrator which the State requires to award the funds.


Jen Myers, 1514 11th Avenue, is the Administrator for St. Luke’s Village.  She stated their proposal is to build a daycare building if this grant is approved.  Basically, they manage a daycare for 80 children in a 100+ year old building and do a wonderful job, but the building is showing its age.  The plumbing and roof are bad and there is no room to expand because only the first floor is usable and there is no room to expand.  The plan would be to build a new building to expand their services on the vacant lot on the west side of the nursing home.  They want to secure these funds to build this facility and expand their services to care for more than the 80 children presently in their care. 


Staci Kratzer, 916 11th Avenue, stated that she is also a parent who uses St. Luke’s for her two children. She believes that their program is very strong.  With the new building, the teachers will have better equipment and the children will have better surroundings and the program will be even stronger.  She is strongly in favor of this project as a parent and also as an employee that works at the nursing home.


Council Member Kearney stated that the City’s involvement would be only to transfer the funds due to the laws regulating these grants.  There would be no actual City funds involved.


Mayor Blankenship stated that he is pleased that this grant is available to provide a much needed service in this community.  He stated that they have a long record of service in this community and this will serve to enhance this service for years to come.


Council Member Buschkoetter stated that both of his children have gone through St. Luke’s.  They have been very happy with their service and are familiar with the project through the parents group.  He is very optimistic that this will be approved because the quality of service has been outstanding.


There was no one present in opposition to this hearing.


Moved by Kearney seconded by Buschkoetter to close the hearing and approve the application to the Department of Economic Development for a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $355,000.00 for the construction of a daycare center by St. Luke's Good Samaritan Village and approve Resolution No. 2003-45. Roll call resulted as follows: Aye: Blankenship, Kearney, Zapata, Buschkoetter. Nay: None. Hadley absent. Motion carried.




            WHEREAS, the City of Kearney, Nebraska, is an eligible unit of a general local government authorized to file an application under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 as Amended for Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program, and

            WHEREAS, the City of Kearney, Nebraska, has obtained its citizens' comments on community development and housing needs; and conducted public hearing(s) upon the proposed application and received favorable public comment respecting the application which for an amount of $355,000 for construction of a child care facility and general administration.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the President and Council of the City of Kearney, Nebraska, The City Council of the City of Kearney, the Mayor be authorized and directed to proceed with the formulation of any and all contracts, documents or other memoranda between the City of Kearney and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development so as to effect acceptance of the grant application.



ATTEST:                                                                       PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

                                                                                    AND EX-OFFICIO MAYOR





Moved by Buschkoetter seconded by Zapata that Subsections 1 through 6 of Consent Agenda Item IV be approved. Roll call resulted as follows: Aye: Blankenship, Zapata, Buschkoetter, Kearney. Nay: None. Hadley absent. Motion carried.


1.         Approve Minutes of Regular Meeting held March 25, 2003.


2.         3M MDY9704 $1,130.00 Various; Ace Hardware $100.70 Various; Acushnet $237.06 Inv; Adams Co Sheriff $61.47 Equip; Advance Auto Parts $14.64 Inv; AFLAC $1,703.98 Ded; Alltel $2,540.68 Various; Americinn of Spencer $452.28 Tr; Amerimark Direct $210.24 Su; AMS $585.07 Rep; Anderson Outdoor Power $825.71 Various; Arrow Tank $148.31 Rep; Ashbrook $514.92 Rep; Auto Glass Center $220.25 Inv; Autodesk US $222.53 Su; Baker & Taylor $1,778.15 Bks; BBC Audiobooks $232.38 Bks; Benson, G $15.00 Su; Best Access $82.67 Su; Big Flag $556.27 Inv; Bob's Super Store $4.25 Su; Books on Tape $172.40 Bks; Bound to Stay Bound Books $350.00 Bks; Bruha, S $15.00 Reim; Bubble Factory $201.85 Su; Budget Rent-A-Car $590.97 Tr; Buffalo Co District Court $129.00 Ded; Buffalo Co Sheriff $84,007.00 Serv; Buggy Bath Car Wash $8.00 Rep; Builders How-To-Warehouse $4,535.82 Various; Canada Life Assurance $2,240.85 Ded; Canal Bank Assoc $152.60 Rep; Capstone Press $163.62 Bks; CDW Government $688.63 Various; CED/American Electric $1,007.64 Various; Central Fire & Safety $26.25 Rep; Central Hydraulic System $543.65 Various; Central NE Bobcat $16,622.66 Various; CHAD $4.00 Ded; Charter Communications $43.55 Serv; Charter Media $800.00 Adv; Charter Paging $21.41 Serv; Chevron $35.54 Tr; City of Ky $123,145.99 Various; College Savings Plan $245.00 Ded; Compass Point Books $313.60 Bks; Computer Hardware $99.95 Equip; Computer Pros $1,364.08 Capital Imp; Computer Warehouse #4 $31.00 Equip; Control Masters $2,280.00 Rep; Cook, R $1,200.00 Site Lease; Copy Cat Printing $24.04 Su; Cordova, T $1,240.00 Tr; Cornhusker Hotel $462.23 Tr; Corp Diversified Services $101,155.81 Various; Creative Company $177.88 Bks; Crossroads Ford $3,701.13 Various; Culligan $265.48 Various; D&M Security $222.50 Rep; Dannehl's Feed $54.00 Su; Diamond Vogel Paints $38.16 Inv; Discount Tools $299.99 Tools; Dobberstein Roofing $6,762.60 Serv; Don's Pioneer Uniforms $502.30 Cla; Double M Farms $2,000.00 Composting; Dowling, J $17.25 Tr; Eakes Office Plus $1,060.31 Various; Earl May Garden Center $37.00 Su; Ecolab $26.00 Su; Eileen's Colossal Cookies $11.00 Su; Eirich, T $40.00 Reim; Elliott Equipment $1,987.81 Various; Elvin Safety Supply $748.87 Rep; Engels, D $239.13 Tr; Envirotech $8,898.86 Su; Epson Store $208.40 Su; Expression Wear $233.00 Incentives; Fairbanks Int'l $1,380.56 Various; Fastenal $873.18 Various; Faz, A $2.35 Tr; Fedex $239.36 Pstg; FIMCO/Schaben $80.99 Inv; Flynn, B $15.00 Su; Fred Prior/Careertrack $376.80 Tr; Fremont Nat'l Bank $33,260.39 Ded; Frontier $762.20 Various; Gale Research $189.02 Bks; Galls' $161.93 Su; Glendenning, P $19.00 Reim; GovConnection $34.95 Su; Graham Tire $468.18 Inv; Grainger $126.24 Su; H&G Cleaners $264.57 Serv; H&H Distributors $308.50 Su; Hach $824.75 Rep; Hall Signs $598.56 Rep; Har WB Saunders $184.98 Su; Heil $412.80 Inv; Heiman Fire Equip $1,002.05 Various; Heinemann Library $71.19 Bks; Hobby-Lobby $21.55 Su; Holmes Plbg $1,892.82 Various; Home Depot $52.02 Su; Hometown Leasing $206.00 Rep; Howard's Glass $136.00 Bks; Huffy's Airport Windsocks $16.12 Rep; Hyatt Hotels Grand $437.98 Tr; ICMA RC $2,419.13 Ded; Image Watches $392.70 Su; IRS $77,720.58 Ded; Interstate Structures $189,014.02 Serv; Jack Lederman & Co $15.20 Su; Jacobsen, Orr, Nelson $71.25 Serv; Johnson, A $107.05 Tr; Junior Library Guild $99.00 Bks; K&K Parts $548.18 Inv; Ky Area Chamber of Commerce $2,013.00 Various; Ky Area Solid Waste Agency $62,685.25 Tipping Fees; Ky Area United Way $573.58 Ded; Ky Centre Assoc $6.50 Reim; Ky Concrete $3,072.90 Serv; Ky Cycling $50.00 Rep; Ky Glass $65.00 Various; Ky Implement $9,098.22 Various; Ky Tire & Auto $145.88 Inv; Ky Whse $166.84 Su; Ky Winlectric $14.77 Su; Ky Winnelson $314.39 Inv; Ky Yamaha $146.74 Rep; Kidwell Tech $2,862.52 Serv; Killion Motors $1,451.44 Various; Koetters, J $791.50 Tr; Krepel, J $82.11 Tr; Kuykendall, J $781.15 Tr; Kyocera Wireless $93.68 Equip; L&W Service Center $1,514.70 Various; Lab Safety Supply $167.45 Tools; Lang, L $500.00 Tr; Laser Art Design $230.00 Su; Lasertec of NE $52.50 Su; Lawson Products $190.09 Inv; LCL Truck Equip $831.00 Equip; Lerner Publishing $84.08 Bks; Library Book Selection $898.41 Bks; Lifeguard Store $116.00 Su; Lincoln Journal Star $66.62 Adv; Linweld $100.97 Various; Lisa's Instant Print $318.00 Su; Lovely Baby Music $64.95 Bks; Mail Express $63.48 Pstg; Making Fire $598.00 Su; Marchand, M $109.81 Tr; Marriott $230.05 Tr; Martinosky, M $60.00 Reim; Marushak, B $14.44 Cla; McLaughlin, S $200.00 Ins; Meteorlogix $1,428.00 Serv; MGS Tech. $125.01 Equip; MidAmerica Pay Phones $100.00 Serv; Midlands Contracting $200.00 Rental; Mid-Nebraska Aggregate $209.07 Su; Miller & Assoc $137,060.82 Serv; Miller Signs $588.00 Various; Modale C-ST $36.35 Tr; Moffett, R $200.00 Rep; Mossbarger, B $200.00 Ins; MPLA $63.00 Various; Mr. Automotive $1,911.87 Various; Municipal Supply $54,355.13 Inv; NAPA $1,685.99 Various; Nat'l Paper Supply $209.47 Su; Nat'l Waterworks $9,346.49 Inv; Nat'l Recreation & Park $420.00 Dues; NE Child Support $1,365.18 Ded; NE Dept of Revenue $22,957.48 Ded; NE Furniture $258.99 Equip; NPPD $46,084.77 Serv; NE Truck Center $41.18 Inv; NEland Distributors $284.50 Su; Networks Plus 2002 $445.00 Serv; Newman Traffic Signs $356.88 Signs; Newman's Sharpening $8.00 Serv; NLA Public Library Section $30.00 Tr; Nogg Chemical $346.26 Inv; Northern Safety $153.81 Su; Northgate Veterinary Clinic $61.00 Serv; Northwest Electric $33.59 Rep; Northwestern Energy $6,674.41 Serv; OCDEFT $95.00 Tr; Office Depot $1,503.06 Su; Office Max $576.93 Various; Officenet $1,891.06 Various; Olsen, C $17.25 Tr; O'Reilly $145.98 Inv; Oriental Trading $129.86 Su; Orscheln Farm $214.10 Various; Owen, K $187.20 Serv; Patterson, B $57.39 Pstg; PC Shade $34.90 Su; Pesticide Applicator $30.00 Su; Pet Kingdom $7.96 Inv; Physician's Desk Reference $59.95 Su; Pitney Bowes $331.25 Pstg; Pizza Hut $55.32 Su; Platte Valley Comm $1,256.95 Serv; Police Officers Assoc of Ne $490.00 Dues; Preferred Mail $101.06 Pstg; Presto-X $45.00 Rep; QA Balance $90.00 Rep; Radio Shack $127.96 Su; Radisson Hotels $446.96 Tr; Railroad Controls $3,312.14 Rep; Rdbldg Machine $798.20 Inv; Reams Sprinkler Supply $660.02 Su; Recognition Unlimited $8.90 Su; Recorded Books $879.90 Bks; Recreonics $37.49 Su; Red Hill General $27.94 Rep; Region 112 American Backflow $60.00 Tr; Ritter, M $45.00 Reim; Riverside Animal Hospital $1,029.25 Serv; Rocky Mountain $28.47 Su; Rourke Publishing $436.60 Bks; SA Foster Lumber $77.97 Su; Saathoff, J $113.01 Tr; Sahling Kenworth $259.53 Inv; Salix Total $34.00 Tr; Schall, J $31.25 Reim; Schloss Engineered Equip $840.19 Rep; School Dist #7 $1,788.35 Remittance; Sears $104.74 Various; See Clear Cleaning $1,800.00 Serv; S-F Analytical Lab $645.00 Serv; Shell Oil $24.83 Tr; Sherwin Williams $123.74 Rep; Shirt Shack $764.10 Su; Sign Center $40.00 Su; Signature Fencing $161.99 Su; Smithsonian Palm Coast $24.00 Bks; Snap-On Tools $169.95 Tools; Sporting Edge $68.00 Su; Springer Roofing $2,240.00 Rep; Sprint $101.50 Serv; State of NE DAS Comm $26.44 Serv; STMA $130.00 Dues; Super Shine Auto Wash $34.00 Serv; T&B Cleaning $1,100.00 Serv; T/L $85.43 Bks; Target $8.50 Rep; The $395.00 Su; Tollefsen Elliott Lumber $1,116.30 Various; Tomark Sports $341.36 Su; Tool Doctor $27.50 Rep; Top Hat Furniture $209.99 Equip; Tractor Supply $577.80 Various; Trembly, M $94.14 Tr; Tri-City Arena $330.00 Rental; Turner Body Shop $690.50 Rep; Uline $17.04 Su; Ulverscroft Large Print $464.01 Bks; Underground Const $490.00 Serv; Union 76 $12.73 Tr; United Air $467.50 Tr; USA Blue Book $76.76 Inv; USPS $1.98 Pstg; Van Diest Supply $2,812.11 Su; Village Cleaners $919.04 Various; Villager Courtyard $64.90 Su; Viter, T $130.00 Tr; Vogt, C $104.49 Tr; Walmart Supercenter $1,006.91 Various; Wilke Donovans True Value $203.41 Various; Wittek Golf Supply $517.64 Su; World Cycling $107.40 Bks; Xerox $341.63 Serv; Ziemba Roofing $140.00 Rep; Payroll Ending 03-22-2003 -- $223,848.30.  The foregoing schedule of claims is published in accordance with Section 19-1102 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska, and is published at an expense of $_________ to the City of Kearney.


3.         Approve Agreement for Purchase of Power with Dawson County Public Power District to provide three-phase power to run a pump in an existing groundwater well at the Kearney Area Solid Waste Agency Landfill and approve Resolution No. 2003-46.




            WHEREAS, at the time the Kearney Area Solid Waste Agency Landfill was being constructed, a well was constructed in order to provide water for the purpose of increasing the moisture content in clay soils being used to construct an impermeable liner in the landfill cells; and

            WHEREAS, at the time of construction of the Landfill, the contractor used a generator to power a temporary pump; and

            WHEREAS, Administration has recommended the installation of electricity and a permanent pump in order to use a 3,000 gallon truck mounted spray tank to control dust, add moisture to expedite composting and for limited fire protection; and

            WHEREAS, Dawson County Public Power District requires an Agreement for Purchase of Power in order to provide electrical service to the Landfill; and

            WHEREAS, the Kearney City Council finds that it is in the best interests of the City to approve and execute said Agreement.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the President and Council of the City of Kearney, Nebraska, that the President be and is hereby authorized and directed to execute the Agreement for Purchase of Power with Dawson County Public Power in order to secure electrical services to the Landfill, a copy of said Agreement, marked Exhibit “A”, is attached hereto and made a part hereof by reference.



ATTEST:                                                                       PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

                                                                                    AND EX-OFFICIO MAYOR



4.         Approve the request from David Crook, Fund Raiser Chairperson, Holy Cross Lutheran Church to paint addresses on the curbs in front of homes during the spring/summer of 2003.


5.         Approve the request from Kearney Centre Association to block off Central Avenue from 21st Street to 22nd Street on May 3, 2003 from 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for “Breakfast on the Bricks”.


6.         Approve the application for a Special Designated License submitted by DOUGLAS HOOS, dba “Tubs Pub” in connection with their Class C/K282 Liquor License to dispense beer, wine and distilled spirits in the Ag Pavilion at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds, 3807 Avenue N, on May 3, 2003 from 3:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. for a wedding dance.










Mayor Blankenship opened for discussion the bids received for the construction of the 2003 Part I Improvements consisting of Paving Improvement District No. 2002-868 for 39th Street from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue and to consider Resolution No. 2003-47 awarding the bid to Blessing, Inc. in the amount of $765,648.50.


Dave Mead from Miller & Associates presented this matter to the Council. As part of the 2002 Long Range Goals, Budget process, and the current One and Six Year Street Plan, the City Council approved Paving Improvement District No. 2002-868 (39th Street from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue).


Sealed bids for the 39th Street project were received on Tuesday, March 27, 2003 at 2:00 p.m.  The following three (3) bids were received:


                        Blessing, LLC                                                    $765,648.50

                        Diamond Engineering                                         $848,087.20

                        Paulsen, Inc                                                      $849,152.00


All proposals have been reviewed. No errors, omissions, or exceptions were noted. The work is scheduled to be done within 150 consecutive calendar days and also additionally be substantially complete on or before November 1, 2003.


The Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Construction Cost was $978,019.00. The low bid from Blessing, LLC is 21.7% below the Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Construction Cost. 


Moved by Zapata seconded by Blankenship to approve the bids received for the construction of the 2003 Part I Improvements consisting of Paving Improvement District No. 2002-868 for 39th Street from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue and approve Resolution No. 2003-47 awarding the bid to Blessing, Inc. in the amount of $765,648.50. Roll call resulted as follows: Aye: Blankenship, Buschkoetter, Kearney, Zapata. Nay: None. Hadley absent. Motion carried.




            WHEREAS, Miller & Associates Consulting Engineers have reviewed the sealed bids which were opened on March 27, 2003, at 2:00 p.m. for the 2003 Part I Improvements consisting of Paving Improvement District No. 2002-868 for 39th Street from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue; and

            WHEREAS, the Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Construction Cost for the project was $978,019.00; and

WHEREAS, the said engineers have recommended the bid offered by Blessing, LLC of Kearney, Nebraska in the sum of $765,648.50 be accepted as the lowest responsible bid.  

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the President and City Council of the City of Kearney, Nebraska that the Engineers recommendation is hereby accepted and approved, that Blessing, LLC of Kearney, Nebraska be and is the lowest responsible bidder for the 2003 Part I Improvements consisting of Paving Improvement District No. 2002-868 for 39th Street from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue to be constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications on file with the City Clerk and that the bid of Blessing, LLC of Kearney, Nebraska in the sum of $765,648.50 be and is hereby accepted.

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Construction Cost for the 2003 Part I Improvements consisting of Paving Improvement District No. 2002-868 for 39th Street from 22nd Avenue to 30th Avenue in the amount of $978,019.00 be and is hereby accepted.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the President of the Council of the City of Kearney, Nebraska, be and is hereby authorized and directed to execute contracts for such improvements in accordance with the bid, plans, specifications, and general stipulations pertaining thereto.



ATTEST:                                                           PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

                                                                        AND EX-OFFICIO MAYOR





Mayor Blankenship opened for discussion the Plans and Specifications for the Improvements for 39th Street and 11th Avenue Intersection and set the bid opening date for May 8, 2003 at 2:00 p.m.


Todd Pfitzer from Ehrhart Griffin & Associates Consulting Engineers presented this matter to the Council. As part of the 2003 Long Range Goals, Budget process, and the current One and Six Year Street Plan the City Council approved the installation of a traffic signal and left turn lanes at the intersection of 39th Street 11th Avenue.


The City is ready to advertise and receive bids for the construction of the aforementioned project. A letter from Todd Pfitzer requesting approval of the plans and specifications and to set the bid opening date for May 8, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. was presented to the Council.


The Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Construction Cost ranges between $450,000 and $750,000. The work involved is scheduled to begin after the close of the Kearney High School year and should be substantially complete and open to traffic before school opens for the next year (August 8, 2003).  Final completion is scheduled for September 30, 2003.


Moved by Blankenship seconded by Kearney to approve the Plans and Specifications for the Improvements for 39th Street and 11th Avenue Intersection and set the bid opening date for May 8, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. Roll call resulted as follows: Aye: Blankenship, Kearney, Zapata, Buschkoetter. Nay: None. Hadley absent. Motion carried.




Mayor Blankenship opened for discussion the Kearney Park and Recreation Fund Policy and consider adjusting all Park and Recreation activities and to consider Resolution No. 2003-48.


Director of Park & Recreation Neal Lewis, and Recreation Superintendent Scott Hayden presented this matter to the Council. Periodically, Administration adjusts its fees. The Kearney Park and Recreation Advisory Board and staff are recommending an increase in fees for a number of activities and usages. The increased fees are an attempt to provide additional user-generated revenue.


The Park and Recreation Board and staff are proposing a fee increase for all Park and Recreation activities. Administration is proposing these changes to provide a funding mechanism to help pay for park improvements. In theory, we are proposing a “user fee” similar to the fees charged for users of the utilities department services.  Funds from the increased fees will go into a development account to help fund park and recreation projects outside the lid. 


Charging additional fees to hands-on users of the resource seems logical since they directly benefit from the enhanced facility. Tax dollars will always be needed to provide the basic park amenities and programs. Administration and the Park Board realize that revenue is limited and offer this proposal as a way to help with the funding solution. The new Park and Recreation program and facility fee would generate approximately $25,000/year for the Park Development Fund.


Director of Park & Recreation stated that there is a flaw in our system partly because Kearney is so good at what it does.  In many communities, when you talk about Park & Recreation, the recreation division runs a lot of the athletic associations.  In running those associations, they charge fees which helps defray some of their costs.  Kearney has outstanding user groups and volunteers that run many of the programs.  This is an area that the City could garner revenue from, but never had to which is great.  Again the user groups have supported the parks across the board.  In the past, the City could look at funds from the General Fund to do improvements and to maintain the parks, but now the City is under a lid.  As this lid tightens down and Kearney grows, there is such a small amount of money that is available and Park and Recreation is the area that really gets crunched.   


The Park Board then asked if there is another mechanism, outside the lid, that can be used to match money to do these facilities.  This is where this proposal came from.  He thinks that there are some users saying, “We’ve already helped and you’re trying to double-dip on us.”  The actual intent is to get a mechanism that will help the Council, because Park and Recreation does not want to be part of the problem, they want to be part of the solution.  This is the reason that they get grants and have brought this proposal that will bring in funding outside the lid and make everyone’s job easier to run the Park & Recreation Department. 


He stated that they don’t want to run the user group’s programs.   They don’t want to take money from them, which is part of the misconception.  They do need to find a way to fund these facilities.  They won’t stop trying to find donations and grants, but are presenting this as another mechanism. 


Recreation Superintendent Scott Hayden addressed the Council on the aquatic fees.  He stated that the proposed swimming pool fees use a little different terminology than in the past.  There is an explanation under season passes how often it would need to be used to make the cost worthwhile based on a 90-day season.  Daily fees have been changed to session fees because they will be open twice a day to the general public, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. They arrived at the costs by comparing to a number of other pools in cities approximately Kearney’s size across Nebraska.  The differences were length of season (Kearney is open the longest from Memorial Day to Labor Day), different amenities, number of pools, hours and length of day, so there were no exact matches. 


Centennial Pool will be open June 7th through September 1st; however, after this year both pools will be open on Memorial Day.  The proposal is to alternate years which pool stays open through Labor Day because the demand drops after school starts.  Harmon Pool will close August 24th this year.  Centennial and Harmon Pools will be open the same hours which is different than in the past.  Swimming will be between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m. weeknights and weekends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Red Cross swim lessons are held in the morning and between 5:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m.  Swim team is also in the morning. 


When the waterslide was installed in 1989, there was a need to keep track of the revenue generated from it, and therefore a $1.00 was charged to use it in addition to admission. The money generated from the waterslide is about $12,000 to $15,000 per year, which has been put into the Aquatic Development Fund.  It has been used for unexpected pool maintenance, but has not been needed for the past few years.  To replace that, they are proposing to do a 15 percent increase instead of the two fees.  Other changes include a change in the age groups, offering punch cards, and a special on Friday nights.


Season pass fees are:  child $30, youth $60, adult $90, seniors $60.  Small family (2-4 people) $140 and large family (5+ people) $165.  For additional savings, there would be an early purchase option for season passes at the same time the registration brochures are sent out on April 25th.  These could be purchased at the Park and Recreation office or over the phone with Visa or Mastercard and the passes would be mailed.  This will help eliminate standing in line at the pool to purchase season tickets and large deposits for seasonal help.


Council member Zapata asked how the revenue from the new fees is going to be monitored to see if it is successful.  Recreation Superintendent responded that at the end of each year, the total number of passes sold in each category will be calculated.  This would be a good way to make a comparison.  He hopes that these fees will be good for another 15 years.  The last time rates were adjusted was in 1989 with the waterslide.


Council member Buschkoetter stated that if you spread this increase out over the last 15 years, this is not much of an adjustment.  However, this is a considerable jump from last year’s fee.  He suggested that they might want to reevaluate these fees more often than every 15 years.  He asked about the process to determine the fee of children versus adult.  Recreation Superintendent responded this is determined for the most part by tradition and comparing to other cities in the Kearney area.


Recreation Superintendent stated further that the only other fees associated with the pool are from Red Cross.  Red Cross operates swim lessons and pays $2.00 per swimmer every two weeks.  This fee remains the same that it has been for the past 10+ years.  Swim team works the same way.  Payment for lifeguards in 1989 was $4.50-$4.75 per hour and now it is $6.50 to start so that also needs to be taken into consideration.


Director of Park & Recreation stated that they haven’t changed its fees in any of the facilities about as long as aquatics.  They are looking at increasing the fees for renting the activity center, and doing the same type of thing as the aquatic fees.  However, these fees will all be combined into one development fund so that when things need repaired and the City needs matching money outside the lid, there is the capability to have some funds.  They have painted the pool, fixed filters and the heater and it was not a budget breaker because the money was already there from the users. 


The fee for using the activity center, the lodge, and the shelters is going up $5.00 a time so the revenue to the general fund is not going to change significantly.  The perpetual care fund at the cemetery has been a success.  As people use our facilities, they are asked to put money aside to take care of the facility.  This is very common in cemeteries.  The same type of idea was used at Yanney Park with the endowment process.  This is an area to apply some old precedence and some new and to give some alternative ideas. 


Looking at the parks, there are miscellaneous events that are charged for, such as the amphitheater at Harmon Park and Cottonmill, the tennis courts for private groups wanting to come in without the public, use of the ball fields for other than City leagues.  These are special events for private use other than our general users.


Soccer and fast pitch use City facilities, and they charge a fee and do a great job.  We charge a minimum amount to compensate the people who maintain the fields. When a group is using a City facility and is charging an entry fee and is going to make a significant profit because they are also charging for a gate and concessions, the proposal is that part of the money is requested to be given back.  This money can be used to put back into the facility and improve it.  He believes that all of their user groups have a good cash reserve of varying amounts.  As long as he has been here, no group except adult slow pitch softball has had to pay a fee to use the park facilities.  The City maintains the fields and scoreboards.   We have great facilities, and user groups have helped tremendously to do these, but the proposal is that some of the youth organizations pay $1.00 per participant to help with those expenses outside the lid to continue providing these services. 


The user groups are Little League, girl’s softball, soccer league, the Diesel Youth Football, Legion Baseball, the Tennis Association, and UNK.  All of these people benefit from these facilities and the situation is changing. 


Of the adult athletic associations, Kearney Slow Pitch Softball has paid $3.00 per game per team and the City lines and takes care of their fields.  They generate about $4,000 per year and they have paid that from the beginning.  They are the only ones that have paid other than the KTA tournaments many years ago.  This money has gone toward improvements at Harvey Park, new infields, fences, dugouts, and backstops.  So if there is concern, he encouraged people to talk to the Slow Pitch Association to see how this has worked for them.  They have also donated money for improvements. 


The City is not going to charge youth and adult tournaments doing fundraisers. The City is not going to put its associations under the gun to take money away from them when they are trying to do things to bring people into community.  When their main emphasis is to raise money for their association, he believes that it is only fair that they share a part of that.  Regarding the concessions, groups who make considerable money with concessions will be asked to put part of it back in the parks.  The electricity is paid for them and the City does the upkeep and they have not been charged in the past.  He does not believe that $25 is not out of line.  The bottom line is $25,000 is not a lot, but if that does not need to be spent one year than the next year there will be $50,000.  By matching that $50,000 with a Land and Water Grant then there is $100,000 for lights or a restroom or other things needed.  


Council member Kearney asked if all the user groups had been presented with this proposal as he believes that communication is very important.  He had been approached by a league member, who said he was not aware of it until he read it in the paper.  Director of Park & Recreation responded that earlier this year, they had a user meeting and presented this proposal.  Other than men’s fast pitch softball all user groups were there and they were told that it would be presented to Council.  Everyone was given a copy at that time and told that it would not be effective this year, since everyone already had budgets in place.  Approximately a month ago, Don Carpenter from Little League was the only one that stated his board had some concerns.   He stated that other than that he has not had anyone else approach him or the Park Board. 


Mayor Blankenship stated he was having a hard time with the $1.00 per player.  He said it’s not that he doesn’t agree with the concept, but for example, he would feel uncomfortable charging the Tops soccer kids, who are physically and mentally challenged a $1.00 per season.  He also knows that you can’t charge everyone else and not charge them.


City Manager Allen Johnson stated that actually what they are looking at is $25,000.  This proposal is intended to come up with non-lid dollars to continue to expedite that kind of funding.  With the wonderful user groups and the monies that they have put up, the question probably is “why don’t we just raise taxes?”    The legislature has done two things; they have saddled us with this spending lid and have made it so complicated that it’s difficult to explain.


The Council could raise taxes – Kearney is at 11 cents and could go to 45 cents, but that doesn’t do any good because we can’t spend it.  The other issue is the spending lid. Funds can be spent for the parks to build infrastructure, but not for improvements. There is a question of referendums regarding park improvements for some of these things.  Parks, from the statutory standpoint, are very limited.  


Council member Buschkoetter asked for clarification of what is under the lid.  Director of Finance Wendell Wessels stated that an improvement is to put in a new pool, add lights at the park, or replace a restroom. Landscaping, such as reseeding an infield, is operational maintenance and is under the lid.


Council member Zapata stated this is an innovative approach to take and very creative. He believed that the amount of information presented was more than could be digested at one time.  There are a lot of things that come into play with user groups, etc. and perhaps needs more discussion.


Councilman Buschkoetter said he has been on the Slow Pitch Board going on the fourth year and has played for 10 years.  The team has paid the $3.00 all the way through without complaint as far as he is aware.  He thinks that it makes sense that those who use the facilities should be helping to pay for it.  As a parent, he would have no objection to paying an extra $1.00 on the registration fee to the softball league for his daughter.  He wants to make sure that she has good playing fields now and that her children will have good facilities in the future.  So he believes this would be a way for this generation to help out the next.


John Bancroft, member of the Park & Recreation Advisory Board, stated that he has been on the Park Board for 23 years and this has been a problem virtually forever. Most of the funding that Park & Recreation have gotten was from grants and donations.  The reason those things were in the bond issue last year was because there was no other way to finance it, get around the lid, and get a lot of things done that needed to be accomplished.  He said he does not blame anyone for what happened in the past, but the problem is still here, which is what they are trying to solve.  Parks do not have fees and that’s what they’re trying to establish.  He doesn’t want to put any more tax on anyone.  Users are paying for their utilities as are users of every other type of department service, and he sees no reason the users cannot be helping to pay for this.  He believes fees are the fairest way.


Brian Johnson, Legion Baseball, 3422 Avenue N, stated he coaches Kearney Knights Legion Baseball at Memorial Field.  He said he has known Neal Lewis for about 16-17 years and believes that Kearney has a great park system and the staff does a great job.  Their organization is a little different than the majority of the other user programs because they basically take care of the field.  They do not do the mowing and there are automatic sprinklers, but they do get fields ready for games and also on the weekends if there are tournaments. The other legion program got the batting cage, built the concession stand and press box, their legion helped retire the debt on the old scoreboard in order to get the new one.  There have been a whole lot of improvements by both legions to invest dollars into their field. 


Considering the $1.00 per player would amount to about $200 a year, which is not a lot.  He believes where it might cause a problem is because in the past their user group has raised money and pumped money back into their field.  There are other user groups that have not contributed as much as they have and so that might be something to consider.  He speculated that there are about 900 kids involved in Little League and about that many in soccer and that cost might be difficult for them to budget.  He said that he believes that the Park & Recreation system in Kearney is probably the best in the state.  He said it is not the issue of $200.  The concession stand was built at Memorial with funds from the other legion program, so the $25 rental fee should not be applicable.  He strongly urged the Council to give a lot of thought to these fees. 


Don Carpenter, President of Little League, 2021 14th Avenue, stated they also have a great relationship with the Park & Recreation Department and they do an outstanding job.  Kearney has great fields and great facilities.  They believe certain elements of this proposal from Park & Recreation represents new taxes and on that basis they are fundamentally opposed to it.  They are especially opposed to the $1.00 per player user fee.


Kearney Little League uses the Activity Center at Harmon Park.  The activity center is a closed center and the pool is also a closed center.   Everyone that uses those facilities pays for them.  He does not believe this is the case with ball fields. Little League certainly uses those facilities.  There are many other groups that will not be charged under this proposal for their use of the facility.  As a coach at the new fields at West Lincolnway, he has seen the damage that is done to those fields.   After leaving a game in the evening and returning the next day, he knows that the general public is doing some of that damage.  A number of times there have been groups from outside of Kearney who were there to play a friendly game as well as other Kearney people.  There are other groups using those fields that would not be taxed accordingly.


In addition to Little League, competitive baseball teams, football teams, etc. benefit from those lights for which Little League helped raise the money.  In addition to raising that money they put in $25,000 from their building fund for those lights.  Little League does not have any surplus in their funds.  Their funds are set aside for scholarships for disadvantaged families, sportsmanship awards, and a building fund.  They are gradually paying back that building fund.  As a user group, it looks like Little League budget will be funding a scorers’ and announcers’ booth at West Lincolnway in addition to funds that they will raise for the project.  This will not be out the City’s budget; the City will put in some labor and materials.   He agrees that the user fee of $1.00 is not much, but he believes it represents a new tax.  


Council member Buschkoetter stated he would never question the Little Leagues’ contribution to the community.  He asked to play the devil’s advocate regarding the closed facility versus the open facility.  He pointed out that while they are using a field, that is your field for that time and another group cannot come in and supercede that.  Also, those fields are marked for games verses kids from Axtell or Pleasanton, who might want to play on their own.  Even though Mr. Carpenter called it a tax, he believed that it could be called a user fee because the facility is closed during those times to other groups.


Mr. Carpenter responded that in his definition that a user fee is a tax if it goes to government operations.  He agreed that the Little League benefits from those fields existing.  On the other hand, those fields would not exist if there was not the demand generated by the Little League program.  He said the two new fields at West Lincolnway are in direct response to increased demand.  The damage and repair work that must be done comes from other users as well.  The City does an outstanding job of preparing the fields before the games, which they appreciate.  It is not just on marked fields that wear and tear occurs.  If there were a way to charge all users for those facilities, they would be less opposed.  He does not see a way to make that happen, short of locking fences around the fields to keep those that do not pay out. 


Mayor Blankenship stated since it appeared that they could not reach an agreement on the fees at this time and the fact that they would not be effective until next year, he proposed that this portion of the resolution be tabled.  Since the season ticket issue needed to be addressed right away, he proposed looking at the aquatic rates component at this time. 


Mayor Blankenship stated that regarding the $1.00 user fee, there needs to be more discussion and feedback from user groups.


Moved by Kearney seconded by Buschkoetter to approve adjusting the aquatic fees and approve Resolution No. 2003-48. Roll call resulted as follows: Aye: Blankenship, Zapata, Buschkoetter, Kearney. Nay: None. Hadley absent. Motion carried.




            WHEREAS, the Advisory Board of Park and Recreation has recommended to the City Council to establish a Park and Recreation Fund to provide funding for significant park infrastructure projects; and

            WHEREAS, the Advisory Board of Park and Recreation has recommended to the City Council to adjust all park and recreation activities with such funds to be placed in the Park and Recreation Fund; and

            WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the operation and administration of the Park and Recreation Department to establish a Park and Recreation Fund to provide funding for significant park infrastructure projects and to adjust all park and recreation activities.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the President and Council of the City of Kearney, Nebraska, that the 2003 Swimming Pool Admission Fees, a copy marked Exhibit “A”, the 2003 Length of Season and Pool Hours, a copy marked Exhibit “B”, and the 2003 Swimming Pool Admission Fees and Development Fund, a copy marked Exhibit “C”, are attached hereto and made a part hereof, be and are hereby approved.



ATTEST:                                                                       PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

                                                                                    AND EX-OFFICIO MAYOR





There were no Open Account Claims.








Moved by Kearney seconded by Buschkoetter that Council adjourn at 9:14 p.m. Roll call resulted as follows: Aye: Blankenship, Buschkoetter, Kearney, Zapata. Nay: None. Hadley absent. Motion carried.


                                                                                    BRUCE L. BLANKENSHIP

                                                                                    PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

                                                                                    AND EX-OFFICIO MAYOR