Economic development issues were a huge part of the meeting; the council approved a zoning ordinance amendment; water and sewer department projects completed; and more.
Upon the third and final reading of an ordinance amendment at last night's Ogallala City Council meeting, there was some slight dissension in the council.
The amendment would allow a process for landowners to place utility structures, such as garages, as primary use structures on residential-zoned lots in the city of Ogallala. Councilman Stacey Bauer said he was concerned that the amendment would essentially provide for "spot-zoning". Other council members referred to language in the ordinance that requires adjoining property owners be notified of a possible structure, the property owner to obtain approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission as well as the Ogallala City Council, and the structure to be used for non-commercial purposes.
The ordinance ultimately passed with a 4-1 vote.
In addition, the council accepted Certificates of Substantial Completion on two projects involving the water and sewer department.
One project involved installing an Ultraviolet Disinfection System at the Wastewater Treatment Plant - a system that upgrades the city's ability to destroy pathogens and other bacteria that contaminates wastewater. The other project involved installing Variable Frequency Drives at three well pumps in Ogallala's north water well field - a project that began in 2008. The drives, according to the engineer on the project, save the city money with regards to use of power when the pumps are operating. The project also included installing depth meters to help keep the pumps, installed within close proximity to each other, from over-pumping the well.
In way of economic development, the council accepted a check from Keith County Area Development via Scotty's Potties' purchase of two lots at the North Business Park. The business has purchased the land for $25,000 and hopes to be operating from the new location this summer.
In addition, the council approved releasing all city liens on the Plaza Inn Motel property on East First Street in downtown Ogallala. The Ogallala Community Redevelopment Authority, or CRA, has purchased the property - a property that has had numerous liens placed on it by the city for grounds maintenance due to the property owner's negligence, a property owner that lives a long distance away. The city plans to explore options of what to do with the property and what kind of a price tag those options carry.
Lastly, in the realm of economic development, the council approved some housekeeping measures with regards to the downtown revitalization project. The measures release the funds for the project, most of which were obtained through a grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, to the West Central Nebraska Development District - the agency administering the project.
In other council news, Mayor Buck Bassett read three separate proclamations. The first proclaims May 1 as Loyalty Day, a day founded by patriots and implemented by Congress as a day to reaffirm our allegiance to our nation, fly the flag, participate in our democracy, and learn more about our country's quote, "grand story of courage and simple dream of dignity."
The second proclaimed the week of April 29 through May 5 as Municipal Clerks Week, a week recognizing the Ogallala City Clerk for his/her service to the city. This year's designation holds increased significance due to Ogallala City Clerk Jane Skinner's recognition as the Municipal Clerk of the Year for First Class Cities in Nebraska this year. In the past four years, Jane has assumed the role of Interim City Manager twice - overseeing daily operations of the City of Ogallala both times.
The third proclaimed May 3 as the 61st Annual National Day of Prayer, a day recognized nationally for all Americans of all faiths to join in united prayer to acknowledge our dependence on God, to give thanks for blessings received, to request healing for wounds endured, and to ask God to guide our leaders and bring wholeness to the U.S. and her citizens. This year's theme is "one nation under God", based on Psalm 33:12, and will be recognized through various events across the country - including a prayer at Hoke's Cafe in Ogallala the morning of May 3.
The next Ogallala City Council meeting will be held at 7:30pm on Tuesday, May 8, at the city administration building.
(Copyright 2012 by Clear Channel Ogallala. All Rights Reserved.)