By Scott Bidroski
The Rushville City Council met for their regular monthly meeting on Monday, August 28 beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Council members that were present included Mayor Amanda Haller, Curt Gilchrist, Clint Anderson, Mark Loosvelt, and Shelby Milliken. No members were absent.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all in attendance before the July meeting minutes were approved. The Council then approved the Treasurer’s Report for July as well.
There were no public comments on non-agenda items.
A phone call was made to Adam Kurowski in order to discuss a vacated road.
Kurowski lives out of the area but owns property in Rushville. The property that he discussed in on 6th street.
He stated that he was told the road has been vacated officially by Sheridan County and he was asking the Council what that means if he tries to sell it.
It was noted that the records for the vacating of the road were not located.
City Attorney Jamian Simmons was present and recommended that the Council and landowners start from scratch and find out what steps, if any, have been taken before moving forward with any actions.
A discussion also occurred between Kurowski and the neighboring landowner, Chuck Hinn. There were concerns about how the property line would be divided up and whether an existing tree line would be in jeopardy.
The two decided that a possible in person meet up at the property lines would be a good plan.
Some more research and communication was agreed upon to help this issue moving forward.
An update on how many new many water meters have been installed throughout town.
Kirk Beguin told the Council that they are installing them whenever they have free time.
The goal is to finish the installation of new water meters by 2024.
The Council moved into Budget discussions.
Everything is about done according to Mayor Haller with some numbers still needing to come from Parkview Lodge.
Those numbers were expected soon and then the budget can be completed and be ready for review.
The current Board of Health Ordinance was then reviewed in the meeting.
City Attorney Simmons chimed in on the subject, going over what is currently in place and how it works with nuisance properties and legal action that can be pursued.
She added in where the Council could improve the process to make it more streamlined and feasible.
The Council is going to look at other communities Ordinances and how they handle situations like this and then put together what they would like to do in the future for Rushville.
Loosvelt volunteered to compile all the thoughts and present them to Simmons for the writing of the revised Ordinances.
An update on the repairs on the Library was presented to the Council.
The Library Board delivered a list of some concerns about the project and the status of how they look. The Board wants to know if those projects are complete or if more work needed to be done.
The Council suggested that the Library Board should go to Fuller Construction with their concerns.
Kris House was present to represent the Cemetery Board.
She had some questions about how the budget is created and Mayor Haller said everything needs to be ready in August.
She added that the individual who puts the budget together calls them and usually sets a meeting very quickly after that initial call making it very hard to predict when the meeting will occur.
The Council commented that process needs to changed and they need more time to prepare for a meeting. They feel that the company they are utilizing is being paid for this service and they need to provide more time to prepare for a meeting. If they could not accommodate that, they would look for a new company to provide the service.
House also discussed that the Cemetery Board has looked at surrounding areas and what they charge for their services. She noted that an update may be coming for the Council to review on those charges.
Karla Ruleau was present on behalf of the Modisett Park Board to return monies back to the Sink-Or-Swim fund.
The amount is about $20,000 or so. She feels that since they did not use these monies, they should be transferred back.
It was confirmed this could be done with a transfer.
The Council discussed the amount and some of the timelines for projects at the Rushville Pool. Details were provided and the Council approved the transfer.
More discussion occurred between the Park Board, Cemetery Board, and the Council. Topics revolved around how much work the city employees should be doing for the Boards and how to make it all work for all parties.
The Council next approved Mike Hazledine to become the newest member of the Library Board.
The 90 day review for City Clerk Shauna Smith was the next agenda item.
The Council discussed Smith’s performance so far and what she has been working on. The Council approved a $3 per hour raise for Smith, raising her hourly wage to $19.00 an hour.
The possible purchase of a Golf Simulator was then brought up to the Council.
Clay Brehmer from the Golf Course is making the request to have this option for revenue during the winter months.
The Council discussed the impact this may have on the revenue streams but did ask some questions about cost and return on investment. They also mentioned that they would love to have had a representative from the Golf Board to discuss this in the meeting.
The next agenda item was the addition of a new full time city employee.
Longtime employee Stuart Kozal is set to have a procedure and is planning to retire following it. The Council agreed to start the replacement process.
An advertisement is going to be placed to help fill that position.
The topic of the City of Rushville helping pay for the addition of a School Resource Officer for Gordon-Rushville Public Schools was next on the agenda.
Seth Tausan, GRPS School Board member, was present to speak with the Council on the matter.
Tausan gave the Council a rundown on how the SRO process began once again and what has been happening recently.
He mentioned that they had a budget meeting for next year’s budget and talked about allocating some funds for the program but not a set amount. It was noted that it was for next school year, not the one in session currently.
The City of Gordon is currently covering the entire cost for this year with the hope that the City of Rushville would be able to help defer some of the costs.
Tausan was asked if the school does not secure a grant for the next school year, what would happen? He stated that the program would probably go to the wayside.
Councilman Gilchrist made a motion to participate in the funding of the SRO program. The exact number that would be provided was discussed and the number was set at $20,000.
Councilman Anderson stated that if the school is not willing to invest any of their own money and relies strictly on grants, that is a very, very telling statement about how they feel about the program.
He added that since we have no commitment from the school to fund this beyond the one year, that tells you everything you need to know about how the school feels about the program.
Councilwoman Milliken agreed with Anderson and she feels the $20,000 is too much to give to the school for a program they do not want to budget for.
The motion from Gilchrist did not receive a second and died in voting.
The Council elected to not table the matter until next month and will not help with funding the program.
They did note that there was not a motion on the matter and if the school approached them again, they would continue discussing the matter.
The next agenda item was the growth factor on property tax.
Mayor Haller noted that the City of Rushville did not move forward with it the year previous.
Each year the Council does not move forward with it, the cost goes up annually.
If the Council moves forward with the matter, postcards would be sent out to taxpayers and a public hearing date would be set.
The Council decided to move forward with the process and set the public hearing for further discussion.
It was noted that the Council did not vote to approve this matter, just to open a public hearing on the matter to receive feedback.
Mayor Haller then told the Council that there are four new stop signs put up throughout town.
The stop signs were helped by a $2,500 donation from Panhandle Public Health.
David Blanco, the Grant Manager from Panhandle Area Development District (PADD).
Blanco went over with the Council on the services and grants that PADD can offer the community and the City of Rushville.
He highlighted several items that were discussed during the meeting that PADD may be able to help with.
The fee was discussed that is charged to the City of Rushville for being a member of PADD.
Blanco noted that it is .88 cents per capita and there is an allotment of 8 hours to begin the fiscal year, a charge of $70 per hour is assessed for any hours of work beyond that.
The Council thanked Blanco for his time spent in the meeting.
The bills were presented next and were approved by the Council without much discussion.
With no further business, the Council adjourned the meeting at 8:24 p.m.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 25 at 6:00 p.m.