David City residents can expect the property tax levy in the City to stay the same, at .5%.
The City of David City Council approved its budget for the upcoming year at its regular meeting Sept. 9. There are noticeably fewer expenditures in this budget as compared to the last two years.
Under the approved budget, the city is expected to spend approximately $15 million over the course of the year.
In an interview with the Banner-Press, City Administrator Clayton Keller said the city has been working over the last two years to complete downtown improvement and wastewater treatment plant projects. Those are finished now, so expenses have gone down.
“Although, they are still higher than four or five years ago because things naturally get more expensive as time goes on,” Keller said.
The City doesn’t have any big-ticket items lined up for the upcoming year, Keller noted, but there are some smaller projects on the docket.
“One thing we are budgeting for is a wellhead protection study. Our planning commission has been dealing with that,” Keller said.
To help pay for the study, the City submitted a grant application to the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. Keller said he learned the City’s application was approved on Sept. 10.
The wellhead protection study will help city officials determine the best way to update and care for its water.
“Another thing we are budgeting for is to replace water mains around the Third Street area," Keller said. "I was hoping to get it done this year – I think we all were – but we focused on water valves."
During the council meeting, Interim Water Superintendent Aaron Gustin said the water valve replacements have been completed. The valves allow city employees to shut off the flow of water while doing maintenance work.
It’s hard, Keller said, to replace the water mains if the water cannot be shut off.
Additionally, Mayor Alan Zavodny touched on the recent deaths of two City of McCook Wastewater Treatment Plant employees.
The bodies of the employees were found in the pumphouse at the McCook plant on Sept. 6 after one of them failed to return home following a routine check of the facilities.
“We have an almost identical building to where those individuals were found,” Keller said. “So we’re making sure that there are no less than two people in that building at a time.”
The Council also discussed a preliminary estimate from Bierman Contracting to install a cable system and lighting in the downtown square. Bierman estimated the maximum cost of the project could be approximately $94,000.
Council members objected to the high cost, which made them question whether the downtown lights will be possible this year.
The City is taking care of organizing and implementing holiday lights in the downtown square.
Former council member Skip Trowbridge, who is staying on in an advisory capacity until his seat on the council is filled in the November election, suggested the City open up the issue up to a community fundraising effort through the city office.
“It really would surprise me if this community would not wrap their arms around it becoming something special in the Christmas season after last year,” Trowbridge said.
Zavodny questioned whether the City can do that, and the matter was tabled until the next City Council meeting on Sept. 23 while the City looked into its options.
Keller expressed concern that if the Council doesn’t decide on a course of action soon, there will not be enough time to find a group to put the lights up.
Council member Bruce Meysenburg voiced a similar concern, that if the City skips the lights this year the project will likely lose all its momentum.
In other news, Jeff and Cathy Klug have emptied the Chauncey House, 715 N. Fourth St. The house was left derelict by its previous owners, the Treats.
Earlier this year the Klugs won a bid for the contents of the house in exchange for clearing it out. Due to the dire condition of the house and its contents, that process has taken longer than expected.
“All they have left is the garage,” Keller said. “He wants to get that done sooner rather than later because he has harvest coming.”
Council member Pat Meysenburg said the Klugs didn’t have enough dumpster space to put the last of the garbage from the house, which is why they were not able to finish clearing out the garage.
In other business, Zavodny noted that the number of COVID-19 cases has reached 100 in Butler County.
“One hundred is a milestone that we should probably note. It’s still here, we can’t proceed like it’s not,” Zavodny said.
Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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