November 11, 2009

The Union Village Board met in regular session on Nov. 11, 2009.  The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. at the ALA Hall.  The Open Meeting Laws were displayed.  On roll call: T. McClane, K.Kahland, and Chipman, Brown to arrive later.  J McClane was out of town.

Minutes of previous meeting were reviewed and were approved with a request to clarify that the fire roster need only be posted once a year when our insurance policy is renewed.  A motion was made by Chipman and 2nd by Kahland, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Kahland– Aye, Chipman – Aye.  Motion approved.

Claims and Accounts were presented with the addition of 2 loans that are paid by electronic funds transfer each month. Noted accounts were discussed for payment. Chipman made a motion to approve payment of listed accounts.  2nd by Kahland.  Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Kahland – Aye, Chipman – Aye.  Motion approved.  

Nov. 11, 2009

NPPD           FIREBARN*     $       52.50    
AREA LIGHT RENTAL     $       17.76     
BALLFIELD**     $       44.70     
WATER PUMP     $     327.73     
FIREBARN (TOWN BLDG)     $       16.32     
NEW TOWER  (WATER)     $       16.32     
TRAFFIC LIGHT     $       16.32     
AREA LIGHT RENTAL     $         7.28     
STREETLIGHTS     $     394.95     
NEW SEWER PUMP     $       41.49     
ALA HALL     $       28.34    
NE PUBLIC HEALTH ENV LAB     $       194.00   WATER TESTS    
ALLIED REFUSE     $     1167.17     
WINDSTREAM  OFFICE     $         65.07    
WINDSTREAM  FIRE     $         87.35     
MELISSA HANSEN      $       600.27   CLERK SALARY    
JOHNSONS GAS N GO     $       498.38   UVFR  45.00    
EMS BILLING     $         49.44       
DEPT. OF LABOR       $         50.00   LATE FILING FEES    
DAKOTA PUMP INC                                         $       114.55   REPAIR PARTS FOR LIFT STA    
NE DEPT. OF REVENUE     $         69.56   SALES TAXES    
MEESKE HARDWARE     $         46.15    
GREAT PLAINS ONE CALL     $           3.03   DIGGERS HOTLINE    
ALLIED RECYCLING     $     1248.75    
POLITICAL LOAN     $       265.64   RESCUE SQUAD    
WATKINS TRUE VALUE             $         56.34    
JOHN’S TRACTOR SHOP     $         32.30   TRACTOR PARTS    

Two letters of correspondence were discussed.  NDOR sent a form for us to fill out regarding the certification of our Street Superintendent.  Clerk was instructed to send it to Dave Taladay to fill in his certification information.  The village received an Annexation Survey from the US Census Bureau.  The packet was passed on to T. McClane to go over and fill out.

The Village Managers report was given by S. McWha.   He reported that the village used 853,000 gallons of water the month of October averaging 27,516 gallons per day.  The lift station ran for 60 hours, around 2 hours per day.  Water was tested and nitrates will be tested later this month.  The concession area was winterized and water turned off to public restrooms.  McWha brought town truck to Larsen’s in NE City to get a quote for front end and door repair.  He was quoted $400 to fix front U-Joint and weld an internal component in the door to fix inside latch.  The board decided not to move forward with the repair right now due to low finances and the amount of repairs done recently to that truck.  McWha stated that the Village Manager’s job requires a truck to get back into unimproved areas to maintain water and sewer and snow removal. Truck is usable as is out of 4 wheel drive.  Chipman stated that board is looking at the option to hire a 1099 employee for Village Manager come March 2010 after McWha leaves, in which case the new hire would provide his/her own vehicle.  McWha repaired lid to lifting station and a new motor is to be installed the upcoming week.  McWha stated that the pump doesn’t run correctly on automatic even though auto sensor switches were replaced last year.
McWha proposed that the village pay him half his salary ($750) per month to provide water and sewer maintenance services until March.  Water and sewer duties require paperwork and tests and amounts to approximately 10 – 15 hours per week.  He stated also that he will put in bid of $250 a snowfall to remove it and the typical rate for snow removal is $50 per hour.  McClane said the board will consider his offer and convene at a later date to vote on McWha’s salary.

Fire and Rescue reported 1 fire call and 1 rescue call.  Louise turned in bill for 69.92 for supplies to be paid for December.  Board brought up the financial feasibility to maintain fire and rescue in Union.  There are only 3 active EMT’s that go on all fire and rescue calls due to certification class postponement.  The village is required to support our rescue function 100%.  The Volunteer Fire Dept. support is shared equally with the Rural Fire Board.  T.  McClane states that the Rescue portion pays for itself.  We receive monies for each call directly deposited into our account by EMS billing.  Our squad is currently in mutual aid with the Nehawka squad.  The possibility of proposing a merger with Murray was discussed due to their larger tax base and their ability to fund themselves.

The Parks and Recreation Committee reported that they have been approved for a grant by “Game Time”.  Seyler reported that the grant is shared 50/50 and would require the village to match $10,500.  They have already raised $2,500 toward the playground and as long as the paperwork is filed by Nov. 16th there is no time limit on using or raising the funds. Two thousand dollars is set aside for the rock and should be brought in soon.  Seyler also said that Nehawka is helping in our grant search with Peter Kewitt.  A Peter Kewitt grant was instrumental in the buying and installation of the Nehawka playground.

The first new item for discussion was the location of a new burn pile.  The only option would be to talk to the Klein’s about renting some of their land to use as a burn pile.  Bescheinen said that we can burn our own yard waste on our own properties, within reason.  It can burned in a barrel or in a pit or bonfire with a grate.  

Residents are complaining about a lot of noise and activity at night coming from Bescheinen’s Rock St. property.  The property is zoned residential and is being used for commercial activity.  The board has asked Mr. Bescheinen to stop commercial activity and apply for a rezoning permit to change the property to commercial.  Bescheinen states that the house on the property can’t be lived in because of mold and structural issues and that if he can’t use the property to expand his business then he can’t make money on it.  He also brought up that there is a trailer on Rock St. that is being used commercially and is zoned for residential.  Chipman stated that the board is starting to enforce zoning regulations.  Feedback from the citizens is clear that they don’t want Besheinen’s scrap yard business expanded any further into the village than it is.  Chipman said that Bescheinen is the largest village landowner and could make the most impact on the village if he would repair some of his properties on Main St.  Lechner added that we can expand our tax basis by fixing up our properties to make the village more appealing to families and businesses.  Citizens brought up the many unregistered vehicles parked around as well as the household items scattered over the front lawn of the Hall property on Main St.

Clerk read letter from Allied Recycling announcing a 7% rate increase for trash service in the village as of Oct 1, 2009.  The village does not make money on the Allied contract.  Some citizens complained it is unfair that the people that aren’t paying their utility bills are forcing the village to pay for their trash service and getting their service for free.  

R. Brown is confined to a wheelchair and G. Brown wants the curb cut in front of the house for easier loading into a vehicle.  The walkway is already angled and they have someone to provide the service at no charge to the village.  The item was tabled because G. Brown was not in attendance at this time for further discussion.  A citizen brought up that the handicapped signs already installed are too high and need to be lowered.

The Board proposed to sell the Old Union Firetruck.  T. McClane suggested it be put on ebay.  Bescheinen informed the board that the truck ran a year ago when he put it into storage.  It was retired because it was unsafe to use in parades because of the brakes.  Louise said it would be a good idea to contact a dealer into antique firefighting equipment to get a fair quote on what it might be worth.  Seyler offered to help with research to compare items and prices before the ’53 International pumping truck is put up for bid.  Public was for selling the old firetruck.

The clerk reported that the IRS informed her that the village has failed to file 20 quarters of Federal and FICA payroll withholding taxes.  The clerk has prepared the forms and estimated that the village owes $20,000 in back payroll withholding taxes.  Chipman estimated that our liability plus penalties and interest could amount to around $50,000 that would need to paid back in 3 years.  The IRS will contact the clerk after they receive our forms and assign an agent to make payment arrangements.  With $430,000 in bond and loan debt plus another $50,000 in tax arrears the board will consider discontinuing any services which add spending to our budget.  Citizens were upset and felt the board of directors need to be held more accountable.  Some felt that the village has been mismanaged for many years.  They felt water and sewer rates should have been raised when a bond was secured to add the sewage lagoons.  Lechner asked for T. McClane, J. McClane and G. Brown to tender their resignations.  T. McClane refused to resign stating that the problems the village is encountering were put into motion years before he became chairman.  He also defended that when he took over the position of chairman the accountants assured him that the village was in good shape financially, when in fact, the village could not have been, if payroll taxes weren’t being paid.

The board discussed acquiring a discount postage permit for the village organizations that could benefit.  C. Keene commented that it would cost the village too much in forwarding fees and other charges that could come up with a postal permit.  In order to save the village mailing costs, Keene volunteered to hand deliver the village’s newsletters to patron within village limits.  The rural customers could be prompted to receive newsletters by email, to read them on our website, or to pick them up at the village office.

When meeting was opened to the forum, Judy Atterbury and Barb Lechner insisted on financial accountability of the board.  They want the village to create a sinking fund and to cut all spending.  The board requested an accounting of all our creditors and balances.
Other citizens want trees that grow over the streets trimmed back.

Kahland motioned to adjourn meeting at 9:20.  2nd by Chipman .  Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye.

Next regular board meeting scheduled for Dec 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the ALA Hall.

Terry McClane