May 12, 2010

The Union Village Board met in regular session on May 12, 2010.  The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. at the ALA Hall.  The Open Meeting Laws were displayed.  On roll call: T. McClane, Chipman, Brown and Kahland.  J. McClane absent.

Minutes of previous meeting were reviewed.  Chipman motioned to approve previous meeting minutes with changes of Hansen and McWha’s salary from Jan to Mar and a change under Fire and Rescue in reference to water pressure to read that there is enough pressure to support a hydrant party and street cleaning .  2nd by Brown. Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

Claims and Accounts were presented with the addition of the loans that are paid by electronic funds transfer each month.  Noted accounts were discussed for payment.  T. McClane asked that the “new” be taken off claims and accounts report for water and sewer pumps.  Chipman made a motion to approve payment of listed accounts  2nd by Kahland.  By roll, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

May 12, 2010

NPPD           FIREBARN*     $       51.05    
AREA LIGHT RENTAL     $       20.76     
BALLFIELD**     $       40.00    
WATER PUMP     $     317.50    
FIREBARN (TOWN BLDG)     $       17.89     
WATER TOWER     $       17.89     
TRAFFIC LIGHT     $       17.89     
AREA LIGHT RENTAL     $         9.21     
STREETLIGHTS     $     435.52     
SEWER PUMP     $       85.95     
ALA HALL     $       46.28    
NE PUBLIC HEALTH ENV LAB     $      209.00   WATER TESTS    
WINDSTREAM  OFFICE     $       59.51    
WINDSTREAM  FIRE     $       86.41    
MELISSA HANSEN      $     600.27   APR SALARY    
BALL INSURANCE SVCS                                         $   5402.00   UNION WORKERS COMP AND LIABILITY POLICIES    
ALLIED RECYCLING     $    1248.75  Monthly Trash Service     
LOAN     $      618.44  LOAN FOR SEWER BOND     
LOAN     $      265.64  RESCUE SQUAD    
STEVE HEYEN        $      808.99  APR PAY    
JOHNSON’S GAS N GO     $         88.45  (FIRE&RES 63.45 TOWN 25.00)    
US TREASURY      $       800.00  IRS PAYMENT    
MEESKE ACE HARDWARE             $           1.99  KEYS    
COLUMBUS TELEGRAM     $           7.29  1 & 6 YR HEARING PUBLICATION    
GP ONE-CALL     $           1.01  DIGGER’S HOTLINE    

Correspondence:   Water operator reimbursement grant approved from DHHS.  UVFR received premium audit request from 7/10/09 through 4/26/10.  Clerk will forward to Ball Insurance for completion. Water Tower Maintenance Fee Statement received.  Union’s   yearly fee will be $12569.80 for fiscal year 2010/2011.  NE DHHS sent grant information pertaining to Public Water Systems Security.  NDOR sent Transportation plan survey.  State of NE received a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the State due to Severe Storms, Ice Jams, and Flooding Mar. 6 to April 3, 2010.  Clerk attended applicant briefing in Lincoln on May 11.  Union received a Mini-Grant application for West Nile Prevention.  NE Liquor Control Commission advised that Special Designated License applications must be received no later than 10 working days prior to event to be approved.  NDOR sent an update of our city roads map.  Union was notified of railroad bridge work 0.5 miles NW of Union.    

The Clerk’s Report:

The State Auditor’s Office has been provided with requested documentation.

The clerk is working with Ric Ortmeier’s office to complete village’s audit waiver.
The State Auditor has requested information and scheduled a hearing to show cause.  Hansen has contacted Mark Foley and explained that the waiver is still being worked on.  He briefed Ms. Hansen that after the hearing date, State Funds will be withheld until audit waiver is received.

941’s for Quarters 2 and 3 in 2009 have been processed and added to the lien filed against Union for money owed the IRS.

Our application for public assistance in FEMA disaster 1878 had been approved.

The Full-retention permit is still not approved.  It is being reviewed at the State level.

Treasurer’s Report handed out at meeting.  March ending balance $ 32,228.88.   April ending balance $ 31,520.23.

The Village Maintenance report was given by Heyen.   Water Tower was visually inspected by Utility Service Co.  No sediment was noted.  Bulb on top of tower was replaced but technician thought there may be a problem with the photo-cell sensing unit.  Heyen will check bulb at night.  Next year water tower is scheduled to be cleaned internally.  

443,400 gallons of water were pumped at a rate of about 14,448 per day.  The water pump  ran for 8.6 hours each day.  Lift station ran for 112 hours, a rate of 3.7 hours per day.

Heyen reported the Montana tractor transmission is in bad shape.  T. McClane explained that FEMA disaster 1878 funds will assist us in repairing the transmission.  Heyen switched lagoon use to the east lagoon.  

B. Bescheinen and Heyen repaired emergency siren located behind the post office.  Heyen has also been mowing and cleaning out village’s storage building at 115 Main St.  He says that a lot of the things in storage are trash, old mower blades, empty boxes, packaging etc.

Fire and Rescue reported 1 rescue treated on site.  Both sirens are now working and will be tested at the next meeting.

The annual Pancake Feed will be held on May 31st from 8 – 11 am at the Lake Waconda Community Building.

The Parks and Recreation Committee is trying to recruit more volunteers to be on the committee.  Amy Seyler reported that she hasn’t received any information on the play equipment grant since November.  The Board and the committee discussed the need to be more organized and to encourage more public involvement.  Union Daze money from 2009 not counted.  Seyler was directed by the board to bring expense report from Union Daze to the next board meeting.

Union United wants to assist Parks and Recreation committee since youth activities was a key item identified in the most recent survey.  


Stray cat problem is an ongoing issue being addressed by volunteers in the community.  There are 3 traps and 1 cage presently at Union’s disposal for trapping and boarding stray cats with the purpose of bringing them to a clinic to be tested for disease, neutering and having vaccinations administered.  It was mentioned that Kim Heyen has 2 traps that the village can use for this purpose as well.

The standard animal control ordinance that the village has adopted states that these animals can’t be harbored.  If a resident does so for 72 hours, the animals are considered property of the residents that care for them.

A second annual Groomathon has been organized for May 23, 2010 at 125 S 2nd St from 11- 4.  The proceeds raised are used to pay the fees for the stray cats to be vaccinated and neutered.

The Board has directed the clerk to send letters to residents harboring strays asking for their cooperation in spaying or neutering them.

Bill Bescheinen brought to the attention of the Board that Mike Klein may have already planted crops in the area Union was looking at for a new burn pile.  The Board has dropped the item of a new burn pile at the Kleins due to lack of funding.


The Board chose to hear Corrie Knapp’s dangerous dog complaint at this time.  Ms. Knapp states that on Saturday, May 9, 2010, she was working in her yard when the Wolfe’s white pit bull got loose, came into her yard and attacked her small dog. She fought the Pit Bull off with a screw driver and her feet while her 2 year old watched.  Two of the Wolfe’s other dogs, one of them a Rottweiler, escaped through their fence and started attacking as well until she and Lily Wolfe got them under control.  Then, on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 around 3:00 pm Ms. Knapp was walking her child and her dog when the same Rottweiler started to attack her dog again.  She states if it wasn’t for the thick amount of fur at her dog’s neck, her dog would have been seriously injured.  Ms. Knapp feels threatened by the Wolfe’s dogs and their inability to control and contain them.  She is very worried for her 2 year old child who doesn’t know the difference between a nice and a dangerous dog.  According to Ms. Knapp, the Wolfe’s have 6 or 7 dogs which the clerk informs requires a kennel license within village limits.  The clerk also informs the Board that she has not issued a kennel license or dog licenses to the Wolfe’s.  There has been non-formal complaints from the Pluth’s that the same Rottweiler has prevented their grandson from leaving their home for school.

The Board will hold a Public Hearing on May 20, 2010 at 7pm at the ALA for the Wolfe’s to show cause.  A certified letter will be sent to the Wolfe’s notifying them of the charges on Thursday May 13, 2010.  The Board is focused on safety of its residents and will determine whether the dogs need to be banned from Union’s city limits.  

The Board discussed that the poor opinion of Union is mainly because of its poor appearance due to the many nuisance properties within the village limits.  The village has ordinances governing zoning and nuisance issues that we need to utilize to help improve the appearance of our community.  Union has adopted building codes in the past that can be used to regulate the state of buildings in town.  At one point in Union’s recent past, the State Fire Marshall and Cass County Building Inspector Ruhge has stated that most of the commercial buildings on the south side of Main St. should be condemned.  The Board wishes to contact these agencies again and get them involved in the identification of unsafe buildings within the city limits as well as reorganizing and/or reappointing a Health Board.  
The Board plans to send letters to owners of nuisance properties citing specific ordinances in an attempt to gain cooperation in getting the nuisances cleaned up.  The Board wants to help the owners come up with plans, which the village and owners can work together on, to improve their properties.

Kahland motioned to authorize Chipman to draft procedures to use relating to nuisance and zoning ordinances and reconvening the Health Board before the next Board Meeting along with contacting the NE Fire Marshall and Cass County Building Inspector in reference to this issue.  2nd by Brown.  By roll, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

There have been complaints filed about unoccupied properties that are not being maintained by their owners.  Part of our nuisance ordinance states that lawns and weeds are not to exceed 12 inches.   One property mentioned was the lot that the grain elevators are on owned by Hothschilds.  If the owners don’t have the time to take care of it, Union will maintain it for a fee.

Chipman motioned to send letters to owners of unoccupied properties advising them of the ordinances that refer to yard maintenance.  2nd by Brown.  By roll, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

The clerk reported that she registered only 13 dogs so far this year.  The Board discussed sending letters to known dog owners with unlicensed animals encouraging them to license their dogs as soon as possible.  If there is no response, the Board will hold a public hearing and possibly make a decision to fine these owners $100.00 per dog for each day they remain unlicensed.  Chipman motioned to have the clerk prepare letters for the Chairman to sign and sent to know dog owners with unlicensed dogs. 2nd by Kahland.  By roll, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

The Board also discussed a way to organize the volunteer effort to assist the village in mowing its properties in order to free up time for our part-time Village Maintenance personnel.  This way Village Maintenance can concentrate their efforts and limited amount of hours on other things during the summer months. The village should have a list of properties that need mowing throughout the summer and a way for volunteers to choose lots that they will take mowing responsibility for.  Volunteers need to sign waivers for themselves and their equipment.  Gaille Brown and Amy Seyler volunteered to compile information on lots that need to be mowed for next meeting.

Chairman McClane said that the Floodplain Maps he has been tasked to approve are inaccurate.  The current Floodplain maps show Union extending past UP Rail Road tracks which is in discrepancy with residential known boundaries.  The village needs to determine if it’s UP’s responsibility or the village’s to survey the area before the Chairman certifies the FEMA Floodplain map.  Clerk needs to draft a letter to the Floodplain Organization to find out how the village’s boundaries were determined.

Since Union’s Fire Department is strictly volunteers they extend a courtesy to their members and their immediate family in the case of personal emergencies.  Louise briefed that EMS Billing Inc. will typically bill a patient’s insurance three times and if unable to collect send it back to the organizations to collect.  The department does not pursue payment from its volunteers or their immediate family members if their insurance doesn’t cover the call as a courtesy, and is willing to extend this courtesy to the Board of Trustees and their families.

Chipman motioned to have Board approve,  Chairmain sign,  and clerk submit claims to Continental Western and EMC Insurance to be compensated for penalties, interest and trust portion of taxes on non-filed withholding taxes from 2003 - 2009.  2nd by Brown.  By roll, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

Chipman made a motion to adjourn at 9:23 pm.  2nd by Kahland.  By roll, Trustee votes are as follows: T. McClane – Aye, Chipman – Aye, Kahland – Aye, and Brown- Aye.  Motion approved.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for June 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the ALA Hall.

Terry McClane