By Leesa K. Bartu
Exeter Village Board chairman Alan Michl called the regular monthly meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9 with an unusually large audience.
The board approved last month’s minutes before hearing about the new ordinance code book from Joe McNally representing Municipal Code Services, Inc.
McNally presented the final updated version of the code book, “After you pass the book you have a three year buffer to change things. If you make additions or tweak some things there is no charge for a year.”
“I send out a newsletter after each legislative session is concluded with any pertinent bills to a town of your size,” McNally explained, “It’s best to continue updating the book so you don’t have to go through this process again.”
The board waived the three readings of the book and passed Ordinance 580 to accept the new ordinance book. Then the board passed resolution 15-05 to publish the books.
Fillmore County Zoning Administrator Jennifer Slezak presented the board with a conditional use permit that was filed for by Craig and Kelly True. The zoning board passed the permit and sent it back to the village board for approval as the True’s are planning to construct a building on a lot with no house on it. The True’s plan to build a home on the property later.
Along with the permit, the True’s had approached the board about closing several roads surrounding their property. The board initially discussed closing part of East Osage Street. Clerk Becky Erdkamp noted that “you are actually just vacating a platted street that has never been opened"
The board passed Ordinace 581 to close one block of East Osage.
Next for discussion was the closing of one block of North Empire Avenue listed in Ordinance 582. Adjoining property owner, Mike Hopkins, voiced his desire to have the road left open. Chairman Michl agreed,“I am not in favor of closing this road until I see what is going on out there.”
The True’s own the property on either side of the block of North Empire Avenue under discussion which is currently an unmaintained dirt road. “If you aren’t going to close the road then I want the road to be a real road. It will have to be rocked and graveled,” explained Craig True.
The board agreed to table this ordinance to a later date.
The board moved on to a discussion on closing a block of West Boundary. Adjoining property owner Hopkins again protested the road closing, “I want that road open because I don’t know what they are digging over there and with the noise late at night I can’t sleep. I want a buffer zone between us.”
The board decided to table that ordinance as well.
Michl explained their hesitancy in making decisions surrounding the True’s property, “There are concerns from area residents about what you are planning to do with the property including breaching the wellhead protection area with the hole you are digging.”
Michl continued, “What we are calling this is a manmade water structure. When you called digger’s hotline you stated to them that you were digging a pond. At the last [village board] meeting you talked about building a pond and a building and a house.”
“I needed fill dirt for a building. If I am in violation of something I want to know what it is,” explained True.
“It would be much simpler for us if we had a plan,” Michl
“In the business I am in when you call diggers hotline you tell them everything you are going to do. What other permits do I need? I’ll do whatever it takes,” noted True. “I’m really not trying to be in violation but I don’t understand all the permit process.”
The board explained to True that they were researching the requirements and directed him to visit with Clerk Erdkamp after research has been completed.
The board moved on to the next agenda item from Bob Mueller who was representing the Exeter Community Foundation. “At our last foundation meeting we discussed the possibility of improving the downtown area in Exeter. The foundation decided they would give $5,000.00 to the village to start the process of some of the things they want to be done to find the funds for downtown revitalization.”
He explained that the foundation would like the board to use the funds to get the training and momentum going to find grant monies using Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD). “There is a possibility that there could be a federal grant with a matching portion to tear down the tag factory.”
Patt Lentfer, the Fillmore County Development Corporation director, noted that “For a lot of these [grants]you have to be a certified community. All the training provided with SENDD gets you ready for other opportunities.”
Mueller recommended that the board contact SENDD and have someone come speak to the board. The board unanimously voiced wanting to have someone come to speak.
“To redo main street and tear the tag factory down without any help is just not feasible,” explained Michl
Clerk Becky Erdkamp updated the board on the current status of the tag factory, “We did get a response from the certified letter that was sent to Seth Jones where we declared the building a nuisance. He indicated he would still like to complete the donation process to the city. He also emailed village attorney Charlie Campbell.”
The board held a discussion on the liability of the building and Michl summed up the discussion, “Let’s go ahead and make sure they own it and go through the process of accepting the donation from them.”
The Board approved a motion to proceed with accepting the donation of the tag factory.
Lentfer approached the board about participating in another county wide housing survey. “Before we can find grants to help pay for a study we have to first see if communities are interested in doing this.
Wilbeck noted, “We discuss the lack of suitable housing here quite frequently. I think it is something we need to do.”
The board passed a motion to show their interest in participating in a housing study in the county.
The board reviewed the audit from the accountant before inviting resident Amy Skinner to address the board.
The board mailed Skinner a letter about abandoned vehicles on her property. Clerk Erdkamp explained that Amy was present to inform the board that the cars were in limbo in her late father’s estate.
Wilbeck noted that the board did not know the estate wasn’t settled.
Skinner asked exactly what the complaint was. The board read her the ordinance about abandon vehicles.
Schlegelmilch commented, “So you are here to find out why you are being contacted about your abandoned vehicles? We read the ordinance and it is illegal to have unlicensed on your property.”
The board heard an update on village maintenance from Supervisor John Mueller. He reported that he is continuing to work on the insurance issues from last summer’s hail storm. “We are getting all new air conditioning units at the fire hall, the senior center and new coils on the heat pump at the pool. The roofs will be replaced as well. All of the bids are within the insurance estimates.”
Clerk Erdkamp reported that Boy Scout from Troop 359, Jack Dinneen, will be replacing the roofs on the ball shed and the park picnic shelter in metal for his Eagle Scout project and wanted some guidance on color choices. The board asked that it be something that matches the area. The board also discussed the cement that another Boy Scout, Elliot Erdkamp, is going to place around the sign in Gilbert’s park for his Eagle Scout project.
Erdkamp reported that March tax revenue was $11,077.71 and keno funds for April were $805.73.
She also reported that she has been in contact with the person who physically owns the care center building and received a check from them for the delinquent water bill. The owner has asked the village to mow the property and send them a bill.
Exeter-Milligan Superintendent Paul Sheffield reported on the progress of the JPA project. “We amended the budget, as needed. The bonds have been issued and the first bond payment has been made. Bids for the project are due Thursday, June 11 by 2 p.m. We expect to have the two new entries to the gym completed by November 23 for basketball season and the entire project has a July 1, 2016 completion date.”
The board set the next meeting or July 7 at 7 p.m.