By Leesa K. Bartu
The Exeter Village board approved two sets of prior meeting minutes, the September monthly meeting along with the special budget meeting, before approving the bills to open their October meeting on Wednesday, October 4th.
The board quickly dove right into the main topic of discussion, the proposed construction projects, including paving and a downtown renovation. They first held a downtown improvement district hearing which required any objections to be written. As there were no objections presented to the board, the hearing was closed.
There were some questions during the last village board meeting as to costs on the changes the board wanted to make on the construction bids. The downtown project showed no additional costs so the board reviewed the figures and then moved onto the street improvement project discussion.
The board took some time to review the change orders issued on the street improvement project. The change orders removed Liberty from the new paving and the southernmost block of Union Avenue, adding a half block of Seneca and all of Missouri Avenue from the repaving. The changes also included a bid for the costs of concrete crushing.
Exeter resident Gary Dumpert attended the meeting and had several questions about the street project. As a resident on South Missouri Avenue, Dumpert questioned the board on removing the street from the project and wondered about the implications for the Black Hills Energy natural gas line project.
Michl confirmed that Missouri Avenue had been removed from the project and assured Dumpert that they hoped to repave Missouri Avenue in a few years.
JEO representative Nathan Boone assured Dumpert and the board that he had been in contact with Black Hills Energy. “The gas line is deteriorating but they know that our project on Missouri is up in the air.”
The board discussed the possibility that Black Hills will be able to replace the natural gas line even if the Missouri project is not completed.
Dumpert asked why Missouri had been removed and Michl responded it was because of funding.
Board Member Mitch Schlegelmilch added, “What we are worried about is when they use Missouri Avenue while East Boundary is closed (for repaving).”
Michl responded, “In a couple of years I feel we should be able to do four or five blocks financially because we will have some things paid off.”
The board continued to discuss the street project while veering off to discuss assessments. Michl noted that residents have “a lot of options. They can pay (the assessment) all at once, they can go to the county and work out payments, go to the bank and get a loan or visit with their home finance company and add it to their mortgage. The County will add it to the property tax bill but will charge you interest.”
The board moved back to discussing the Werner Contract, “The change order reflects all the things we talked about in the last meeting. Adjustment to the schedule is not included. This has been a wet fall and so they (Werner) prefer to start in the spring and have everything completed before the start of school. This is for the street project but I’m not sure on the downtown project,” explained Boone.
Michl consented, “I think maybe that would be better because nobody wants to deal with a mess in the winter.”
The board approved the change orders, which deducted $402,490.02 from the contract, in a motion. Michl signed both the original contract with Werner and the change order to alter the project.
Dumpert asked for some details on the downtown project and the board explained the project will include new water hook ups and new services to the businesses if they are needed. The project also will install new lightpoles with power underground.
Boone noted that for next month’s meeting he will have the change order on the schedule for street improvement, a change order for the schedule for downtown and some other paperwork to complete.
He added, “We will schedule pre-construction meetings in the spring but I will coordinate with Black Hills now and with Perennial to let them know they have some time to move the poles (that are currently too close to the street).”
Ameritas Representative Brad Slaughter moved to the board table to answer questions about the bonding for the projects. He explained that the information on the paperwork he distributed “was the same including yearly payments on the new projects just shy of $150,000 per year.”
“We can kick the can down the road until you need the money. . .We will fund the full construction costs once the construction is completed. We can bond the amount then because you will know your cash situation better. No hard core decisions have to be made right now.”
Waiting until Spring may give the village an advantage because this will delay creating the bonds until later which will allow the village to pay off the current street bonds before issuing the new bonds.
Slaughter noted that he would return to the board in January or February to lock in the interest rate, “There are not a lot of bond issues marketed in January so it will be a good time. We will fund the two different projects, but the bond will be together with the first payment in the first quarter of 2019. The project is the perfect size. It’s affordable for you.”
After concluding the street and downtown project discussion the Board invited Brenda Motis, director of Fillmore County Senior Services, to report on the senior center. Motis gave a rundown on the current Senior Center advisory board along with highlighting some of their activities for the year.
The Senior Center received a grant from the Exeter Community Foundation and they had a new reception desk built by Cornhusker State Industries. The Senior Center used the grant to pay for the materials for the desk since there was no labor charge. They also recently received an Emmanuel Vision Foundation Grant for $1500 which they may to use to place an awning on the front of the building. The village board advised Motis to make sure to coordinate any exterior changes with the downtown renovation project.
The Senior Center board made some changes to their corporation, changing the name from the Exeter Golden Agers to the Exeter Senior Center. They also had to change the agent and chose Exeter Village Clerk Becky Erdkamp to fill the position.
Motis distributed a copy of the budget to board members and noted that, “I am pleased to say the senior center is still a self-supporting entity. Our budget was just under $10,000 and we were under on expenses and revenue looks good.”
The Board voted to pay both the South East Nebraska Development District and Fillmore County Development Corporation dues requests.
Vice-Chairman Tim Wilbeck voted against the requested funds, noting, “I think it’s a great thing but what does Exeter see? We see very little.”
Next on the agenda was the change in membership on the library board. Board member Laura Pulliam is moving out of town and Kathleen Wilbeck offered to fill the position. The board approved the change with Wilbeck abstaining.
The board discussed a request from Dale Erdkamp who wanted to sell a portion of the property adjacent to the water tower for $1500. Board discussed the property location and value and decided to offer $1000.
John Mueller, Village Maintenance Supervisor, opened his report by asking if the board wanted to tar any of the streets this year. Michl and Schlegelmilch both voiced the opinion that the village should wait a year with all of the other street projects.
Mueller reported that a freeze kit to work on the water lines costs $600.00. Wilbeck immediately voiced his interest. “When we have a water break we can freeze the line. Get it, it’s well worth the money.”
Mueller and Michl noted that the storm sewer work on Kiowa was done with the help of Tom Husa who also helped with a recent water line issue.
Clerk Beck Erdkamp reported that she is working with the new Keno operator to finalize the paperwork. For August Keno funds were $1629.51 and sales tax for July was $9017.08.
The board set the next meeting for Election day, November 7th at 7 p.m.