A crowd packed the city council chambers and spilled into the hallway Tuesday for a change in city’s regulations on carrying guns in parks.
Due to the large crowd, Councilman Jerry Stoll suggested moving the proposed repeal of a city gun ordinance to the first item for full council consideration. All agreed.
Councilman Martin Steinbeck moved to repeal the city ordinance (93:05) banning weapons from city parks, pathways and other recreation facilities.
The repeal passed 6-2 with little discussion. Councilwoman Judy Pedersen and Councilman Dan McGuire voted no.
The repeal has been prompted by gun owners who have permits to carry concealed weapons, and want to carry in parks and on public property.
Changes to city ordinances must be approved three times by the council, according to council rules, so the ordinance will come before the council again.
In budget discussion, Councilman Jerry Stoll moved not to reduce the property tax mil levy in fiscal year 2012-13, but to put the extra tax money into the city’s contingency fund.
Stoll said the contingency fund is insufficient for a city the size of North Platte and only a couple months of low sales tax revenues combined with heavy snow removal and other costs would use up the majority of the fund.
Pedersen agreed and said that even with more money in the fund, it would still be too low.
But Mayor Marc Kaschke strongly disagreed.
“We have an opportunity here to lower taxes and give back to the residents, and I would really like to see the levy reduced,” Kaschke said with conviction.
Councilman Jim Carman sided with Kaschke.
“I would like to see even just a half-percent reduction,” Carman said, “to show the public we care and are serious about lowering taxes.”
Larry Campbell expressed support for Stoll and Pederson, to leave the levy where it is and add money to the contingency fund.
The council voted 7-1 to leave the levy the same. Carman cast the only no vote.
The council also:
• Approved the mayor’s appointment of David Fudge to the Quality Growth Fund citizens review committee.
• Appointed Marcene Franzen to the Board of Adjustment to replace Glenn Peterson, whose term is expiring
• Re-appointed Donna Tryon as an alternate to the Board of Adjustment.
• Authorized the sale of five surplus vehicles or snowplow blades and frames at a police impoundment auction, to be held in the fall of 2012 or spring of 2013.
• Accepted bids and authorized the city to contract with Cement Products, Inc. for the re-paving of the alley south of the new Lincoln County Jail between Second and Third and Jeffers and Vine. The existing pavement was damaged during construction. The estimated cost is $63,000.
• Adopted a resolution determining the amount of tax to be levied for airport purposes.
• Authorized a one-time permit for fireworks during Rail Fest on Saturday, Sept. 15 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Union Pacific, with an alternate fireworks date of Sept. 14.
• Accepted and authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with Olsson Associates of Lincoln for preliminary engineering and environmental documents for a new bike path along the NPPD Canal from I-80 to Walker Road, in the amount of $61,621.
• Accepted and authorized Mayor to sign a grant application to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for storm water management planning.
The grant would provide at least $37,710 and requires the city to pay 20 percent of the cost. The final amount will be determined by community participation.
• Authorized the mayor to sell a real estate to Paulsen, Inc. a 100 ft. by 1,010.40 ft. tract along Newberry Road, next to Paulsen’s land.
• Adopted a resolution authorizing the opening of a beneficiary account with Edward D. Jones to receive funds directed to the city by the late Kenneth L. Stroupe, who has left some stocks to benefit of the North Platte Animal Shelter.
The amount of Stroups bequest depends the value of the stocks, City Administrator Jim Hawks told the Bulletin after the meeting. The council authorized the mayor to handle the account. The stocks are deposited with Edward D. Jones. According to Edward D. Jones’ representatives, the IRS requires the city to open a beneficiary account in order for the animal shelter to receive the funds.
• Discussed a written request from constituent Julie Johng to remove no parking zones on West Philip from Bare Ave. to Lakeview Blvd.
Johng said cul de sacs have been built in that area, with relatively little room for extra cars to park, so residents need more parking space if they host large gatherings. She said the street is wide enough to allow parking and overall, the increased development in the area creates the need for more parking space.
Councilman Larry Campbell said that past rationale for the street to be a no parking zone doesn’t really apply now. Police Chief Mike Swain said law enforcement has no problems if people park on West Philip, and a representative of the fire department agreed. The council agreed to consider and act on a full resolution at the next meeting.
Correction -- Councilmembers Judy Pederson and Dan McGuire voted no on the gun ordinance change. -George