Thursday, March 3


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[MARCH 3, 2005]  Tuesday night's city council meeting began on a somber note. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Beth Davis called for a moment of silence for our fallen soldier, Staff Sgt. Daniel G. Gresham. She also directed thoughts of appreciation and safety for those in military service. ["Community to gather in honor of fallen Lincoln soldier"]

Illness reduced the ranks in City Hall council chambers. Some committee reports bounced three times before hitting on someone present, but the six remaining council members sorted through a variety of issues by night's end. Out were Aldermen Marty Neitzel, Dave Armbrust, Benny Huskins and Patrick Madigan.

Finance chairman Verl Prather announced the start of the budget for the next fiscal year. Budget hearings will begin on March 19 at 8 a.m. City department heads will be contacted and asked to submit their budget for the May 1, 2005, through April 30, 2006, fiscal year.

A petition to make a one-block, one-way street at Washington-Monroe School will be on next week's Monday agenda. A string of discussion occurred between aldermen, Mayor Beth Davis, Police Chief Bob Rawlins and Streets Superintendent Tracy Jackson on their knowledge of the problem.

When school lets out each day there are some parents who will double park in the street, holding other vehicles up, or turn around in very little space. In addition to creating traffic congestion, it also causes a potential hazard to students.

The school has made a number of efforts to alleviate the problem, recommending a one-way traffic pattern to pick up students and asking parents not to double park. It worked for a while, Jackson said, but then it went back to the way it was.

Alderman Shelton, who lives right by there, has been caught in traffic there as parents will get out of their car and run around to get their child into the car, frustrating him and other drivers. He chuckled and said, "And then they smile and wave at me."

The general consensus was that it is not favorable to make one block one-way. Rather than change, an attempt will be made to get parents to be more cooperative. The police will begin issuing warnings or tickets for double parking and other traffic violations.

No parents or school representatives were present to contribute to the discussion. There was a school meeting at the same time.

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An economic development incentive package is being prepared to offer for use by the economic development partnership. In the package it will offer up to $600,000 in funding for a project that offers no less than 150 jobs. The funding is being set aside at this time with the intent that it will be there to help expedite any solid business venture that wishes to come locate here. It will be used as needed to cover costs such as infrastructure or sewers to a site. It will be voted on at the next meeting, on Monday, March 7.

City attorney Bill Bates updated the council on an ongoing five-year-old legal matter in which Lincoln is named as one of many municipalities. The suit is a telecommunications matter involving U.S. Cellular, PrimeCo, wireless and land lines. Bates recommends that Lincoln stay in with the group of other communities named, even though there may be some legal fees cost that may have to be paid. It could protect us from a larger cost down the way. The fee is now approximately $343.

What is believed to be the last standing local one-room schoolhouse and a privy have been offered to the city, Mayor Beth Davis said. Alderman Derrick Crane will work with the city beautification committee and will try to find funds to move the structures to Postville Park.

The city has been dealing with insurance coverage issues. Alderman Marty Neitzel was contacted a couple of months ago with the information that not only would rates be going up, but some policies that city employees have are no longer being offered. The timing of the changes as offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield conflicted with union contracts.

It was decided a couple of weeks ago at an insurance committee meeting to address the insurance company about extending the coverage of those policies to meet the union contract timing.

Information that includes alternate plans and rates has arrived. Alderman Neitzel will be discussing the new information with the city's insurance consultant.

Alderman Crane will be bringing the doughnuts for the budget meeting.

[Jan Youngquist]

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