The North Bend Eagle

 

City wants to start towing

by Nathan Arneal
Published 1/9/19

The North Bend City Council had a conversation with Dodge County Sheriff Steve Hespen at its Jan. 2 meeting, and most of the discussion centered around ordinance enforcement and inoperable vehicles sitting around town.

A problem the city has seen is that when Dodge County Deputies attempt to inform people they are in violation of an ordinance, no one answers the door and the process comes to a halt.

Hespen said that’s as much as his deputies can do.

“According to your ordinance book, the city would have to tow the cars,” the sheriff said. “That would be the next step. We can’t do that. It’s not a misdemeanor. What we can do is limited.”

The council expressed a willingness to start towing unlicensed or inoperable vehicles.

“Until we start towing them, they’re going to continue ignoring us,” councilman Bart Bosco said.

The council decided to check with the city attorney and see how much notice has to be given before towing a car in violation and what form that notice can take if the violator will not answer the door or pick up a certified letter, which has been the case with many nuisance vehicles.

“We have so many inoperable or unlicensed vehicles sitting around town it’s crazy,” city clerk Theresa Busse said.

In response to a question from Bosco, Hespen said the city can go onto private property to enforce its ordinances. He said when a representative of the city goes to tow a vehicle, a deputy could be observing from down the street and be available if there’s any trouble.

“If we’re actually there standing beside the city worker, it gives the impression that we’re towing the car,” Hespen said.

In other council business:

• Employees of the library have previously expressed concern about the speed of traffic as it enters town from the north on Highway 79. A lot of children cross the highway at 13th street when coming to and from the library.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation conducted a study at the intersection and submitted a letter saying it will install a total of four pedestrian warning signs – two in each direction – leading up to the intersection of 13th and Main. The city will be responsible for painting a crosswalk across Main Street (Highway 79) at the intersection.

NDoT said it will continue to monitor conditions on that stretch of highway.

• Mayor Dean Lux reiterated his previous statements that something needs to be done about the dramatic dip in Sixth Street near Boxelder Street by G&R Electric and the former Johnson Farm Equipment. Cars frequently bottom out on the dip after it was added a few years ago to aid draining.

“Johnson’s and Widhelms said they’ve never ever had a water problem at that intersection,” Lux said.

City clerk Thersa Busse said warning signs were added to the location, then flashing warning signs and most recently stop signs. None have helped significantly.

“I suppose water did sit there,” Busse said, “but it didn’t bother anybody. The dip bothers people a lot more than the water. It’s been a disaster.”

Lux said a drainage pipe could be installed at the location and the street leveled out. Councilman Rod Scott worried that a pipe would just become clogged. The council decided to measure the fall across Sixth Street road before deciding what to do.

“The way it is now,” Lux said, “you could have Hurricane Michael go through and it would handle it.”

• Final readings were given for ordinances 566, 567 and 568, which deal with the annexation of a small parcel of ground near 7th and Oak streets on the east end of town containing a house and shed where the late Bob Mehaffey used to live.

The house was already within city limits. The Mehaffey Addition annexation will add the outbuildings as well and make the sale of the property as one unit possible. The city also vacated Seventh Street east of Oak Street as part of the process.

The ordinances were approved.

 

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