The North Bend Eagle

 


City talks water, sheriff contracts

By Nathan Arneal
Published 5/13/20

The North Bend City Council discussed a pair of pending contracts at its May 5 meeting at the city auditorium. One for water and sewer service with PeopleService, and one for ordinance enforcement with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.

The PeopleService contract is due for renewal July 1. Chad Meyer of PeopleService attended the meeting to address the council’s concerns after receiving letters from engineers at JEO Consulting and the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy listing several deficiencies and maintenance issues at the plant.

“The repairs that are being done lately have been from lack of greasing and stuff,” said councilman Dan Minarick, the chair of the city’s water department. “We know it’s old equipment, but if it’s greased well and maintained well– we’d rather not spend millions when we could maintain it and nurse it a long for a while.”

City clerk Theresa Busse said the PeopleService check is the largest the city writes every month, and it expects some service out of that.

“You want to receive the service you’re expecting and you deserve to receive,” Meyer said. “That’s not an unfair request. It’s 100% fair.”

Meyer, who was filling in for someone else who was supposed to be at the meeting, had not seen the letter from the DEE. Meyer said he would look at the letter and get back to the council.

Dodge County sent a new sheriff’s contract to North Bend that council members said was the same contract with some of the numbers deleted. The council still has a problem with wording that says the sheriff “may” do what’s in the contract. The council wants to see that changed to “shall.”

“We just can’t do an arbitrary number of $85,000 a year and hope they show up once in a while,” Minarick said.

Several council members said they would be interested in paying DCSO by the hour for ordinance enforcement, but they expect better cooperation and communication with the sheriff’s office whether the city has a contract or not.

“Honestly,” councilman Alex Legge said, “until the sheriff starts returning calls to our city hall when he’s left messages— he’s sending a pretty good message.”

Council members were also incensed at reports that people have heard deputies say they are boycotting North Bend.

“We’re taxpayers,” Legge said. “They better not be boycotting us. That’s insane.”

 

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