Changes to how the city supports organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Chadron Housing Authority and others drew concern from some council members Monday.
During budget preparation last fall, the city moved away from funding the Chamber, Housing Authority, Northwest Community Action Partnership and Keep Chadron Beautiful from its general budget. Instead, it was recommended to fund those agencies, along with other non-profit requests, through a grant application process with monies generated from keno and PACE.
City Manager Greg Yanker presented the structure for those grant applications to council members Monday and said $14,800 would be available to award yet this fiscal year.
Councilman George Klein, who has long been involved with the Chamber of Commerce, said the application appears to be project-based rather than organizational-based. If the city values the Chamber of Commerce, it should offer general operational assistance has it has in the past, he said.
Mayor Miles Bannan agreed, noting that he objected to the budgetary shift in how the organizations were funded last fall but lost that battle. However, given that it was approved, the city needs to move forward with awarding the funds through a grant process. He told Klein that he would join him in supporting a return to providing operational assistance through the city’s general fund when it comes time to prepare the 2019-20 budget.
Vice Mayor Keith Crofutt disagreed with the pair, saying the city’s funds shouldn’t support operational budgets and that they are best used in support of specific projects.
The grant application was eventually approved 4-1, with Klein casting the lone vote opposing the measure. The organizations discussed, along with other non-profits in the city, can make application for grants once a year, and all applications will be compared and considered at one time.
In other business Monday, the council reviewed and approved the one and six-year street plan and approved a request for proposals for a fixed-base operator at the Chadron Municipal Airport.
“This is a working document and can change at any time,” said Street Superintendent Terry Birnbaum in introducing the street plan.
Among the one-year projects are:
*replacing another 30 concrete panels in the 800 and 900 blocks of Cedar Street. The city has already poured more than 100 cubic yards of concrete on that street and hopes to finish the project this year, Birnbaum said.
*concrete work on West Sixth Street is also planned, as it is beginning to deteriorate in several places.
*work on three alleys.
*North Main Street needs attention, with Birnbaum saying the city may need to grind the edges off and do some strip patching with asphalt.
The six-year street plan remains the same as last year, Birnbaum said, with the improvements to North Main Street from Niobrara Avenue to south of the railroad tracks currently ranking as the number one project. The city has discussed widening the street and converting it to concrete in the past, but funding is an issue.
“It’s a multi-million dollar project,” Birnbaum said.
A complete copy of the one and six-year street plan is available online at www.thechadronnews.com.
The council unanimously approved the request for proposals for the airport’s fixed-base operator after a few minor changes were made. Proposals to replace Chadron’s FBO, who was terminated in August 2018, are due to the city March 21.