Here are the big topics on the agenda for the Bennington City Council's first meeting of 2020 (full agenda available here):
New parkland and Kempten Creek: We'll get an update on the evolving vision for the land south of Bennington Road at Johns-Bohn Park. The housing development, known as Kempten Creek, would include town homes and single-family houses at various price points. The low-lying ground would expand Bennington's parkland, creating new space for soccer fields and other youth sports. Most excitingly, the long-term vision includes an indoor recreational building, with space for all seasons and all ages.
The city, the Bennington Community Foundation, and the developer have worked together to create a vision that truly benefits all residents, rather than just adding more houses. The realization of this vision will take time, work, and money. I will keep you apprised of the progress. Please don't hesitate to contact me with your questions.
Police force update: Chief Hilscher will update us on his progress in fully staffing the Bennington Police Department. Starting in January, we have a new sergeant, Dan Stocker, and a new full-time officer, Travis Herbolsheimer. Four of Bennington's part-time officers will continue to serve. With this level of coverage, the city allowed its contract with the Douglas County Sheriff to expire.
ASIP fees: We'll again discuss this potential revenue source for future street and road projects. The fees would be charged to builders of new homes in the developments that surround Bennington, but are not within city limits. This revenue would somewhat decrease our over-reliance on the property taxes paid by city residents. I think this is an important move, especially as new developments bring more traffic and require more expensive roadwork. I will be in favor of a 0.75% fee – the same rate used by Papillion and Gretna – applied to the value of newly constructed homes.
Other business: We'll also get an update on the library, parks, streets, and the 156th Street project.
We'll meet, as always, at 6:30 Monday evening in the city offices, right next to the Bennington Public Library.
If you have any ideas, questions, or concerns about the topics above, please let me know.
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