There is a full agenda for this Monday's meeting of the Bennington City Council, so let's get right to it:
- Sheriff agreement: We'll vote on the temporary agreement with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. This agreement would allow for additional patrolling from the Sheriff's Office while our process for hiring a new police chief continues. The proposed cost is $15,600 monthly, which is well within our existing budget for policing.
- Chief hiring: We'll get an update on the police chief hiring process.
- Mayoral authority regarding police: We'll consider proposed changes to the city code governing how the mayor may remove, demote, or suspend police officers, how those decisions may be appealed, and how the Council is involved in those decisions. Currently, police officers may be disciplined or suspended by the mayor, and the mayor may recommend removal, which must be approved by the Council. The proposed ordinance would allow the mayor to remove an officer, but would also provide an appeal and reinstatement process through the Council.
- Fireworks: We will consider an ordinance that more specifically details the dates, times, and rules around lighting fireworks within Bennington's city limits. Fireworks would be allowed December 29 to January 1 and June 25 to July 4 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and until midnight on New Year's Eve and July 4.
- Ridgewood sidewalk: We'll vote on an agreement with the Ridgewood Homeowner's Association for cost-sharing on the sidewalk project along Bennington Road. The Association and its members would pay for the portion within the subdivision, and the City would pay for the portion along Tim Ohrt Park.
- New council member: The mayor will nominate Jody Stier to become the other City Council member representing Ward 1.
- Upcoming street projects: We'll consider high-priority street improvement projects for 2019. These include Bennington Road from the Papio Creek bridge to the high school, the section of Bennington Road near the entrance to Ridgewood, North 4th Street, and the northern most portion of 161st Avenue.
- ASIP fees: We'll discuss ASIP fees, a potential funding source for the city's future street projects. These fees would be assessed on new developments outside city limits, but within the city's zoning jurisdiction, extending 1 mile outside of town. This discussion has been postponed several times for other business. This idea will be important as the next budgeting cycle gets underway. I discussed the pros and cons of ASIP fees back in January.
You can read the full agenda here. If you have questions or ideas about any of the topics above, please let me know.
Have a fun and safe Bennington Daze weekend! Check out the official schedule of events.