Greenwood Newsletter November 30,2016
END OF TERM THOUGHTS FROM THE VILLAGE CHAIRMAN
would like to issue a disclaimer for this article in that this is the thoughts of Chairman of the Village board and not of all Village Board members .
End of Term
David Moll, Village Council Chairman
It’s getting close to the end of my term as a Council member, as well as for Harry Swenson and Jim Wrich. I have to say the council working as a team for reliability through better maintenance combined with projects benefiting the Village looking into the future, we accomplished quite a lot. Let me list some of the more important ones.
* Main Street now has a clean and professional look.
o The council worked with Yoders on many different issues from street lighting to storm water drainage to TIF funding so their new showroom is first class.
o The new street lights, banners, and now with the snowflakes up, gives the Village a great holiday feel we can all be proud of.
o The E.L. McDonald Community center now structurally sound.
* The 8 year / $194,000 loan to pay the repairs is fully paid for by TIF funding and not by increasing fees.
* The electrical problems Greenwood was experiencing just four years ago were solved by hiring an electrical engineering firm to identify the problem, and then hiring extremely well trained employees to do the work.
o Installation of lights on Church Road was a requirement given to Greenwood by Cass County once they concreted Church Road.
o Finally after 14 years of waiting, Bakers Candy will be getting 3 phase power.
o Yoders and the Village split the costs of new street lights on Main Street.
o Many of the weakest points in town causing far too many of the power failures were identified and corrected.
* This constantly needs to be analyzed and addressed.
o One of the three devices that recognizes circuit faults and will open for a millisecond giving most of the problems time to resolve itself had failed in 2009-2010 and never replaced. We replaced all three units with a state of the art recloser.
o Virtually all new electrical service is installed underground and in conduit, so if there are problems the replacement of a bad line is simple.
o The street lights on West Street were wired so dangerously our electrical engineer demanded they be disconnected and re-wired correctly.
* The ball park lights are wired exactly the same. They have been also been disconnected and will need to be rewired correctly.
o A secondary power source for the West side of town was approved by the council to be bored under the RR tracks and Hwy 6 in 2017.
* This is extremely important considering if (or when) the overhead electrical lines located just to the North of the COOP’s elevators goes down, the entire West side of the Village will have no power.
o November 18th 2016 we had wind gusts in Eastern Nebraska up to 53 mph, and Greenwood did not have one electrical failure.
* Unfortunately, after all the success we’ve had with restoring electrical reliability there are still some in town who believe we should “give away” our electrical grid to OPPD in return for a small percentage of electrical billings.
o The engineering firm we use has highly discouraged any give away to OPPD.
* Upgrades will be few and far between with OPPD. Conversely we have upgraded as much as possible to achieve higher reliability.
o The key is electing council members who will be hands on addressing problems even if it’s 2:00 am (as I have for the last four years).
o Greenwood already has an agreement with OPPD to repair outages when our employees cannot.
* We hired People Service Inc. to operate our water and sewer system. Since then our days of boiling water appears to be a problem of the past.
o The difference between this contract and an OPPD contract is the Village retains 100% of all profit plus retains 100% of all decisions on water and sewer upgrades.
* Our Comprehensive plan was 23 years old and needed updating. We have contracted with a company called JEO Consulting to do the updating. The Comprehensive plan is a road map for how the Village should grow. The total cost is $39,000 which includes the Comp plan, a zoning review and subdivision section of which $30,000 will be paid via a grant. (in process)
* I was awarded the Elected Officials Award from the Nebraska Planning and Zoning Association. This is not from my actions alone, but comes from teamwork on the part of the council to recognize the need for the Comprehensive plan and the zoning updates noted above.
o I also serve on the Cass County Planning and Zoning committee who recently updated the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
* The Greenwood and Mahoney interchanges are high on the list of areas to be developed.
o I have asked Greenwoods P&Z committee to start discussing adding adult entertainment regulations into our zoning.
* I have given Greenwood’s attorney the regulations Cass County has adopted for adult entertainment to use as a template for ours. We have all the tools to do this and just need to get it done and stop worrying about the legal fees to do it. What’s the higher priority: a onetime legal fee to address this, or controlled growth that would affect us for years to come?
* Our Village Code book was out of date and numerous codes needed updating to conform with state laws. Plus many of the codes just needed to be reviewed and revised to meet Greenwoods changing times. This is called a re-codification. Prior Council member Pam Hunt and I probably took 20-30 hours of our personal time to read the entire Code book, meet and discuss, then make suggested revisions to the Council along with the law firm contracted to do this specialized work.
* The Employee manual was reviewed, updated and rewritten as needed.
* I discovered our Water Emergency plan was maybe 20% complete, so I did the research needed to complete it in 2014, and then revised it again February 2016. If you want to look at it, there is a copy in the Clerk’s office.
* I attended all the meetings with the Lower Platte South NRD that makes Greenwood eligible for FEMA funding in the event it’s needed.
* $80,000 of the $110,000 debt to demolish the collapsed downtown buildings has been paid off over the last four years. This has been a drain on funds that could have been used elsewhere. The last payment is scheduled for July 2017.
* We replaced a sewer line on Grand Street that had been built uphill requiring jetting on a regular basis.
* We also added a sewer line and an underground electrical line on Grand Street allowing new housing to be built.
* We installed cameras at the park bathroom and twice have recorded several young kids vandalizing them. Surprisingly the average age of these vandals is under 10 years old. The only solution is the Sheriff having a discussion with their parents about the behavior of their children and their liability if physical damage is done.
* $135,000+ in three separate grants was awarded for new playground equipment (in process) out of the $165,000 total costs. Have you seen the new playground? It’s unbelievable!
* The Tax Incremental Financing estimate was increased by $500,000 to help fund public projects. In this fiscal year (October 2015 to September 2016) over $100,000 was collected.
* The Greenwood Rescue Squad has a new Medical Director. DHHS EMT/Trauma Program Manager Dean Cole recommended Dr. Ernest as Greenwood’s Medical Director. Dr. Ernest was a fantastic choice because he’s the State Medical Director as well as Cass County’s.
* Greenwood now has two snow plows instead of being reliant on just one. Harry Swenson found through the Chevy dealer in Sutton Nebraska that GM had special pricing for Villages on a new ¾ ton 4X4 pickup. This combined with the purchase of a used snow plow from Council member Jim Wrich we now have another tool to keep our residential streets plowed much better than Lincoln or Omaha. This new pickup and plow are fully paid for.
* Shortly after taking office we found out one of our water wells needed cleaning. When preparing the well for cleaning, a camera was lowered to check out the condition of the well casing. The result was appalling because the casing had so many holes in it.
o The repair required all new casing and a new submerged pump.
* When the water tower was cleaned and repainted we had two options: The first option was to waste hundreds of thousands of gallons of water by turning on the well pump and any water not used would be pumped into a ditch and wasted. The second option was to purchase a device called a VFD. This state of the art unit automatically senses water pressure and will slow the pump down or even turn it off when usage was minimal. There is little, if any, water loss with this device. The long term benefit during normal operations is the pump starts up slower, thus increasing its life. The choice was obvious to us – water is far too valuable of a natural resource to waste and the VFD was purchased.
* After purchasing new accounting software, we now have the ability to accept credit card payments and electronic fund transfers to pay your utility bills.
* The TIF balance was increased substantially November 8th after we collected a $42,000 fee to set up the TIF funding for Norma Jean LLC.
We didn’t fix everything, and I’m sure when something fails or not given enough priority, fingers will be pointed. But the reality of the situation is this: We have left the Village in a good cash position to keep the success going after the existing projects mentioned above are fully paid for.
Greenwood is a multi-million dollar business and needs to be run like a business. I’ll again bring up my position that sooner or later the Village would do well by hiring, or advancing from within, an administrator. For example, I probably spent 100 hours of my personal time, plus several hundred miles on my car learning how Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) works, meeting with several city administrators on the advantages and the pitfalls, interviewing attorneys and then working with the attorney with the best TIF expertise. The first task was increasing our “Bucket TIF” by $500,000 that can only to be used for Village improvement projects, then setting up the TIF funding for Norma Jean LLC. We have great employees who do great work keeping up on the day to day tasks, but pretending council members will consistently take time off their job to do the work of an administrator is a fools dream. In the meantime, Greenwood works best when people step up and volunteer for improvement instead of simply critiquing and then waiting for somebody else to do the work.
I cannot end without giving my personal thank you to Jim Swenson. Without a doubt he is the unsung hero who spent more than his fair share time working on grants, the park, new playground equipment and Greenwood Days.
It was an honor to serve the residents of Greenwood. Thank you.
GREENWOOD CHRISTIAN CHURCH
We are a non-denominational Christian Church located in Greenwood Nebraska. Sunday worship service is at 10:00am.
This Saturday December 3rd from 9-12pm come out to GCC for all the free clothes you want! Contact Chris Dickes for more information.
THIS WEEKS COMING EVENTS FOR ASHLAND GREENWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL
THURSDAY DECEMBER 1.....4:30PM MSBB AT SYRACUSE
6PM WRESTLING JV/V AT WAHOO WITH FORT CAHLOUN
FRIDAY DECEMBER 2..........5TH GRADE FIELD TRIP
SATURDAY DECEMBER 3......10 AM WRESTLING CYCLONE WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
1 PM GB/BB HOME VS ARLINGTON JV's FOLLOWED BY VB THEN VG
MONDAY DECEMBER 5.......8 AM FFA/LSE CONTEST AT RAYMOND CENTRAL
4PM MSBB HOME VS DC WEST
6 PM TOYS FOR TOTS AT THE VFW
TUESDAY DECEMBER 6........4 PM MSBB HOME VS ELMWOOD-MURDOCK
4:30 PM WRESTLING NEBRASKA CITY JV INVITATIONAL
6 PM GB:JV/V AT MILFORD
ROUND THE BEND STEAK HOUSE TEAMS WITH THE MARINES FOR CHILDREN FOR CHRISTMAS
Cass County CASA Advocates Needed!
Cass Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is currently recruiting CASA advocates to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in Cass County. The next training session is scheduled for January 2017 for five weeks. We are also seeking male volunteers as more than 60% of our children are male.
What does a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer do? Each CASA volunteer is screened, trained and completes 30 hours of pre-service training. The training consists of 15 hours of online training and 15 hours of in-person training. Once trained, CASA volunteers are assigned under the Juvenile Court jurisdiction to speak on behalf of a child to ensure the needs and interests of abused and neglected children are being met.
Who are CASA volunteers? Our active volunteers are individuals from our community who work part-time, full-time or are retired. Volunteers commit to one year with a child, but seldom leave a case until it has been terminated.
Please call Debbie Green, Volunteer Coordinator at (402) 296-9521 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and become a CASA volunteer today. If you would like to learn more information about our program, visit our website atwww.casscasa.org