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Council members sworn in; Bazata is elected as Council President

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Angie Steffen Randolph Times 

RANDOLPH — The Council elected Dennis Bazata as council president and approved a raise for City Administrator Ben Benton. His new salary will be $46,998 as set during the meeting on Dec. 2.

The Oath of office was given for the newest member of the council, Janelle Biernbaum and re-elected Council Member Kalynda Kuhl. Kuhl and Bazata were nominated for board president, however Bazata was elected 3 to 1.

Mark Korth addressed concerns about maintenance on the Sholes road and locations with dirt for the flood abatement project along the Sholes Road and west of the recycling center.

Benton said the City is working with Cedar County to work out a solution that will help the project to further reduce flood risk. 

Utilities employees are working on Wastewater and Water Operator certifications. Electrical Superintendent Randy Beck is working on utility relocation projects on Sholes Road, Main Street, and Douglas Street for the Flood Management Project.

Once work is completed on the Sholes road relocate project, Beck will switch to a utility relocate at Main Street and Highway 20 boring under Hwy 20 for Cedar County property power connectivity. 

Shinn Kellogg LLC/Meyer Construction has made tremendous progress on Phase 1 of Flood Management project. A majority of excavation is completed.

Replacement of Sholes Road Bridge is underway. 

Once Sholes Road Bridge is opened, Bridge Street Bridge will be closed for construction. 

Phase two of the flood abatement project is on schedule and in design phase. 

Property appraisals will begin in the spring along with property acquisitions in the spring of 2021. 

USACE tentative plans are to advertise and award a bid by summer of 2021 with construction to start in the fall 2021. 

Phase 2 could be completed by fall of 2023. Randolph will request a letter of map adjustment with FEMA to be removed from the Floodplain designation.

Korth reported on the ideas that he put together for a replacement dump truck as he had promised to do at the previous meeting.

Utilities Supervisor T.J. Lackas will make a decision on what the City needs in the replacement dump truck. 

A resolution to authorize accepting bids will be presented at the Jan. 6 meeting. 

Korth asked if it would be possible for “a resident, passionate about Randolph, that lives outside City Corporate Limit could serve as a member of the Randolph City Council.’’

Attorney Keelan Holloway confirmed that the state’s statue limits Randolph City Council members to residents within Randolph city corporate limits. 

Kuhl said residents with an address that includes Randolph, Neb. 68771 are eligible to be a member of City Boards: Golf, Library, Park, Planning Commission, and the Economic Development Advisory Board with one vacancy open.

A number of residents shared concerns about traffic speeding on streets in Randolph. 

According to Benton, traffic has increased on Kemp and Main streets as well as Bridge Street. One suggestion for better traffic control will be to add one stop sign each at the intersections of Kemp and Nebraska streets, Park and Main streets, and Wayne and Washington streets. This would turn those intersections into three-way stops. 

Another solution would be to add bolt down speed bumps at locations to be determined by Chief Pat Eller. Utilities Supervisor Lackas will gather bids for the speed bumps to be presented for purchase approval at the January Council meeting.

Mayor George Bradley made several annual appointments. The  Engineer of Record is JEO, and City Street Superintendent- Terry Mead, City Attorney- Keelan Holloway, Ambulance Services for 2021- EMS Billing Services, Inc. and Golf Board representatives as Bill Schmit and Mike Strathman. 

Bradley also approved appointment of City Physician- Kelly Ellis, Building Inspectors Interlocal agreement for Building Inspection Services with City of Norfolk, Economic Development Advisory Board members  Shelly Crawford, Bill Fye, Mark Linville, and Tara Strathman.

The Randolph Summer Youth 2021 Code of Conduct was also updated Wednesday.

The Council also looked over the Viking Water Tower proposal by Brandon Vandermey, which was approved pending legal approval of agreement from City Attorney Holloway. 

The council approved Resolution 2020-20, authorizing the signing of the Year End Certification of the City Street Superintendent form by the mayor. The resolution details the requirements that must be met in order for a municipality to qualify for an annual Incentive Payment. The State  Dept. of Transportation requires each incorporated municipality to annually certify the appointment of the City Street Superintendent to the NDOT using the Year-End Certification of City Street Superintendent. 

Employee Personnel Manual Changes were also adopted.

Small Cell Infrastructure was discussed and the city adopted updated standards for this because federal laws and regulations that govern local zoning standards and procedures for wireless communication facilities have substantially changed. The city will regulate wireless communication facilities aesthetics, to protect and promote the city’s unique character in a manner consistent with state and federal laws and regulations. The city will fully comply with state and federal law. Municipal Code was amended by adding a chapter entitled “Small Wireless Facilities Regulations for the Right-of-Way.’’

City of Norfolk Building Inspection Agreement Ordinances were tabled for review to verify if additional codes are  needed for City of Randolph.

Codes were adopted for fuel gas, residential, building, energy, mechanical and plumbing. 

Lackas said snow fence has started being installed and Christmas decorations are up. The Utilities Department, fixed a water leak on Nebraska Street and ordered a floor cleaner for the auditorium. A couple of road patches have also been completed on West Broadway Street. Upcoming work includes a couple projects for the auditorium such as applying some adhesive to fix loose floor tiles in the kitchen and gathering bids to repair and paint sheet rock in front of the stage and insulating the side storage area. 

The Utilities Department is also marking all utilities east of Main Street related to the water and sewer project with JEO to update and digitize records. This project with JEO will also be updating Storm water and electrical infrastructure records. Once the project is completed, the City will have new utility books and a digital archive online that can be kept current by Utilities Supervisor Lackas. 

Fall street sweeping has begun to remove leaves from streets; this will improve snow removal process. 

A tree planting program with the NRD for the City will be available to utilize in 2021.

Deputy Clerk/Deputy Treasurer Josh Rayford said the City Hall remodel is completed, with the exception of a few minor details. 

Rayford said Cemify has completed the mapping of Randolph Cemetery. 

Residents can still request participating in the Christmas Lighting Discount. With COVID19, residents can call the City Offices to request being added to the list. 

The auditorium rental agreement has been revised and reviewed by City Attorney Holloway. 

Rayford said he is working on basic guidelines for the Economic Development Advisory Board, first meeting will be in January 2021. Rayford applied for and received a $500 grant from LARM, funds will be utilized to add a security camera for one of the City Properties. 

Administrator Benton shared drawings from JEO for the City of Randolph Pool Zero Entry upgrade and Splash Pad construction. This project includes updating pool mechanical and plumbing as well. The drawing will be posted at the Blast from the Past event on Dec. 11 at City Auditorium to raise awareness of fundraising project. Fundraising may take a couple of years. 

The golf course remains profitable in the off season. The clubhouse is open.  Remodeling efforts are underway. 

Progress is being made on West Broadway nuisance properties, two of the three property owners are agreeable to requested internal inspection for structural concerns.

The City will pursue a warrant for internal inspection on one property. City of Norfolk will be doing internal structural inspections to determine next steps; Eller will be present during inspections. 

The City Council entered executive session to discuss personnel. The next City Council meeting will be on Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.