Under New Business, the first item on the agenda was the consideration of amending the Cozad Police Department Policy by the addition of the Racial Profiling Amendment. According to Police Chief Randy Adams, the Nebraska Crime Commission had requested this update for Cozad and other municipalities.
The updated amendment states: No member of the Cozad Police Department shall engage in racial profiling. Racial profiling shall not be used to justify the detention of an individual or to conduct a motor vehicle stop.
The council approved the amendment, which also includes that officers are required to enact the audio/video recording system in their vehicles during all traffic stops with the recording being available for review by supervisors in the event of a complaint.
Bailey Koch appeared to request that F Street from 8th Street north to the alley right of way be blocked off for a Rialto Fundraiser activity planned for Wednesday, July 30th. Permission was granted for the 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. event, which will feature popcorn and drink sales and free tours of the 100th Meridian Museum. Koch also reported that an Internet site has been created for donations.
John Shepard addressed the council to request a pedestrian overpass. Shepard noted that other communities had wider sidewalks on their overpasses for pedestrians, which made them much safer. Councilwoman Deb Leahy directed Shepard to inquire to Union Pacific Railroad officials as they helped make the overpasses at Brady and Lexington possible.
Councilman PJ Jacobson, on behalf of the city’s department heads, recommended that the municipal employee health insurance remain with the Health Care Solutions Group in Cozad, managed by Jeff Cornelius and Roz Trusdale.
“We investigated another health insurance provider, but decided to stay at home,” noted Jacobson. “We have decided to go from a $25,000 to $30,000 stop loss, which will bring the premium down by 3.59%,” continued Jacobson. Jacobson will continue to negotiate terms and prices with the firm.
Under reports, the treasurer’s report was accepted and filed for audit.
Commissioner Dallas Nichols reported that employee Bernie Morse had attended training in Kearney recently. Nichols is working on his budget for the upcoming year.
Commissioner Britt German is also working on his budget and their department is working full time on ‘tick control’.
Commissioner Jacobson reported that he and City Clerk Susan Kloepping had met with the swimming pool managers, and the pool will be closed on Sunday, August 10th.
“I know it’s early to close, but we have lifeguards leaving for college and several involved in two-a-day volleyball camps that week.” Jacobson lamented.
Cozad Wilson Library Director Laurie Yocom that as of July 3rd more than 250 programs had been offered this year by the library with more than 4,000 patrons in attendance. “In addition to these numbers, what’s even more impressive is the fact that less than $8.00 per program came from the taxpayers,” added Yocom.
Cozad Fire Department Rescue Chief Marlene Williams reported that four EMTs had attended a recent conference.
Williams reported that during the last quarter their department had been very busy.
“We’ve had 82 rescue calls during the past three months with 36 of these occurring during the month of June.”
Police Chief Randy Adams said that burglaries and thefts are on the rise, with two burglaries and three thefts being reported this past weekend in Cozad.
“Our department is strongly considering going from three to four officers on duty every Saturday evening.” he continued.
Discussion on nuisance properties concluded the meeting after Councilwoman Leahy complained about a few neighborhoods in Cozad. Councilman Brian Montgomery noted that several cars and RVs with flat tires should probably be towed.
Police Chief Adams stated that notices to abate have been delivered to nuisance properties, but oftentimes their owners can’t be located. “Ten days is given on the abate notices after which time they may be demolished, but the cost is $10,000 or more and with the asbestos issues, it isn’t as easy to get rid of these properties as you might think.”
City Attorney Scott Trusdale agreed that the Property Maintenance Code, though difficult to enforce should be employed after a reasonable period of time to appeal.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for the council is scheduled for Monday, August 4th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. at the City Office Building.