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Council approves more grain bins

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Tekamah sign

Tekamah City Council members on Thursday allowed the addition of two more structures, enhancing the city’s agricultural roots in the process.

Following a brief public hearing, the council approved a conditional use permit sought by Dennis and Ted Connealy to build two 50,000-bushel grain bins at their site on east G Street, near the southeast corner of the city. Although officially out of the city limits, the site is within the city’s one-mile zoning jurisdiction. Grain storage facilities, including bins and elevators, are a conditional use in the city’s Ag zoning district.

Tekamah Planning Commission member Jason Ruwe said the commission recommended approving the permit, saying what is being sought is similar to what exists on the site already. Plans show the new bins being adjacent to four 42,000-bushel bins at the site now.

Ted Connealy thanked the council for its consideration, saying a permit hadn’t been necessary when the original bins were built, but since a permit is now required, he and his brother are taking the steps they need to take.

In other business July 28, the council:

—Passed with the emergency clause Ordinance 1327, which amends the city’s bulk water rates.

Under the ordinance, bulk rate payers—contractors who draw water from a fire hydrant, for example—will pay $10 per 1,000 gallons for the first 5,000 gallons and $3.50 for every 1,000 gallons after that.

The city previously charged $2.31 per 1,000 and was losing money when larger amounts of water were needed for projects.

The water department has a meter to be used when water is drawn from a hydrant.

—Heard a report from Tekamah Library Foundation president Beverly Lydick on the foundation’s activities.

Lydick provided the council with a spreadsheet showing all of the foundation’s expenditures dating back to 2016, an amount that tops $96,000. She said the foundation pays for upkeep of the library grounds. A major landscape renovation project to cure some drainage issues and improve the exterior of the grounds took a big portion of the roughly $49,000 the foundation has spent on grounds and maintenance work since 2016, but after the major exterior renovation, costs are starting to even out. For example, the foundation has paid only $722 on grounds and maintenance of the $1,849 it has spent so far this year. The rest has helped fund the summer reading program, purchase new books and bring in a speaker to talk about Radio Talking Book, a service for the vision impaired.

Lydick said the foundation’s vision is to help improve and promote the library. She said a couple of major memorial gifts have helped fund its work, but to keep those kind of donations coming, the library has to be a suitable place.

“Our library is the equal of any amenity in the city,” Lydick said. “It gets used every day and it’s free.”

The issue for council members is the dividing line of who pays for what. With both the library and the council working out new budgets for the next fiscal year, council member Jane Walford said now is a good time to iron those issues out.

She said a modern library, like Tekamah’s, enhances the walkability of the city and helps enhance the sense of community. “We all just need to get on the same page.”

—Heard a report from Parks and Pool Commissioner Matt Cass that the last day at the pool will be Aug. 9. Cass said the facility also will see some modification of hours over the next couple of weeks as its staff starts transitioning into a new school year. He said pool staff have been very committed to keeping the pool open as long as they could.

Walford agreed, saying most of the staff has had only one day off all summer. “We are lucky to have lifeguards who are bright kids who work hard and we want them to come back.”

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