Despite opposition, Bellevue mayor will renominate
Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders says she will renominate Bellevue businessman Mike Hall to fill the vacated Ward 1 council seat and will veto any attempt to fill the seat by special election.
Sanders said state law grants her the power to fill vacated seats by appointment and that the City Council should approve her nominee so long as that person is clearly qualified to hold the post. No one has argued that Hall is not qualified, she said.
“By state law it is my job to present someone of quality, and that's exactly what I did,” Sanders said. “So I owe it to the citizens to say (the council members) are being obstructionist, and I have a job to do.”
State law also permits a vacancy to be filled by a special election if both the mayor and the council agree to hold one.
A special election would be reasonable if no person of obvious ability was available to fill the seat, Sanders said, but she believes that is not the case.
In addition, she said the time necessary to conduct a special election could be lengthy. She said Sarpy County Election Commissioner Wayne Bena informed her the election might have to wait until August, leaving the seat vacant for that long.
Three council members — Don Preister, Carol Blood and Steve Knutson — have said they oppose Hall's nomination because they believe Dave Compton, a member of the Bellevue Planning Commission and owner of D.C. Electric in Olde Towne, would be a better candidate.
Sanders: Fort Crook growth moving along
Good things are happening in the effort to develop a prime stretch of land on Fort Crook Road, Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders says, but the details cannot yet be released.
Sanders said talks are ongoing between the city and Lockwood Development, the company chosen to develop a 33-acre site at Fort Crook and Cornhusker Roads formerly occupied by the Coreslab concrete block company.
“I've heard good things about who might be going in there, but it's their announcement to make, so I dare not say who they're talking to.”
Lockwood has until July 31 to decide whether it wants to buy the city-owned site. The sale price is $2.65 million.
Sarpy board, planners debate expected traffic
Sarpy County Board members disagree with a regional transportation planner over how much traffic will flow onto Platteview Road after the new Missouri River bridge opens next year.
Greg Youell, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, said he believes the short-term impact will be modest, giving the county more time to redesign Platteview Road for the long term.
But board members Tom Richards and Don Kelly voiced their skepticism and asserted that Platteview Road is ill-prepared for the additional truck traffic coming after the new bridge opens in May 2014.
A study is being conducted by Olsson Associates of Omaha on Platteview Road's future. It will look at whether the road should be rebuilt as a major street, an expressway or a freeway.
Youell said easy and inexpensive fixes are not available.
He said that county leaders might be worrying unnecessarily about Platteview Road being inundated with additional traffic immediately after the bridge opens. The proximity of the Kennedy Freeway should alleviate the load, he said.
But Kelly said truckers will take the route to save 15 to 20 miles of travel.
“I think the traffic is going to increase significantly, and that road is not equipped to handle it.”
Report shows need for courthouse expansion
After renovating its courthouse in 2006 and building a new sheriff's headquarters in 2011, Sarpy County will soon need to build again to keep up with Nebraska's fastest-growing county, according to a new report.
The courthouse currently provides adequate space and is in excellent condition, according to the study from Omaha's Carlson, West & Povondra Architects.
The report recommended the county consider expansion to both its administrative wing and the Hall of Justice, as well as potentially demolish two annex buildings.
The Sarpy County Law Enforcement Center, which houses the jail and office space, is “functionally outdated” to handle a shift toward the jail housing more higher-risk inmates. County Administrator Mark Wayne said the jail doesn't require any immediate additions.
La Vista watershed project aided by grants
The City of La Vista recently received two grants to fund the next phase of the Thompson Creek watershed project. The city received a $525,000 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and $150,000 from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
The project is helping restore the creek channel as the next step in stopping erosion along the creek. The stabilization work follows the voluntary buyout of homes along Thompson Creek.
— World-Herald News Service