Beloit City Council Meeting Tuesday September 5

Beloit City Council

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

By Terry Bailey

The Beloit City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening, September 5th. All Councilors were present with the exception of Lloyd Littrell. Also present was Mayor Tom Naasz, City Manager Jason Rabe, and City Clerk Amanda Lomax. City Attorney Katie Schroeder was delayed but arrived shortly after the meeting was called to order.

Councilor Andrew Grabon observed that all the schools seemed to getting a good start and that he noted serious building activity on projects on the North Campus.

Jay Langely, an auditor from Clubine and Rettele, Chartered an accounting firm from Salina, reviewed the current audit of the city’s book performed by his accounting firm. Langely highlighted pertinent points of the audit. No significant discrepancies were noted.

In his report to the Council Jason Rabe told the governing body that the East Main project is nearing completion. A walk though of the project was performed and minor details necessary to fix were noted. He expects this work to be done in the next few days. Many people have made positive comments about the improvement.


Rabe told the Council that the fire retardant clothing will soon be ordered for employees in the Electrical department and at the Power plant. This should significantly improve the safety level for city employees.

Work on fixing up the Westside Park is continuing. Five thousand dollars in grant funds have been received from the Dane Hansen Foundation.  They are still short of their goal to complete the project as planned. They will need to discuss the possibilities on how to proceed.

A spay and neuter program for the feral dog and cat population is being considered. They are investigating the positive and negative factors with such a program.

A public meeting will be held on September 27th to continue with follow up on the First Impression program. The major topic of the meeting will be a coordinated slogan and signage program. Heather Hartman announced that grant funds have been secured through the “Strategic Doing” program. This will amount to $100,000 per year for 4 years.

Terry Bailey, Mitchell County representative on the Pawnee Mental Health Board of Directors, requested that Mayor Tom Naasz sign a proclamation naming the month of September as Recovery Month.

In Formal Actions, the Council gave the green light to the Moderate Income Housing Down payment Assistance Grant program. The city expects to receive a grant of $165,000 to allow the awarding of four housing down payment grants. This should help families to afford a moderate income home of no more than $275,000.

The Sewage Department requested permission to purchase a camera which would allow closer inspection of sewer pipes. Currently a pipe must fail before there is any indication that it has problems. By examining the pipe with a camera they can take action before a pipe fails. The Councilors questioned that cost of $67,500. They tabled making a decision and request more specific information.

Having addressed all the items on the agenda the business meeting was adjourned. The work session was called to order.

The first item of discussion was the Little Red Schoolhouse. This building was moved to Beloit in 1970 by Harold Boettcher, Maurice McDonald, and Harold Hill. It was give extensive renovation work for the Bicentennial in 1976 and was used extensively for a few years. However, virtually no maintenance or up keep has been performed since the 1970s. Currently the Little Red Schoolhouse has many structural issues needing attention.

City Manager Rabe identified three avenues to pursue.

Number one would be for a city funded major overhaul of the Little Red Schoolhouse which would include a new roof, new windows, siding and a renovated foundation. This option would cost the taxpayers an estimated $50,000 -$60,000.

Option number two would be to hand over the building to the Mitchell County Historical Society. However the Society does not have sufficient funds to pay for the work that is necessary or to pay for the continued maintenance.

Rabe believes the third option holds the most promise for a successful future for the Schoolhouse. This would include a community based initiative to raise money for the renovation and to fund ongoing maintenance in the future. One of the goals would be to have the building open which would enable visitors to tour the building. In the past elementary teachers utilized the Little Red Schoolhouse for field trips while having classes in the building for a half a day.

One of the more than 20 folks in the crowd interested in the future of the building was Jerry Boettcher, son of one of the school’s early benefactors. Boettcher announced that he and his wife and the Boettcher Enterprises would be willing to assist in the fundraising. He said he would be in favor of matching each dollar raised by the community with a donation of two or three or maybe four dollars. Boettcher did say that one major criteria to his participation was that a mechanism must be in place for the long term care and maintenance of the building. “If plans are not made to maintain the building, everyone is simply throwing their money away,” said Boettcher.`

John Brummer was on hand to assist Rabe in discussing the plans for water delivery to the citizens of Beloit in the future. The current system continues to fall short of providing acceptable water quality.

Rabe and Bummer outlined four possible avenues of action.

Option one would to upgrade the current plant and to continue using water from the Solomon River. The price tag on this option is $6,269,000.

Option two would call for an update of the current system and the construction of a ten and one half mile pipeline to deliver water from the Waconda Lake. This would cost $9,413,000.

Option three would consist of building a new plant in Beloit and relying on water from the Solomon River. This would cost $10,289,000.

The fourth option would have a new plant built in Beloit and have water provided by a pipeline from the Waconda Lake. This would be the most expensive option with a price tag of $14,464,000.

The Councilors spent considerable time discussing the merits of each of the plans No decisions were made at this time.