Historical Society to get some assistance

HARTINGTON — Hartington City Council members agreed Monday to give the Cedar County Museum some assistance.
Board members agreed to provide water and sewer to the Museum, which is located on Franklin Street, free of charge for the next year.

The water and sewer rates for the Museum have been running around $85 a quarter.
“We have limited funds. We do get some funds from Cedar County but it doesn’t cover everything. We just barely meet our expenses,” said Karen Bonneau, president of the Cedar County Historical Society.
The Historical Society also receives donations from people who use records at the Museum for genealogy work and a fee is a charged for the prints that are made from the glass negatives.
“We are trying to figure out ways to bring in some additional revenue,” Bonneau said.
In other action Monday, Council members looked at information on installing automatic “radio read” water meters for residential and commercial properties within the city.
The project could run somewhere around $200,000.
Money through a State Revolving Loan Fund are available for the project — 20 percent of the loan would be forgivable.
“We have other things on the back burner – a downtown revitalization project and a flood control project,” Councilman Tim Burbach said. “Do we want to do this? We would need more figures before we make a decision.”
Board members agreed to table any action on the project.
Board members adopted an ordinance that changes the zoning setbacks in the A-1 Agricultural Districts, Light Industrial District and Heavy Industrial Districts.
“The purpose is to get some of the setbacks back to what they were in the prior zoning regulations,” said City Attorney Steve Pier. “For unique situations any of these setbacks can be changed by requesting a variance.”
Dan Kathol, coordinator for the Westfield Acres Subdivision, and council members looked at the Restrictive Covenants that have been developed for the new housing development.
The covenants and restrictions set the standards for the new housing development and will be binding upon all present and future owners.
“The Covenants represent the look and appearance that we want Westfield Acres to be built upon and maintained in order to protect the investment of homeowners and the area,” Kathol said.  “As a building committee, we spent a considerable amount of time developing what we think represents what future home owners will desire without being too restrictive.”
The Restrictive Covenants will be available to all prospective lot buyers through the local Hartington realtors and on the web-site.

Construction work on Westfield Acres will be underway before long.
“Grading and tearing out trees is set to start on May 1,” Kathol said. “They plan to have it all finished by August 1.”
The Council gave its approval to fund $37,500 of the cost to connect the Westfield Acres water main to the city water main by utilizing LB840 Sales Tax funds.
The money will be treated as a Revolving Loan Fund and paid back to the account in 6-8 years to use on future projects.
Kathol gave a report on the Tree City USA Conference he and former Mayor Bill Yates had attended.
Kathol passed on a warning to Council members concerning the Emerald Ash Borer that destroys Ash trees.
The beetle is moving this way from the east coast and could reach Nebraska within eight-to-ten years, he said.
Kathol told board members Hartington will participate in the Community Threat Assessment Protocol (CTAP) program, coordinated by The Nebraska Forest Service in 100 Nebraska communities.
The main thrust of the program is to take inventory of all trees in each community and make recommendations on steps to try and minimize the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer.
“There is currently no insecticide to kill off the Ash Borer,” Kathol said. “I took an inventory of all trees in Felber Park and almost 40 percent are ash trees.”
Kathol asked board members if they would consider an increase in next year’s tree budget for the city.
“Our tree budget this year is $3,500 – that doesn’t go very far,” Kathol said.
Funds from this year’s budget will be used for re-mulching many of the new trees planted in the past 3-4 years, replacing any dead priority trees in the park and sports complex along with some additional tree landscaping on the south road leading to the complex.