Playground will stay

In a unanimous decision, the Broken Bow City Council Tuesday authorized City Attorney Jason White to draw up an agreement between the city and Broken Bow Public Schools for the playground equipment at Custer School to stay put. After an offer from the school, a counter-offer from the city, a counter-offer from the school board to the counter-offer from the city - an agreement was finally reached. What it boils down to is this, the school district will leave the current playground equipment at Custer School, and the city will make a $20,000 “donation” to the school toward new equipment for North Park. It all sounds a little more confusing that it really is. The issue initially arose when community members on the south side of Broken Bow expressed concern about the playground equipment at Custer possibly being moved to the new school at North Park, leaving the south side of town without any playground equipment at all. In last week’s school board meeting, Elementary Principal Kim Jonas noted that she sees the equipment at Custer being used more by the kids who live on that side of town than by the students at the school. It was after receiving input from community members that the school decided to approach the city about an arrangement to leave the equipment where it’s at. However, the dilemma is that by leaving this equipment at Custer the school district has to now purchase new equipment for North Park. The other option for the school was to move the equipment from Custer to North Park, leaving the south side of town without a playground. The city council was first presented with a proposal from the school at the Oct. 23 council meeting. That offer was for $25,000 from the city for the playground to stay. At least a couple of the council members thought that amount was too much, and suggested offering the school $15,000, with the stipulation the school maintain the equipment and assume liability. At last Monday’s school board meeting, the board voted to counter the city’s offer by asking for $20,000 and shared liability, with the school continuing to maintain the equipment. During Monday’s noon meeting, the council agreed to that offer. In the Nov. 27 meeting, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance for a rate increase for trash removal within the city. At the Nov. 13 council meeting, Sherm Porter of S&L Sanitation requested a rate increase of 8.7 percent for city trash pickup. That equates to about $1 per household, and up to $4 for large businesses. The last rate increase for city trash removal was June 2008. Citizens will see the increase reflected on their bill beginning in January. In other business, the council appointed Keri Holeman to serve on the Broken Bow Housing Authority Board; approved a request by the city employees to close city offices and give city employees a holiday Dec. 24, and adjourned into closed session for the purpose of union negotiations. The council will conduct a special meeting Friday, Nov. 30, to conduct interviews for city administrator. Three individuals will be interviewed for the position, at noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., in the City County Chambers.