Holly Administrator Search Narrows



Oath of Office for Swisher and Gossard



The search for a new administrator for the Town of Holly has been narrowed to two candidates. Interim Administrator, Steven Rabe, told the Trustees Monday night, October 2nd, he will contact the two, Edward Patton of Sedgwick, Kansas and Michael Tanner from Barling, Arkansas, to set up interview dates to meet with the Trustees for (confirmed) Thursday, October 10th .  Rabe has served as an interim administrator for the past several months while searching for a permanent replacement.  The community has been without an administrator since the resignation of Jerry L’Estrange at the end of 2016.

Trustee Cory Stephens reiterated the current position of the board regarding its decision to close the town landfill and develop a transfer station instead of opening a new cell. He was responding to Mayor Calvin Melcher’s concern on closing following a conference call he had recently with municipal leaders from around the state, describing their landfill situation while working with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.  Stephens said, “The reason for the decision is after several years of reviewing the costs and a research of our options, the Trustees felt this was the best way to go.  We’re very close to water and we can get into trouble with contamination.  It would cost $750,000 to build a new cell to be compliant and we don’t have that money, plus the costs of an engineering study and actually digging the cell.”  He added, “The state will take care of the landfill closing costs and no monitoring wells will be needed.”  Stephens added that there’s no room left to expand in the years after the new cell is full and it would have to be closed at that point, about ten years.

Rabe detailed another potential financing impact to the community which followed along with the landfill and water needs discussion. Stephens said he felt the Trustees needed to make future water needs a priority, “We need to focus on this because if we lose a well, we’re in trouble.”  In that regard, interim administrator Rabe cautioned on how the November election could alter the town’s financial status as an Enterprise Zone with regard to TABOR under ballot question CC.  “The size and scope of grants for a water project could be impacted.  Pursuant to TABOR you’ve declared your utility fund an enterprise covering four different departments.  It’s exempt from TABOR’s grasp with regard to the need to get a vote from the public before you do any financing.”  Rabe said future grant monies could exceed the 10% threshold which means that for 2021, you’d lose enterprise status and because the four departments are combined under the utility fund, and a vote would be necessary to approve your loan funding.  He explained that if it goes through, the Trustees would need to establish a 3% emergency reserve for the utility department in 2021.  It would also impact future revenue calculations from the utility department.

A rate study of the town’s utilities is being conducted by NMPP, Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, and Rabe is scheduling a meeting with Holly’s representative from that group on Wednesday, October 23rd.

The Trustees discussed options on laying a power line to a hemp farm, looking to develop its operation north of town, out along the municipal pool road. According to Mayor Melcher, they are asking for help in the power line which would be used for two center pivot irrigation systems and a mobile home.  About a half a mile of line would be needed.  The Trustees wanted a financial commitment from the farm and wanted to be sure, if the line was established, there would be sufficient power available for any future add-ons.  More discussion will follow.

The Trustees tabled the two bids received for roof repair to the Holly Historical Society Museum until they have information from the town’s insurance agency, CIRSA on coverage costs. There was no bid for the municipal pool gazebo, which will be re-advertised.  A request for the town to demolish a building on private property was denied with the Trustees citing an insurance risk element in having city employees in that line of work, particularly with potential asbestos contamination.

Jesse Frey from the Holly Commercial Club and volunteers, who assisted with the recent Pedal the Plains event, thanked the Trustees for their assistance with providing city workers and resources to host the riders this past September. He presented a financial donation from the state organizers to community groups to the Trustees.

Town Clerk and Treasurer, Megan Jara, administered the oath of office to Rod Swisher, the town’s newest Trustee and to Billi Jo Gossard who was recently hired as Deputy Town Clerk/Treasurer.

By Russ Baldwin





Filed Under: City of HollyConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedUtilitiesWater


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