Friend City Council met for its first meeting of 2020 on Jan. 7.
The council went into closed session regarding personnel matters.
Afterward, the council approved the hiring of Kelly Paulsen as deputy city clerk, Dennis Haakenson as city sewer/wastewater operator and Doug Welch as a general maintenance employee.
Also during the meeting, the council heard from Liz Cody of Southeast Nebraska Development District on available grant application options for the new city swimming pool.
“I think your timeline is strong and the funding you’re doing is going well,” Cody said.
SENDD will help with a letter of intent due Jan. 15 for a Civic and Community Center Financing Fund grant of $562,000. Cody also discussed other options with the council, though no action was taken.
Kristen Milton of the Friend Pool Committee gave updates on where it stands with funding for the project. She said the committee is in the process of creating a website with a “Donate Now” button and they hope to hold an open house for project updates in the future.
The council discussed a possible project with Windstream to provide more high-speed internet spots around the Friend city limits. Members questioned who would be liable if something were to happen with the city poles Windstream would utilize and if it would be an issue. No action was taken.
The council heard from Billy Baugh, public works supervisor. He said a new city dump truck has been purchased and is working well for the maintenance crews.
Friend police chief Shawn Gray gave his monthly report, saying there were 420 calls total for 2019.
The council approved a request of use from Saline County clerk Daryl Fikar to use city hall as an election site for both preliminaries May 12 and Election Day Nov. 3.
Members also discussed paperwork they received regarding a new document system provided by Eakes Office Solutions. Action was tabled until the February meeting to see if councilmembers could obtain electronic tablets to use instead of their phones to see/sign documents.
The council approved the signing of a contract with Lamp Rynearson to provide engineering services for the city pool, as well as an annual snow removal agreement with the Nebraska Department of Roads.