Council discusses ‘next phase’ nuisance abatement, falls short of okaying project

By Fred Arnold Telescope publisher 

By all accounts the first phase of the City of Belleville’s nuisance abatement program was a resounding success. Despite a lot of grousing from local citizens, a lot got done. 

Members of the Belleville city council were told Monday that, in all, 441 properties were initially identified as being in violation of the ordinance. According to Carol Torkelson of North Central Regional Planning, the number left unresolved is now, five. 

“That is a really good success rate,” she said. “This was a big undertaking when we started, and to have it down to that few of properties is great.”

Torkelson presented her bids to the council for the project’s next phase. Those bids were not made public, however. It was not decided by city leaders if there was going to be a next phase. 

Council members seemed open to discussing the continuation of the project in the future. Originally the project was to be done in quadrants. However, Torkelson said the first phase was so large, she would recommend carving the east portion of Belleville into two additional projects, which would still leave four sections to complete. 

‘We started this first section in April last year and were still finishing it up in the snow,” she said. “I would like to divide the east section up into two and hopefully start a little earlier this year.” 

Council members, though non-committal, discussed where to start next.

Belleville mayor Kim Lapo said she would like to start with the east section. ‘Right now we are doing so much downtown I think it would be good to do that portion,” she said. 

But council member Kelly Collard said maybe the city should work on the more visible portion of town.

“We’ve got a lot going on this year with the 150th celebration and that end of town has a lot of problems,” she said. “For people who come into Belleville, Nebraska people coming in from the north, they come right down Main Street. The east end really isn’t a high traffic area.” 

No action was taken on the continuation of the nuisance abatement program nor was there any further discussion.

In other action before the city on Monday:  

  •  Heard a report from city administrator Adam Anderson who said permission has been granted by two area landowners to access rightof-way for the testing of ground as a possible well site for the city. No date was given for when the test wells might be drilled but Anderson indicated good progress was being made.  
  • Council members elected Tiffany Hansen to serve as city council president  
  • Approved a measure that would pass through charges of a 20 percent increase in landfill rates as presented by Republic County. The agreement which will cost the city $11,550.24 is good for a six month period and then will be reviewed again. Councilman Doane Sells cast the lone dissenting vote.  
  • Approved resolutions that would allow for the razing of unsafe structures at 2012 I Street, 2406 L Street and West Highway 36.  
  • Approved the allocation of $15,000 for sidewalk repair during 2019. For several years the city of Belleville has had a program in place whereby property owners can petition for the repair or replacement of sidewalks and the city will supply the concrete and the property owner the labor. 

North Central Regional Planning’s January newsletter talks about Nuisance Abatement Pilot Program in Belleville

North Central Regional Planning January Newsletter by Luke Mahin on Scribd