ASHLAND – At the regular meeting last Thursday, the Ashland City Council listened to Ashland resident and Planning Commission Member Susan Cerny voice her concern and frustration about the length of time it was taking commercial property owners along Highway 6 to get information regarding easements for the City of Lincoln’s main waterlines.

“These property owners have a right to know where the easement is,” Cerny said. “The City of Lincoln has kept these property owners waiting five months for a decision regarding the waterline. They’ve almost missed their window of opportunity to develop 10,000 square feet of retail property. We need a better way to communicate with the City of Lincoln. We’re lucky these guys have stuck with the project.”

The council approved ordinance 1169 which would rezone three lots in Sabre Heights from residential to flex zoning along Cooper Road. The council also approved ordinances 1171 and 1172 that would extend the boundaries of the City of Ashland northeast to include 23 other Sabre Heights properties.

Council member Jim Anderson said he was concerned about the 15 blocks of unapproved roads that would need to be maintained by the city.

Discussion followed the vote regarding how to utilize the revenues from the annexation.

“We need to use prudent planning as we look toward the future,” said council member Bruce Wischmann.

Mayor Rick Grauerholz suggested the city administrator contact Steve Mika, Saunders County Highway superintendent, to ask about the additional costs of maintaining more gravel roads.

The council also approved Ordinance 1174 that would provide for appointment of the City Clerk Kathy Sliva to approve special designated liquor license applications.

In current business, the council voted to approve the Sidewalk Maintenance Plan. The plan, which is divided into fixing the sidewalks in five sections around the city, would be spread out over a four year period. Council member Paul Gossin reminded the council that the plan would be implemented with some funding from the Federal Highway Commission. Council member Anderson asked if new sidewalks would be considered in this plan, but the council member Gossin said the focus was maintenance of existing sidewalks. Council member Wischmann said public forums on the sidewalk plan would be held sometime in early 2020.

In the mayor’s report, Grauerholz said he’s asked the public works director for track the number of hours of work spent by city employees to decorate downtown Ashland with banners, lights and flags. The council adjourned its regular session at 8:15 p.m.

During the council’s annual meeting, members elected council member Gossin council president. Gossin raised the issue of mayoral appointments and public works vacancies, pointing to the fact that the position of library director would be vacant at the end of December when Heather St.Clair leaves the job she’s had with the city for the past eight years. Other vacancies open next year include seats on the Planning Commission, Historic Preservation and Adjustment Board.

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