The O’Neill City Council met in regular session on Monday, June 7 with all the members present except councilman Tim Gleason.
The council proceedings were filled with housekeeping items such as the council approving a LB840 money draw down in the amount of $3,650 for signage and a grant draw down for $1,666.09.
The council granted the mayor the ability to execute a supplemental agreement with the State of Nebraska regarding some additions to the road construction project as far as water and sewer.
The council voted to give the 2003 - Ford 350 crash truck to the O'Neill Rural Fire Board to be redone for use as a grass fire fighting unit. The truck according to O’Neill Fire Chief Roger Miller will have the equipment box and pump taken off and the chassis of the truck will be redone with a water pump sitting on a box that would allow for firefighters to battle grass fires. The truck would replace a truck from the Nebraska Forest Service that will go back to the forest service. The city did this once before and gave the old rescue truck to the department for the same purpose in 2003.
The meeting did not last long as the meeting started at 6:30 p.m. The council approved an ordinance so that the new time for the monthly regular meetings will be 6:30 p.m.
At the end of the meeting councilman Kayla Burdick asked that the floor be opened up to any announcements from the floor. The council was bombarded with questions as Monica Krugman and Amy Thompson opened up on the council about why the O’Neill Swimming Pool was not open. City Clerk Sarah Sidak informed the women that the pool was not open yet due to personnel not being fully trained and an unfortunate pipe break in the last couple of days that was discovered when filling. Krugman wondered why the staff was not trained and why wasn’t the leak discovered in May when the pool should have been filled.
“We started advertising in January with radio, newspaper and social media but getting help for the pool is not always easy. We had guards going to certification classes starting in April. We didn’t get some of the staff to apply until lately and they have to be certified and trained properly. Certification classes for lifeguards are not always available locally. They have been attending classes in other towns to get the job done. I will not let the pool open unless the staff is properly trained. The pipe break is unfortunate but again if the staff is not trained and prepared and we do not feel that it is safe to open than we will just have to wait," said Sidak.
Krugman stated the Ord facility a similar size pool was running on five personnel staffing their pool and why would the O’Neill Pool need 11. The council stated that the O’Neill Pool is under the governing body of a state inspector and that is what they are required to have to operate.
“We are looking at every way possible to get the O’Neill City Pool up and running and the staff is working to get it open as well,” said Sidak.
The pool was closed in 2020 due to Covid-19 and it was a long summer for the children of O’Neill. Although some of the other area pools were open. The O’Neill facility was shut down by the city council early last year as health concerns made it tough for a facility of the city's size to open.