The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:
Q: Since the recall petition signatures were turned in to the city clerk (where enough were verified), has anyone gone to the clerk’s office to ask for a copy of the signatures, in order to see who signed it? I was just curious to see if anyone has actually done that. And if they did ask for copies of it, did they have to provide a purpose for possessing them?
A: The York News-Times submitted a public information request with the York County Clerk on Friday, December 7 to answer this question. The formal question asked of the clerk was if anyone obtained the signatures – and if so, who the person or people were. It was also asked if stating a purpose of obtaining the signatures was a requirement, in the event that someone did request the signatures.
The York County Clerk’s office responded to the public information request with two documents.
One was a formal request filed by Monica Milleson of York in which she cited the Nebraska Public Records Law and wrote she was “requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records of the petition signatures names, addresses and date of signature for the recall of Mayor Orval Stahr. The Nebraska Public Records Law requires a response time of four business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records. If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.”
The documentation provided by the county clerk’s office indicates that Milleson made her public information request on Nov. 28.
The second document provided by the county clerk’s office is a petition receipt, signed by Milleson and the county clerk/county election commissioner on Nov. 29, which indicates that Milleson “picked up a copy of the petitions for the recall of Orval Stahr, York City Mayor.”
There is no documentation of purpose of obtaining the petition/signature documents. There is also no declaration of whether the purpose had to be stated in order to have access to the petition papers/signatures.
Q: What are the plans for the large brick building at the old York wastewater treatment plant? Will it be incorporated into the park system for some purpose?
A: York Public Works Director Mitch Doht responded: “The large brick building on East Nobes Road will remain. It still serves as our wastewater headworks building. All of the city’s wastewater flows to this building for initial screening, then it’s pumped to the new treatment plant east of town. There is now odor control equipment operating in this building, so that’s good news for people who live in the area. The building also has office space at the east end which will eventually be used to house our water system control equipment and other city utilities/public works functions.”
Q: Is the new water main of a bigger size than the old and will we have higher water pressure because of it? And when it is done, will we get lower water rates, once it is completed? And will the new water main be made with even better material than the old one, so it can last even longer than the one they are replacing?
A: “The old water main is 10 inches in diameter and is a sand cast iron pipe that is approximately 125 years old,” explained York Public Works Director Mitch Doht. “The new water main is a 12-inch diameter poly-wrapped ductile iron pipe, which should have a lifespan of well over 100 years.
“Normal pressures at the main were good before the project, but available fire flows will be greatly improved in the downtown and surrounding areas. If a home or building is having low water pressure, it is most likely due to the old plumbing inside the building.
“Rates are adjusted every year, based upon cost of service. This year, we are taking a harder look at our capital needs through a Water System Master Plan update. That study will help us set appropriate levels of capital spending to make sure we are preserving the system. I don’t predict any rate cuts, but that is yet to be determined.”
Q: When the snow melts or when it rains really hard, the gravel/dirt streets in York just get so muddy. Is there any chance that they will ever be paved?
A: This question was asked last week also. Mitch Doht, public works director, offered the following response: “The honest answer to that question is no. The street department budget is not sufficient to keep even the major paved roads up to par. I also don’t see the brick streets ever getting any love. Unless there are major changes in the way streets and bridges are funded at the state and national level, the money is just not there to add more paved miles to our inventory.”