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Council Wrangles Over Roundabout Project Delay, Approves Re-Financing Pinnacle Bank Arena Bonds

The City Council has decided to allow the introduction of an ordinance to delay construction of the planned 14th and Warlick/Old Cheney roundabout.  Councilman Richard Meginnis introduced an ordinance Monday that would delay the project by four years.  Meginnis said with construction of the South Beltway set to begin shortly after the beginning of 2020, he fears the roundabout project would create access problems and too much traffic congestion in Southwest Lincoln.  Introduction of the ordinance this week will be followed by a Public Hearing at the next meeting, giving the Public a chance to comment on the idea.

Council Chair Jayne Raybould tried to indefinitely postpone the ordinance, saying that meetings have already been held with contractors, drawings are mostly complete, and the project has already been thoroughly discussed.  The Council 6-1 against her motion.

Also on Monday, the Council gave its approval to issuing $125 Million in bonds to re-finance the Pinnacle Bank Arena.  City Finance Director Brandon Kauffman predicted that re-financing the bonds at today’s lower interest rates would save taxpayers around $17.3 Million dollars over the life of the bonds.

Next week, the Council is scheduled to vote on a Good Samaritan ordinance introduced by Councilman James Michael Bowers.  It would provide a defense for people who break the window of any vehicle with a child or dog inside if it appears the animal or child may suffer harm from heat inside the vehicle.

Bowers said in order to comply with the ordinance, a person would have to call 911, make reasonable efforts to find the owner of the vehicle, use no more force than reasonable to enter the vehicle, and must remain on the scene until a first responder arrives.

City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said the ordinance would not provide an absolute defense against charges such as vandalism or criminal mischief, but would provide a Judge and Prosecutor the context that would help avoid charges.  He added, however, it would not be a defense in a civil suit.  Three people testified in favor of the ordinance and one testified against it.

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