Winter is coming

River gravel removal, zone changes, and winter preparations discussed at Saratoga council meeting


A Sept. 6 Saratoga Town Council Meeting began with Cindy Bloomquist presenting mayor Ed Glode with an oversized squash from the community garden. About five people were in attendance, and outside of an update on the prospects for a gravel bar removal project, little of substance was under consideration.

Director of public works Jon Winter said at the meeting that he has been working on the gravel bar removal undertaking with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). The gravel bars are located in Saratoga on the Platte River between the HWY 130 bridge and the Bridge Street bridge, and plans for their removal have been in the works for some time.

At a May 17 meeting of the town council, Glode had reiterated that he hoped the project could get underway in September, but it appears unlikely that will happen. The town already has a ACE Nationwide No. 3 permit to do some of the gravel bar removal, but wants to do a more extensive project, Winter said two days after the council meeting. For efficiency and cost reasons, that work will likely be packaged with the more comprehensive project that is tentatively planned for winter, Winter said.

“We could do the stuff we permitted last spring, but we want to get more of that material (out),” Winter explained. He said that would likely be cheaper than putting equipment out on the river twice, but said the town did not yet know how much the total cost of the operation would be.

“Once we know the volumes (of material to remove), then we can get an idea of what kind of material we have and what kind of equipment we need,” he said. The public works director indicated that the project would likely be paid for by the town, and said he was also in talks with the state Department of Environmental Quality during the permitting phase.

News from the planning commission included the consideration of a zone change amendment lobbied for by Trivest Enterprises. The developer is petitioning the town to change the zoning of lots on the south side of town from RD 7200 to RD 9002, in order to construct townhouses. The zone change will be considered at a public meeting 5 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Saratoga Town Hall, council member Will Faust said.

Many of the other items on the meeting agenda were concerned with the town’s transition to winter. On behalf of the recreation department, Glode announced that the town pool would be closed for the season after a final water aerobics class Sept. 9. Winter announced that in the public works department, the summer hires had worked their last days, and that mosquito fogging was finished for 2016 as well. While the town said goodbye to its summer hires, it also said hello to the new assistant to the clerk and town treasurer, Brenda Mistelske.

From the airport board, council member Richard Raymer reported that a financial arrangement had been struck between Saratoga and the company that owns a Chinook helicopter that has been using Shively Field as a base for firefighting operations. The company will be “paying a landing fee per day for occupying town property,” Raymer said. He said he was uncertain the specifics of the arrangement, but that funds were forthcoming.

The airport board has also changed its meeting time to the second Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m., Raymer said. Local resident Dave Worthington objected to the changed time because he said this would make it harder for those with jobs to attend. Raymer said the new time was to accommodate the schedules of town clerk Suzie Cox and Dave Shultz of Sage Engineering, a frequent attendee at board meetings.

Acting Chief Robert Bifano said progress continued on the town’s E911 system, but that no details were yet available.

The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be held 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at the town hall, immediately after Trivest’s zone change hearing.


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