Mayors’ Update Luncheon

May 30, 2017

        I attended the 2017 mayor’s business day update luncheon where four mayors spoke about their cities and what they look forward to in the coming year. Mayor Black from Papillion, Mayor Kindgig from LaVista, Mayor Lamert of Plattsmouth all spoke without notes and you could feel the love they had for their cities. All three were very informed as to what was going on. Two of the mayors spoke about their excellent bond ratings. Mayor Rita Sanders read everything she said from a prepared script and to me it lacked the enthusiasm the other three mayors showed.

        After the presentation, the public was able to ask the mayors questions. I asked Mayor Sanders about Bellevue’s bond rating. She said it was excellent. I knew the answer to the question, but she didn’t. Bellevue does not have a bond rating. The assistant city administrator had to step in and say that it would be too costly to have one. I don’t believe this explanation.

        They keep saying how good our city finances are, but they won’t let the state come in and do an audit. They won’t do a monthly balance sheet, they should never have hired the same outside auditor for five years. Charlie Jensen, our state auditor, thinks that cities should only contract an auditor for one year. They should go back to a one year budget rather than a two year budget. To me a two year budget just gives the city time to delay facing up to where we really stand. I also question how the fire department rescue squad money is being reported.

        Back to the mayor’s question time.  A woman asked Sanders about the bicycle lane on Ft. Crook Road.  It was a softball question and phrased in such a way for Sanders to give a pat answer as to why it was so good to have it there.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the question was preplanned.

        When I ran for mayor last time, the biggest complaint I got from residents was the bicycle lane.  If you didn’t know, Sanders’ husband Rick is president of the  Bellevue Bicycle Club.  Getting the bicycle lane was at least three quarters of a million dollars for TIF (tax increment financing) and the Sanders have done well from our tax dollars.  I believe if a vote was taken about the bicycle lane, the people would eliminate it.

        There is a rumor I have been hearing that I hope is not true.  Rita Sanders would resign as mayor before year end and then John Hansen, the current council president, would become mayor.  Then Rick Sanders would be appointed to the city council to fill John Hansen’s vacancy.  John Hansen and the Sanders were running buddies before the Sanders were married. If John Hansen would have voted no to keep our last city administrator, then he would have been gone and we would have saved the city a lot of money.  Instead he voted to keep him, so there was a tie and Rita Sanders made a huge mistake and voted for Berlowitz.  Very costly to the city.        

        A lot of this who may not know, because they never report on what I say at the ‘public request to be heard’ at meetings. .I forgot to mention the reason she would before year end is because Governor Ricketts, who Sanders accompanied to China, would find a position to appoint her to.