Spellerberg reflects on city’s growth, challenges

It has been about six months since Joey Spellerberg was sworn in as the mayor of Fremont. During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, he reflected on the city’s growth and the challenges ahead. 


“It is a very exciting time for Fremont,” he said. “I continue to be amazed by your accomplishments. You, the dedicated and hardworking people of Fremont, are what make our community a great place to live, work and raise a family. Congratulations and keep doing amazing things.


“Though it is important to look back. We must continue to address the challenges our community faces, including housing, workforce development and our law enforcement center.” 


The mayor said the law enforcement center remains one of the city’s key issues. 


“Our law enforcement needs have not gone away,” he said, noting that the council agenda included a motion for roof repairs at the police station. “The building is in disrepair. The city continues to sink in more and more money to keep this building functional. All the while our police department continues to deal with facility conditions that don’t meet their needs.”


Spellerberg said the current building was never meant to house a police department. 


“We must have the urgency and find a solution to give our men and women in blue the facility and support that they deserve,” he said. “Investing in public safety is critical as we work toward the future.” 


The motion for the roof repairs by Apple Roofing for the police station was approved 8-0. Also unanimously approved was the renewal of a service agreement with Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging at the Friendship Center. 


Councilman Brad Yerger voiced concerns about possible procedural problems with a motion authorizing city staff to sign a contract with Thompson Construction Inc., for the Roadway Subdivision Water System. 


Yerger stated that he thought it should be a resolution instead of a motion, but city attorney Travis Jacott weighed in on the matter. 


“A resolution is just a written, formal way of a council to approve something,” he said. “In this instance, it would be approving this contract. So the only difference between a resolution and a motion would be in the minutes. … This contract is a forcible document between the parties, either way. Whether it is a written version of the motion, called a resolution, that is drafted prior to the meeting and approved by the council or whether the motion is made at the meeting to approve the contract. It has the same force and effect.”


There was a discussion about delaying or continuing the motion, but councilwoman Sally Ganem said a delay could cause the price to go up. 


“I understand and know procedures,” she said. “I do understand the commitment and saving money for taxpayers, though, because these contractors in business are not keeping their prices the same. You can go back the next day sometimes and it has risen. … I certainly support trying to move this forward.” 


Councilman Mark Jensen agreed with Ganem.


“We need to move forward on this,” he said. “We seem to be hung up on the word ‘motion’ here and that seems to be the theme tonight. I’m more worried about the people of Fremont than I am about words and dotting an ‘i’ or crossing a ‘t tonight’. Let’s get this done.” 


The motion carried 7-1. The council also unanimously approved the preliminary plans, specifications and estimates for the Fremont Rawhide Trail Project. 

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