Early Childhood Community Partner

In June 2019, the City of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Health and Gothenburg Public Schools entered into an interlocal agreement to provide funding for a community engagement coordinator for the Gothenburg Early Childhood Learning Coalition (GECLC). That agreement is up for renewal, and was one of the agenda items at the Sept. 21 City Council meeting.

GECLC President Colten Venteicher presented the request to the council, and noted that in 2019 the three entities formed the Gothenburg Early Childhood Agency (GECA) for the purpose of funding the GECLC community coordinator position. The city administrator, GPS superintendent and Gothenburg Health CEO govern the Early Childhood Agency.

The new interlocal agreement, which was unanimously approved by the city council, will be in effect from Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2023. During that period GECA will fund the community coordinator position, operating costs related to GECLC efforts and provide scholarships to children in the community to utilize licensed preschool and childcare services.

Under the new agreement each of the three entities involved in the agreement will be asked to increase their contributions by $5,000 for 2021-2023. The city and hospital would each contribute $15,000 per year while the school would contribute $25,000 per year. Venteicher explained that the increase will allow the GECA to provide more funding opportunities for scholarships for children in the community. Venticher said that last year GECLC provided about $7,000 in scholarships and this next year they are looking at being able to offer about $27,000.

The city is the first of the three entities to approve the new two-year agreement. The GECLC will make the same request to the Gothenburg Health board at their meeting this week, and to the school board at the October Board of Education meeting.

A public hearing to review and discuss a proposed city street improvement plan was the first order of business at the Sept. 21 meeting. The plan outlines the projects to be completed in the next year, as well as projects planned for the next six years. The plan is an annual requirement by the State of Nebraska in order to receive Highway Allocation Funds.

The council also approved a recommended amendment to the city ordinance pertaining to accessory structures within the city. These include detached garages, and utility/storage buildings. The only proposed change to the existing ordinance was a punctuation correction in a clause banning the use of roll-offs, trailers, vehicles, shipping or storage containers, commercial boxes or similar structures to be used as accessory building in R-1 and R-2 (residential) zones.

Finally, the council approved the appointment of new officer Jason Meinke to the Gothenburg Police Department. City Administrator Gary Greer said Meinke already has all of his Nebraska certifications. Greer said two more officers will be appointed soon which will finally give the department a full roster.

The next meeting of the Gothenburg City Council will be Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498