'Jake brake' issue may be revisited by City Council

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

McCOOK, Neb. — The jarring sound of semi truck engines braking to a stop on a city street has actually drawn complaints from guests at a McCook motel.

Susan Dons of the Chief Motel, speaking at the regular McCook City Council meeting Monday night, said the sounds rattle the glass at the motel, which faces B Street where traffic stops at two stoplights, on Federal Avenue and West Fifth.

She asked if the city would consider the same kind of ordinance that other cities have, prohibiting the engine brakes.

Dons spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Mayor Mike Gonzales responded that the city has discussed that in the past and would likely re-visit it in the future.

In other business, council members pulled two items from the consent agenda to discuss. Consent agenda items are approved in one motion unless pulled for discussion by a council member or a member of the public.

Council member Janet Hepp pulled the item concerning an application from Great Plains Communications to occupy city right-of-way to install underground fiber optic cables for service at the Holiday Inn Express at West H and U.S. Highway 83.

Hepp said she wanted to confirm that the installation would be for underground cables only. City Manager Nate Schneider replied that it would be and the council unanimously approved the application.

Hepp said after the meeting she asked for the clarification after attending a recent municipality meeting and hearing about other right-of-way projects that ended up with less-than-desirable outcomes, such as a pole installed in the middle of a sidewalk, due to vague specifications of the projects.

Councilman Gene Weedin also pulled the item on the consent agenda item on accepting the termination lease given by Prairie Gold Homes for city property at 526 West B.

The property, the former city public safety center, has been occupied by the non-profit Lincoln-based inmate training program since 2015. The program taught inmates home construction skills. According to an e-mail to City Manager Nate Schneider, the program is discontinuing due to insufficient funds.

Weedin asked if city staff had future plans for the building and Schneider said he and Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff have toured the facility to see if parts of it could be used to store city equipment. Prairie Gold items are still being removed, Schneider said, with the city working with their board to expedite the process.

The idea of storing city equipment in the building could be re-visited in the future, he added.

City councilman Jerry Calvin asked if the entire building was sound enough to be remodeled for storage. “If we’re going to keep it, let’s use every square inch we can,” Calvin said.

Council member Hepp added that it could be rented out for office space as another option for the building.

Other consent agenda items approved by the council included:

* Review drawings and specifications for Sewer Extension District No. 77 and set March 22, 2018, at 2 p.m. as the date to receive bids. The project will provide sewer to six lots south of Cheyenne and between Pawnee and Seminole. The lots, owned by Jay and Susan Hancock, are in the Fifth Park View Addition of McCook and each of the lots will have a special assessment levied to pay for improvements.

* Approve specifications for the 2018 Armor Coating Project and set the time and date to receive bids as 2 p.m. on March 27, 2018.

* Adopt Resolution No. 2018-02 certifying that the City of McCook is considered to be capable of providing public transportation for its citizens.

This resolution is required by the Nebraska Department of Transportation for the city to apply for federal and state funds to operate the rural transit service. Funds are used to pay for five drivers, dispatchers, or other related transit positions.

* Approve two applications for a special designated liquor license, submitted by: JBN, Inc., dba Hi-Times Liquor Mart 1, for a wedding reception at the McCook Municipal Auditorium, on June 16, 2018; and Tyler Schmick, Schmick’s Market Inc., for a fundraiser at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds Kiplinger Arena on March 16 and 17.

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  • Jacobs is a manufacturer of a device that essentially turns an engine into a compressor that releases pressure periodically. It is an "engine compression brake" and trucks that are properly muffled make very little noise when the Jacobs, or any other engine brake, is activated. In fact, many mountain states only prohibit those trucks with straight pipes from using their "engine brake" within city limits. Outlawing Jake Brakes is tantamount to outlawing Kenworths because commercial trucks were destroying your roads.

    -- Posted by hulapopper on Wed, Mar 7, 2018, at 12:24 PM
  • Then perhaps mufflers should be mandated.

    -- Posted by Dudley Dawson on Wed, Mar 7, 2018, at 6:06 PM
  • I would much rather hear the sound of the Jake brake for a few minutes than the sounds of a wreck caused by a truck with brakes too hot to get it stopped.

    -- Posted by swnefarmer on Thu, Mar 8, 2018, at 3:11 PM
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