Loud cars, solar project discussed

By GREG SCELLIN
Signal Editor

Two items took up most of the discussion time at the regularly-scheduled August 19 meeting of the Geneva City Council. Craig Vincent with NPPD talked about a possible community solar program partnership project and Geneva resident Bill Reinsch talked with the city council about the growing amount of car racing and loud vehicles in the Fillmore County seat.
“It’s gotten pretty much out of hand,” Reinsch said. “Enough is enough.”
Reinsch told the city council that loud cars driven by young adults or kids can be heard tearing around the vicinity of 13th and F Street on a nightly basis. He said, many times they seem to do laps around the City Park. Other times they drag race down 13th Street.
“I can hear street racing every night,” he said. “I am here for a solution.”
Reinsch said he has called the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office and has been told no officer was on duty or they are away on other business. He also feels that some of the cars making the noise probably aren’t street legal.
Geneva City Attorney David Solheim said he would be happy to prosecute the people causing these disturbances. He said, to do this, he would have to have witnesses who are willing to go to court. Video and photos would strengthen cases. And, of course, identifying the drivers would have to take place.
Solheim provided The Nebraska Signal a list of possible offenses with penalties the drivers could be committing including: Disturbing the peace, a Class 3 misdemeanor with penalties up to three months in jail and/or a $500 fine; Reckless driving, a Class 3 misdemeanor with up to three months in jail and/or a $500 fine and five points on license; Careless driving, an infraction with a $100 fine and four points; and Racing on roadway, a Class 2 misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Other fines and city code infractions include: muffler violation, $25 fine; unnecessary noise, $500 fine; disturbing the peace, $500 fine; and curfew violations, $500 fine. Solheim also noted the vehicles used to commit these offenses could be towed and impounded at the owner’s expense.
“Hopefully, we can get the sheriff’s office more involved with this,” Councilman Cody Lightwine said.
Vincent outlined what the Geneva Community Solar Project could look like last Monday. He said NPPD has done similar projects in the past two years in Scottsbluff, Norfolk and Kearney. He also noted that Ainsworth is looking into doing one.
The proposed project would happen on a city-owned, or city-leased or controlled portion (3-5 acres) of ground (a portion of the Geneva Public Library and Geneva WWTP was mentioned) and be constructed and maintained by a private developer. The developer would then sell the electricity generated at the site to NPPD. Vincent said the city would incur no costs with the project. The site should operate for 20-25 years and the developer is responsible for decommissioning the site.
Vincent attended the August 19 meeting to garner a Letter of Intent (LOI) from the city council to look into the possibility of the City of Geneva entering into a partnership with NPPD for a solar project. NPPD would get the renewable carbon footprint for the 700 kilowatt facility and the city and county would get some extra tax revenue on a kilowatt tax calculation.