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Two more new faces join ranks at City Hall

January 3, 2019

A pair of unanimous City Council votes Wednesday night confirmed the last of a half-dozen new faces among North Platte’s city leaders as the council held a quick first meeting of 2019.

City Attorney Doug Stack swore in Jim Backenstose, Mayor Dwight Livingston’s nominee to fill a recently vacated Ward 1 council seat, after the rest of the council voted 6-0 to approve the appointment. Council President Jim Nisley was absent from Wednesday night’s council meeting.

Backenstose, of 800 Crane Court, will complete the term of Brook Baker, who resigned effective Dec. 31 after buying a new home near North Platte but outside city limits.

His appointment gave the eight-member council its third new member in a month, following the Dec. 4 swearing-in of newly elected Councilmen Ty Lucas in Ward 2 and Ed Rieker in Ward 4.

Backenstose then joined his new colleagues in voting 7-0 to hire Layne Groseth, a Bailey Yard diesel shop mechanical supervisor and former Albion city administrator, as the city’s new public service director. Groseth, of 1201 W. Philip Ave., will start work Monday as successor of the recently retired Wes Meyer in overseeing the city’s street, sanitation, parks and cemetery departments. He joins city government four months after the council hired Daniel Hudson as police chief, succeeding retired Chief Mike Swain. Hudson started work in October.

The last months of 2018 also saw the retirement of longtime Airport Manager Mike Sharkey. The governing board of the independent North Platte Airport Authority replaced Sharkey with Samuel Seafeldt, who began work in November at the North Platte Regional Airport at Lee Bird Field.

Council members wrapped up Wednesday night’s brisk 10-minute meeting by giving 7-0 approval to a four-year lease-purchase agreement with U.S. Bancorp Government Leasing and Finance Inc. to finance replacement of the Police Department’s handheld radio system.

U.S. Bancorp offered the lower of two interest-rate bids to finance the city’s remaining payments on a new $295,400 Motorola handheld system after a $67,800 down payment. The council accepted an 3.34 percent annual interest rate in scheduling annual $61,729 payments from 2020 to 2023.

The council’s next meeting Jan. 15 will resume its schedule of regular meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Wednesday night’s meeting was delayed a day due to the New Year’s Day holiday.

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